Get Educated: Veteran Unemployment


As the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, IAVA has a real‐time understanding of what our member veterans think, believe and experience. Every day we hear from our member veterans on Facebook, Twitter and through Community of Veterans, our confidential online social network exclusively for our Iraq and Afghanistan veteran members. We also conduct an annual member survey to dig deep into the challenges and opportunities of their day-to-day lives. Survey responses directly inform our Policy Agenda and organizational priorities for the coming year, as well as shape our membership activities and partnerships. Our member veterans’ answers also allow us to compare their changing needs from year to year, and help to fill gaps in public knowledge about this new generation of veterans.

Download the survey here.

2012 findings include:

  • Our members’ unemployment rate was almost 17% - significantly higher than the 12.1% average unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans in 2011
  • Almost half (49%) of unemployed members did not feel that employers were open to hiring veterans
  • More than 50% of our members are interested in starting a business in the next 3 to 5 or 6 to 10 years
  • 37% of IAVA members personally know someone they served with or another Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has committed suicide
  • 2/3 of our membership do not think troops and veterans are getting the care they need for mental health injuries, including combat-related stress or military sexual trauma
  • Almost 1/3 (31%) divorced or broke up with a long-term partner as a result of deployment and the return home
  • 1/4 of IAVA members with children said their child had emotional problems (25%) or had problems in school (24%)
  • 60% of our membership does not think the military/ Department of Defense is doing a good job of reaching out to troops and veterans regarding their mental health injuries and care, and less than half (49%) think the VA is doing a good job of reaching out to troops and veterans regarding their mental health injuries and care
  • 35% of our members are already taking advantage of their New GI Bill benefits, and almost 50% plan to use it for themselves or their families.
  • The majority of our members do not think Congress (75%) or the President (61%) listen to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans enough, and 69% didn’t know or guessed incorrectly the name of the current Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Shinseki.










IAVA is free. We get things done. And with you in our ranks, we can achieve so much more.

You heard that right - IAVA membership is free. 100% free. You already paid your dues in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Second, IAVA gets things done. From uniting our community to being a force on Capitol Hill, IAVA is making things happen.

And we’re the largest community of Iraq and Afghanistan vets in the country. The larger we grow the movement, the stronger we become. And that means we can better reach and deliver services, resources and support to the 2.4 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

OIF/OEF Vet: Click here to join >

Not a veteran? You can still join IAVA as a Supporter! You don't have to be a veteran to support the veteran's movement. Click here to sign up >






IAVA's Policy Agenda is the blueprint for IAVA's work in Washington in each year. In prior years, we’ve focused on passing the New GI Bill, securing Advanced Funding for VA healthcare and improving the disability reform process. In the 2012 Policy Agenda, like in 2011, we’re focusing on fighting veteran unemployment.

Download the policy agenda here.


Want to learn more about the transition from Combat to Career? Visit IAVA's headquarters for veteran unemployment here. You can read the latest from IAVA on Capitol Hill, get up to date on the facts, and find information on how you can help.




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