Key Issues > Supports and Services for Transitioning Veterans
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Supports and Services for Transitioning Veterans

The men and women who serve in our armed forces, particularly with the U.S. military’s presence in contingency operations around the world, put their lives on the line every day. For this reason, it is important that the government do all it can to help servicemen and women successfully transition to civilian life after service ends. In the next five years, one million veterans are expected to leave military service. Some of these veterans may face challenges adjusting to civilian life, such as experiencing unemployment, homelessness, and struggles with mental health symptoms. And, transition challenges may be compounded for veterans with disabilities. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers supports and services to facilitate this transition.

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Some of the supports and services that can help veterans during a time of transition have key weaknesses, thereby increasing the risk that some veterans will have difficulties adjusting to civilian life.

For example:

  • a Department of Defense (DOD-Veterans Affairs (VA) integrated disability evaluation system (IDES) faces a number of staffing and logistical challenges as processing times remain well above targeted timeframes; moreover DOD and VA need to develop timeframes for completing the ongoing IDES business process review as well as for implementing any resulting recommendations;
  • VA has struggled for years to provide veterans with timely and accurate disability compensation benefits, as the number of claims taking more than the 125-day target set by VA—referred as the backlog—is around 568,000;
  • VA oversight of its home loan program lacked sufficient procedures for ensuring that servicemembers—including veterans who recently left the service—who are eligible for protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act were not being subjected to wrongful foreclosures;
  • data suggests the number of homeless women veterans has doubled in recent years, but VA lacks information on the characteristics and needs of this population;
  • the Post-9/11 GI Bill program has experienced processing delays during peak seasons, schools have lacked critical information on program complexities, and improper payments have increased;
  • federal agencies have not fully coordinated efforts and resources to assist veterans pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities; and
  • The Department of Labor and the Office of Special Counsel could take additional steps to ensure the integrity of data collected during a demonstration project to resolve re-employment rights complaints of veterans attempting to return to federal employment after military service.
Looking for our recommendations? Click on any report to find each associated recommendation and its current implementation status.

Homeless Women Veterans:

Actions Needed to Ensure Safe and Appropriate Housing
GAO-12-182:
Published: Dec 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Jan 23, 2012.

Veterans' Reemployment Rights:

Veterans' Education Benefits:

Enhanced Guidance and Collaboration Could Improve Administration of the Post-9/11 GI Bill Program
GAO-11-356R:
Published: May 5, 2011. Publicly Released: May 5, 2011.

Military and Veterans Disability System:

Worldwide Deployment of Integrated System Warrants Careful Monitoring
GAO-11-633T:
Published: May 4, 2011. Publicly Released: May 4, 2011.

Veterans' Disability Benefits:

VA Has Improved Its Programs for Measuring Accuracy and Consistency, but Challenges Remain
GAO-10-530T:
Published: Mar 24, 2010. Publicly Released: Mar 24, 2010.

Military and Veterans' Benefits:

Enhanced Services Could Improve Transition Assistance for Reserves and National Guard
GAO-05-544:
Published: May 20, 2005. Publicly Released: May 20, 2005.

More Reports

VA Education Benefits:

VA Should Strengthen Its Efforts to Help Veterans Make Informed Education Choices
GAO-14-324:
Published: May 13, 2014. Publicly Released: May 13, 2014.

VA Health Care:

Transitioning Veterans:

Improved Oversight Needed to Enhance Implementation of Transition Assistance Program
GAO-14-144:
Published: Mar 5, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 2014.

Veterans' Disability Benefits:

Challenges to Timely Processing Persist
GAO-13-453T:
Published: Mar 13, 2013. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 2013.

Veterans' Disability Benefits:

Timely Processing Remains a Daunting Challenge
GAO-13-89:
Published: Dec 21, 2012. Publicly Released: Jan 18, 2013.

Recovering Servicemembers and Veterans:

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program:

Vulnerability to Fraud and Abuse Remains
GAO-12-967T:
Published: Aug 2, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2012.

Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program:

Vulnerability to Fraud and Abuse Remains
GAO-12-697:
Published: Aug 1, 2012. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2012.

Veterans Paralympics Program:

Improved Reporting Needed to Ensure Grant Accountability
GAO-12-703:
Published: Jul 26, 2012. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 2012.

Veterans' Pension Benefits:

Improvements Needed to Ensure Only Qualified Veterans Receive Benefits
GAO-12-784T:
Published: Jun 6, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 2012.
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