From The VA
Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? About one in five women and one in a hundred men seen in VA medical facilities report that they experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST); that is, sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. MST can affect veterans’ physical and mental health many years after the event. VA offers a variety of services designed to assist veterans who have experienced MST. For example, treatment for physical and mental health conditions related to MST is available at every VA facility and is provided to veterans free of charge, regardless of service-connection status. Veterans may be able to receive this free MST-related care even if they are not eligible for other VA care. Every VA facility also has an MST Coordinator who serves as a point of contact for veterans and staff. It’s important to remember, however, that every VA employee has the power to help veterans recover from MST by responding sensitively to inquiries about MST, remaining knowledgeable about VA’s MST-related services, and ensuring that information about veterans’ MST status is kept confidential. For more information, contact your facility’s MST Coordinator or visit the MST Resource homepage.
Top Veterans Stories in Today’s News
- Joblessness hits male vets of current wars USA Today – Washington — Unemployment for male Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans has tripled since the recession began, rising from 5% in March 2007 to 15% last month, Labor Department statistics show. More than 250,000 of these veterans were unemployed last month. An additional 400,000 have left the workforce to attend college or raise children, or because they have stopped trying to find a job, Labor Department economist Jim Walker says. The overall national unemployment rate is 9.7%.
- Hearing loss number one diagnosis for military Fort Lewis, Washington – According to the Deafness Research Foundation, hearing loss is the No. 1 diagnosis for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and more than 65 percent of Afghan war veterans are suffering from hearing damage. According to military doctors, many troops do not use hearing protection out on missions because they feel the hearing protection affects their ability to do their job and complete their mission.
- Job training programs for veterans Syracuse NY – Unemployment rates among veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars jumped to over 14 percent, up 4 points from three months ago, according to Department of Labor Statistics. Here in Onondaga County, the rates are similar, with over 1,800 veterans unemployed. With veterans coming back to the job market, organizations in Syracuse are trying to make the transition as easy as possible.
- Veterans push for fixes to health care overhaul Washington DC – Organizations representing the nation’s military veterans are keeping up pressure on Congress to prevent the landmark healthcare law from shortchanging veterans and other military personnel. The lobbying comes despite assurances from the Obama administration and key lawmakers that the law protects military personnel and veterans. But the Veterans of Foreign Wars is refusing to accept the claims at face value. “We don’t want assurances,” VFW national spokesman Joe Davis said. “We want it written into law.”
- Doctors seem to treat obese just as well as others New York (Reuters Health) – Despite surveys that show doctors have negative attitudes about heavier people, older obese patients don’t get short shrift at the doctor’s office, according to a new study. The new study, of nearly 70,000 patients, found that obese and overweight patients were just as likely to be offered quality medical care as normal weight patients.
- Shinseki Vows to Reduce VA’s Claims Backlog Washington, DC – Prioritizing the work ahead shortly after his first anniversary on the job, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki said his focus for the year ahead is on reducing the disability claims backlog. “We are going to break the back of the backlog this year,” Shinseki said during an interview with American Forces Press Service. He’s counting on four pilot programs under way to help VA identify and break long-standing obstacles in providing veterans the benefits they’ve earned.
- VA secretary sits in on Buffalo veterans court Buffalo, NY (AP) – Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki sat in on a session of veterans treatment court in Buffalo to see how the idea might be expanded elsewhere in the country. Buffalo’s veterans court was the first of its kind when City Court Judge Robert Russell started it in 2008. Since then, Russell says 28 veterans who had been arrested for nonviolent crimes have graduated. None have been re-arrested.
- Event slated for veterans resource center Dayton, Ohio – The U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs will be in Dayton Wednesday to celebrate the opening of a new housing program for homeless veterans. Eric Shinseki will attend a ribbon-cutting at the Volunteers of America’s Dayton Veterans Resource Center at 1 p.m. Leased from the Dayton Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the renovated 36,000-square-foot, 50-bed facility will provide homeless veterans with transitional housing and employment services.
- Waco VA blind rehab facility to undergo renovations Waco, Texas – Renovations at the Blind Rehabilitation Center at the Waco Veterans Affairs Medical Center are scheduled to start any day now. Monday morning, U.S. Rep. Chet Edwards and Waco Mayor Virginia DuPuy were among those on hand for the groundbreaking ceremony. According to officials with Waco Veterans Affairs, the new Blind Rehabilitation Unit will increase the center’s capacity from 15 to 20 beds.
- Few Veterans Seek Review Of Disability Rating, Panel Finds Washington, DC – “Only a small fraction of wounded veterans who could get better benefits have applied in the two years since Congress, acting on concerns the military was cutting costs by downplaying injuries, ordered the Pentagon to review disputed claims,” The Associated Press reports. “As of mid-March, only 921 veterans have applied out of the 77,000 the Pentagon estimates are eligible, according to numbers provided by the Physical Disability Board of Review.”