It is with regret that we announce that the Coalition for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans has come to an end. We are so grateful for the generosity of our donor, the Iraq and Afghanistan Deployment Impact Fund and the California Community Foundation for recognizing the needs of military, veterans, families and survivors. The CIAV served as a clearinghouse for over 50 agencies working in areas as diverse as the impact of deployment on small children, direct emergency financial aid, state-of-the-art PTSD and TBI treatment, and access to education, employment, housing and earned benefits. Groups also continue to deliver indispensible peer support for trauma survivors and families whose loved ones will never return.

We wish to acknowledge the members of the CIAV and all the individuals and organizations who have come together during this critical time to ensure that the needs of those directly impacted by the wars receive the support they have earned. We understand that no one entity or agency cannot and should not do all that is needed to support our military and veteran community. It requires the commitment of government at all levels, national and community-based non-profit service agencies, the private sector and our individual communities to serve those who have served.

By working together with our CIAV partners and others, we have better used our areas of expertise to recognize and respond to the men and women returning from deployment. But there is much work to be done. Even though the Coalition is coming to a close, the services for veterans and dedication to supporting veterans and their families will continue. We have forged strong relationships and learned so much from working together.

For more information on agencies whose tremendous work touches the lives of those impacted by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for reports developed by our partners and staff, click here.

Sincerely,
Amy Fairweather, JD
Director


CLAIM PROCESSING KEEPS INJURED TROOPS WAITING

WASHINGTON — A system designed to get wounded troops out of the military and on disability compensation more quickly has failed recently to meet its efficiency goals, delaying service members’ release sometimes more than a year, documents show.

The lag has caused some of the troops to turn down job offers or postpone college because they don’t know when they will be discharged from the military.

The system is called the Integrated Disability Evaluation System. It started as a pilot in 2007, but has since been rolled out to READ MORE »

APRIL UNEMPLOYMENT DATA IS MIXED NEWS FOR VETS

The employment picture for veterans improved in April — a sign that efforts to encourage employers to hire veterans may be working — but jobs seem to remain elusive for young, male combat veterans.

Overall, the nation’s unemployment rate for April was 9 percent, up from 8.8 percent in March, according to a Friday report from the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 13.7 million Americans were unemployed, roughly the same number as in March despite the addition of 244,000 jobs in the retail, hospitality, professional and business services, and health care industries. READ MORE »

FEMALE SOLDIERS SAY THEY’RE UP FOR BATTLE

COMBAT OUTPOST RAHMAN KHEYL, Afghanistan — Pfc. Tasha Conger and Pfc. Tanya Redinbaugh hope their service will seem typical someday. For now, they’re part of a tiny minority of female soldiers living at front-line combat positions.

That could change if a national commission gets its way. The commission told Congress last month that if a woman can show she’s qualified, she ought to be allowed to take any military job.

The two women believe the change will come in time. “I don’t know that there will be any hurry,” Redinbaugh said. “It definitely needs to be done right.” Conger and Redinbaugh are READ MORE »

WAR AT HOME: FIGHTING FOR EMPLOYMENT

In the military, Eric Smith led a four-man ICU team, performing procedures that only the most experienced civilian nurses were trained to perform, but more than three years after leaving the Marines he hasn’t even been able to get a job “changing bed pans.”

Smith, 26, is in the same situation as many veterans, whose military training and experience gave them skills that should be in high demand in the civilian job market, but have struggled to find work because they do not have certification in their field.

The former Navy corpsman and member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America READ MORE »

WHY BUSINESSES SHOULD HIRE MORE VETERANS WITH DISABILITIES

Most people would agree that America’s Veterans with disabilities — those who have served and sacrificed for our freedoms — clearly deserve a fair shot at what is at the heart of the American dream, a good job with a good company.

Yet the unemployment statistic for Veterans with severe disabilities is a startling 85 percent.

How can we work together to change this picture and to turn this grim statistic around? How can we bring the collective power of the public and private sectors together to improve the READ MORE »

MCCHRYSTAL TO OVERSEE WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE

Nearly a year after President Barack Obama fired Gen. Stanley McChrystal as his top commander in Afghanistan, the White House has asked him to head a new advisory board to support military families.

The three-person panel will oversee the Joining Forces program, an initiative led by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. The effort will focus on mobilizing communities, businesses and the government to assist the families of those serving their country. READ MORE »

SENATOR DEBBIE STABENOW SAYS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN “COULD DISRUPT” VETERANS’ BENEFITS

With  apossible government shutdown looming, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., is backing legislation that would make sure the paychecks for members of Congress stop along with everything else. Although similar measures have been proposed, so far congressional paychecks are still intact.

We addressed this proposal more generally in a separate item. But for this item, we were more interested in checking one of the arguments Stabenow made as she argued for the bill’s passage. READ MORE »

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