As veteran’s day approaches, unemployment increases

Photo Courtesy of

Earlier this year, the US Labor Department released the unemployment rates for the entire nation, and they indicated that the veterans are facing a steeper unemployment rate than the rest of the country.

The report indicated that while the unemployment rate was at 9 percent, rates among veterans were found to be at 15.2 percent, compared with the 9.4 percent for the non-veterans. Furthermore, the national rate showed that the unemployment rates among veterans increased by 3.5 percent from 2010. There are reasons as to why the unemployment rate among veterans has increased.

The first reason for the increased unemployment among veterans is their health conditions.  According to the Employment Situation of Veterans Summary, it is reported that 2.8 percent veterans have a service-connected disability. Many of these disabilities were associated with long-term diseases that affected veterans while they were duty.

Also, the Office of Public Health and Environmental Hazards in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reports that approximately half of the 1.1 million eligible veterans who served in the Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or the Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) between early 2002 and the end of 2009 have enrolled for the health services in the VA services, and many of these ex-military men are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorders.

These disorders may result into mental illnesses and disabilities if they are not treated well. They are the same disorders and illnesses that limit many veterans from working, because employers are unwilling to hire people with mental illnesses. This leads to a high unemployment rate among veterans. Besides the mental illnesses and disabilities that limit the chances for veterans to be employed, studies also show that young veterans lack skills and experience.

According to the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of over 60,000 households that provides official statistics  on employment and unemployment in the United States estimates that many of the young veterans between ages of 18 to 24 have a high school diploma as their highest level of education. This affects their chances of getting hired . This greatly differs with the non-veterans who may have Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees, and have the skills that their career may require them to have.

Because the unemployment rate among veterans is alarming, and is expected to be on the rise when the military return from overseas, the US government is trying to find measures that will put back military men and women to work. These programs include: the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members (UCX) and The Transition Assistance Program (TAP).

The UCX funds enable ex-military service military to receive funds for their families’ upkeep. It also offers health insurance to veterans who have disabilities. The TAP provides financial assistance to military service members within 180 days of separating from their respective branches of the military.

In addition, the program also consists of a workshop in which participants are provided with job related services. The services range from assistance with job searches, resume and cover letter writing, career-decision making to information about the current job market.