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Full-Time, Year-Round Employment More Prevalent Among Gulf War Veterans Than Nonveterans, Census Bureau Analysis Finds

November 18, 2014 Comments off

Full-Time, Year-Round Employment More Prevalent Among Gulf War Veterans Than Nonveterans, Census Bureau Analysis Finds
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

A new report, “The Employment Status and Occupations of Gulf War-Era Veterans,” looks at those Gulf War veterans who began service on or after August 1990, the official start of the first Gulf War. It differentiates between “Gulf War I” veterans — those who served only during the August 1990 to August 2001 period — and “Gulf War II” veterans — those who served September 2001 or later or served in both periods. “Working age” is defined as between the ages of 18 and 64.

According to the report, during the 2011-2013 time period:

Men and women veterans from both Gulf War eras were more likely to be employed in full-time, year-round jobs than their nonveteran counterparts.

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New From the GAO

November 17, 2014 Comments off

New From the GAO
Source: Government Accountability Office

Reports

1. VA Health Care: Actions Needed To Ensure Adequate And Qualified Nurse Staffing. GAO-15-61, October 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-61
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666537.pdf

2. NOAA’s Observing Systems: Additional Steps Needed to Achieve an Integrated, Cost-Effective Portfolio. GAO-15-96, November 17.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-96
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666947.pdf

3. Information Security: VA Needs to Address Identified Vulnerabilities. GAO-15-117, November 13.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-117
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666901.pdf

4. Financial Audit: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements. GAO-15-146R, November 17.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-146R

5. Financial Audit: Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements. GAO-15-147R, November 17.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-147R

6. Financial Audit: Securities and Exchange Commission’s Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements. GAO-15-166R, November 17.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-166R

Special Publication

1. GAO Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2014. GAO-15-1SP, November 17.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-1SP

Arthritis Among Veterans — United States, 2011–2013

November 12, 2014 Comments off

Arthritis Among Veterans — United States, 2011–2013
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

Arthritis is among the most common chronic conditions among veterans and is more prevalent among veterans than nonveterans (1,2). Contemporary population-based estimates of arthritis prevalence among veterans are needed because previous population-based studies predate the Persian Gulf War (1), were small (2), or studied men only (2) despite the fact that women comprise an increasing proportion of military personnel and typically have a higher prevalence of arthritis than men (1,3). To address this knowledge gap, CDC analyzed combined 2011, 2012, and 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data among all adults aged ≥18 years, by veteran status, to estimate the total and sex-specific prevalence of doctor-diagnosed arthritis overall and by sociodemographic categories, and the state-specific prevalence (overall and sex-specific) of doctor-diagnosed arthritis. This report summarizes the results of these analyses, which found that one in four veterans reported that they had arthritis (25.6%) and that prevalence was higher among veterans than nonveterans across most sociodemographic categories, including sex (prevalence among male and female veterans was 25.0% and 31.3%, respectively). State-specific, age-standardized arthritis prevalence among veterans ranged from 18.8% in Hawaii to 32.7% in West Virginia. Veterans comprise a large and important target group for reducing the growing burden of arthritis. Those interested in veterans’ health can help to improve the quality of life of veterans by ensuring that they have access to affordable, evidence-based, physical activity and self-management education classes that reduce the adverse effects of arthritis (e.g., pain and depression) and its common comorbidities (e.g., heart disease and diabetes).

New From the GAO

November 7, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Military and Veteran Support: DOD and VA Programs That Address the Effects of Combat and Transition to Civilian Life. GAO-15-24, November 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-24
Highlights -  http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666800.pdf

2. Women-Owned Small Business Program: Certifier Oversight and Additional Eligibility Controls Are Needed. GAO-15-54, October 8.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-54
Highlights -  http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666430.pdf

3. Financial Audit: Office of Financial Stability (Troubled Asset Relief Program) Fiscal Years 2014 and 2013 Financial Statements. GAO-15-132R, November 7.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-132R

New From the GAO

October 30, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Pension Plan Valuation: Views on Using Multiple Measures to Offer a More Complete Financial Picture. GAO-14-264, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-264
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666288.pdf

2. DOD Business Systems Modernization: Additional Enhancements Are Needed for Army Business System Schedule and Cost Estimates to Fully Meet Best Practices. GAO-14-470, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-470
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666294.pdf

3. Federal Real Property: More Useful Information to Providers Could Improve the Homeless Assistance Program. GAO-14-739, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-739
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666258.pdf

4. VA Health Care: Management and Oversight of Consult Process Need Improvement to Help Ensure Veterans Receive Timely Outpatient Specialty Care. GAO-14-808, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-808
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666249.pdf
Podcast - http://www.gao.gov/multimedia/podcasts/666528

5. Energy Policy: Information on Federal and Other Factors Influencing U.S. Energy Production and Consumption from 2000 through 2013. GAO-14-836, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-836
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666271.pdf

6. Disability Compensation: Review of Concurrent Receipt of Department of Defense Retirement, Department of Veterans Affairs Disability Compensation, and Social Security Disability Insurance. GAO-14-854R, September 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-854R

7. DOD Space Systems: Additional Knowledge Would Better Support Decisions about Disaggregating Large Satellites. GAO-15-7, October 30.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-7
Highlights - http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666715.pdf

Veteranness : Representations of Combat-related PTSD in U.S. Popular Visual Media

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Veteranness : Representations of Combat-related PTSD in U.S. Popular Visual Media (PDF)
Source: Michigan Technological University (Keranen)

Posttraumatic stress and PTSD are becoming familiar terms to refer to what we often call the invisible wounds of war, yet these are recent additions to a popular discourse in which images of and ideas about combat-affected veterans have long circulated. A legacy of ideas about combat veterans and war trauma thus intersects with more recent clinical information about PTSD to become part of a discourse of visual media that has defined and continues to redefine veteran for popular audiences.

In this dissertation I examine realist combat veteran representations in selected films and other visual media from three periods: during and after World Wars I and II (James Allen from I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Fred Derry and Al Stephenson from The Best Years of Our Lives); after the Vietnam War (Michael from The Deer Hunter, Eriksson from Casualties of War), and post 9/11 (Will James from The Hurt Locker, a collection of veterans from Wartorn: 1861-2010.) Employing a theoretical framework informed by visual media studies, Barthes’ concept of myth, and Foucault’s concept ofdiscursive unity, I analyze how these veteran representations are endowed with PTSD symptom-like behaviors and responses that seem reasonable and natural within the narrative arc. I contend that veteran myths appear through each veteran representation as the narrative develops and resolves. I argue that these veteran myths are many and varied but that they crystallize in a dominant veteran discourse, a discursive unity that I term veteranness. I further argue that veteranness entangles discrete categories such as veteran, combat veteran, and PTSD with veteran myths, often tying dominant discourse about combat-related PTSD to outdated or outmoded notions that significantly affect our attitudes about and treatment of veterans.

A basic premise of my research is that unless and until we learn about the lasting effects of the trauma inherent to combat, we hinder our ability to fulfill our responsibilities to war veterans. A society that limits its understanding of posttraumatic stress, PTSD and post-war experiences of actual veterans affected by war trauma to veteranness or veteran myths risks normalizing or naturalizing an unexamined set of sociocultural expectations of all veterans, rendering them voice-less, invisible, and, ultimately disposable.

CRS — Veterans’ Benefits: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Duty to Assist Claimants (September 26, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Veterans’ Benefits: The Department of Veterans Affairs and the Duty to Assist Claimant (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides an array of benefits to veterans and to certain members of their families. These benefits include disability compensation and pensions, education benefits, survivor benefits, medical treatment, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, and burial and memorial benefits. In order to apply for these benefits, in most circumstances, the claimant will send an application to his or her local VA Regional Office or apply online. Once a veteran has filed an application for benefits with the VA, the agency has a unique obligation to the claimant when adjudicating the claim—the VA has a “duty to assist” the claimant throughout the claim process.

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