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In Wake of Unprecedented Veteran Politicization, IAVA Unveils Most Comprehensive Survey of Post-9/11 Veterans

NEW YORK, NY (October 26, 2017) –  Today, as veterans are being used as political props and shields in unprecedented ways, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is proud to present its most groundbreaking survey of Post-9/11 veterans of all time. The Annual IAVA Member Survey is the most comprehensive non-governmental survey of Post-9/11 veterans in America. And this year, IAVA partnered with George Mason University and the innovative digital giants at Threespot Media to create a ground-breaking, interactive digital data visualization, allowing anyone with a computer or smartphone to read, interact with and teach the data. The survey covers mental health and suicide prevention, VA reform, medical marijuana, burn pits, women veterans, military sexual assault, employment and much, much more. 

IAVA Executive Director Allison Jaslow will present the findings this morning directly to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin during a meeting with the Secretary and other leading VSOs at VA in Washington DC. Dr. Jacqueline Maffucci PhD, IAVA Research Director, will simultaneously present data to leading stakeholders at IAVA HQ and on Facebook Live. 

“This in-depth survey is essential for understanding the issues that are most critical to the IAVA Post-9/11 veteran community. The member survey breaks the stereotypes of veterans and explains the diverse challenges of the modern veteran,” said IAVA Founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff. “It is the deepest and most comprehensive survey done of this population. Veterans issues continue to move further down the priority list of our country’s leaders. Yet veterans continue to be used as political pawns. This survey clearly explains what IAVA members need to hear from our commander-in-chief and all stakeholders, and what we as Americans need to demand from our elected officials and government leaders.”

More than 4,300 IAVA veteran members completed this year’s survey, the largest response in IAVA’s history, making this year’s survey the most representative and comprehensive ever done. At a moment when many people are claiming to speak on behalf of veterans, we wanted to give veterans the opportunity to speak for themselves. We urge all Americans to read and interact with IAVA’s groundbreaking survey, to listen to veterans, and to reflect on where our country is and how it can better honor the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.

The digital 8th Annual Member Survey is available online here. 

“The data gathered in IAVA’s Annual Member Survey is the most impressive data set we’ve ever compiled,” said IAVA Research Director, Dr. Jackie Maffucci. “It’s a critical look into the lives of IAVA’s Post-9/11 veterans and should be mandatory reading for every member of the media, Congress and philanthropy–and all Americans. As needs arise for our growing community, all stakeholders must have the best information available to understand the population they are serving. From the the White House to the Department of Defense to the Department of Veterans Affairs to Silicon Valley, this data will help all Americans meet the needs of service members and veterans.”

Additional highlights from the survey include: 

Perceptions

  • Only 70% believe that the American public supports veterans
  • Only 16% feel the American public understand the sacrifice of veterans
  • 53% believe President Trump acts in the interest of veterans
  • 16% believe that Congress acts in the interest of veterans

Mental Health/Suicide Prevention

  • 65% of respondents personally know a Post-9/11 veteran who attempted suicide
  • 58% of respondents personally know a veteran who died by suicide
  • 76% of respondents do not believe troops and veterans are getting the care they need for mental health injuries
  • 37% of respondents indicate that they have had thoughts of taking their own life since joining the military. 

VA Reform

  • 54% of respondents do not support full privatization of VA, 26% support it.
  • Only 20% of respondents had used the Choice program, with mixed reviews

Post-9/11 GI Bill

  • 92% of respondents were eligible to use the Post-9/11 GI BIll
  • 55% of respondents have used it themselves

Transitions

  • 90% of respondents revealed that they had some level of challenges following their transition out of the military
  • 66% did not have a job secured as they transitioned out
  • 37% felt they were unprepared to manage finances
  • 23% did not having a permanent place to live after returning to civilian life

Employment

  • 6% of respondents reported being currently unemployed
  • 79% of that population have been without work for 27 weeks or more
  • Among those who have jobs, 65% are satisfied with their job
  • 37% reported feeling underemployed

Women Veterans

  • Only 44% feel VA staff treat women with respect
  • 78% of respondents feel that it is important or very important for women veteran issues to be addressed
  • 73% support or are neutral on changing the controversial VA motto: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle…”
  • Only 27% of women veterans served feel the general treats them with respect

The IAVA Member Survey is the deepest poll conducted of verified Post-9/11 veterans in recent history. Respondents have had their military service verified by IAVA. Data for the 8th Annual Member Survey was collected from 4,345 respondents in 2016. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. IAVA’s member survey was fielded using the Qualtrics survey tool in partnership with George Mason University.

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 to speak with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. As a non-profit founded in 2004, IAVA’s mission is to connect, unite and empower post-9/11 veterans. Celebrating its 12th year anniversary, IAVA has connected more than 1.2 million veterans with resources and community, and provided more than 7,300 veterans with personalized support from IAVA’s Master’s level social workers.