The 2013 IAVA Member Survey
Posted by Jacqueline Maffucci on August 2
We just published our 2013 Member Survey and people are already talking about it. Every year, IAVA surveys its members to get insight from post-9/11 veterans on issues that affect them including, education, health care, and employment. With 4,114 members responding this year, this is the largest annual, non-governmental survey sample of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, and a is a great indicator of the challenges and opportunities our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans may encounter in their day-to-day lives.
This year, one critical finding stood out: suicides among the military population continues to be a concern, and IAVA members have a personal connection to this. Last year, a VA report estimated that there are 18 - 22 veteran suicides per day and the military reported a record high in suicide numbers; there is nothing suggesting that these numbers are trending downward in 2013. The 2013 Membership Survey results showed 30 percent of respondents reported having considered taking their own life, 37 percent know a Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has died by suicide (a number that has not changed from the 2012 Member Survey), and 45 percent know an Iraq or Afghanistan vet who has attempted suicide. These findings, along with others focusing on mental health issues, highlight the need for continued focus in these areas.
This survey also shows that the majority of respondents do not think the President and Congress are doing enough for veterans. While President Obama has been very active on veterans' issues such as employment and education, his absence from the other issues, such as the disability backlog, might be a driver in this. Forty-four percent ranked the President's performance on improving the lives of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans as poor and 55 percent ranked Congress poor as well. They also didn't give very high marks when asked if they feel the President and Congress are listening to Iraq and Afghanistan Vets (66 percent replied no for the President; 80 percent said no for Congress).
There were positive findings, particularly in the area of education. More than two-thirds of respondents are currently using post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (a cornerstone of IAVA's advocacy work) and the majority rate their experience using these benefits as good or excellent. Eighty-four percent are also satisfied with their educational program overall, with 74 percent rating their programs as "veteran-friendly."
The 2013 Member Survey is available to everybody and there are many more findings not highlighted here. We encourage you to take a look for yourself and see what our respondents are saying. Click here to download the survey now, then share it with your friends.
We are excited to welcome Jacqueline (we call her Jackie) to IAVA as our new Research Director. She holds a Ph.D. neuroscience and has spent the last several years working on health policy issues affecting service members and their families.
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