Overall veteran employment rates are improving; however, Post-9-11 veterans continue to struggle compared to their peers and civilians. Locally the same is true. While the most recent labor report does not breakdown veteran unemployment rates by state, Massachusetts Post 9-11 veterans suffered from a 23% unemployment rate in 2012.
Here is a look at the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Labor:
Veteran Unemployment Jan 2014 5.06 %
Net Change 2 %
Post 9-11 Unemployment Jan 2013 11.7 %
Post 9-11 Unemployment Jan 2014 7.9 %
Net Change 3.8 %
Non-Veteran Unemployment Jan 2013 8.3 %
Non-Veteran Unemployment Jan 2014 7.0 %
Net Change 1.83%
* Information synthesized from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
We need to fix this problem as jobs might be the most-effective way to assist our veterans in their military to civilian transistion. Although employment rates trended positively from 2013 to 2014 for OIF/OEF veterans, unemployment rates for our youngest veteran generation rose again in January - up from 7.3% in December. To help our veterans succeed, we need to provide them with work opportunities. Steady wages and access to healthcare are the best indicators for veteran success. Our district has several strategies for assisting veterans when they face this critical issue.
Eligible veterans can receive temporary financial assistance if they meet household income and asset requirements. Veterans in need should contact our offices as soon as possible.
Several Massachusetts organizations provide temporary assistance to low-income veterans. Examples of available assistance include heating oil, medical bills, rental arrears and first/last rent deposits.
These Massachusetts-based assistance centers have special liaisons for veterans. Career Centers can provide job search training like resume workshops, interview skills and continuing education.
The GI Bill
Most recently-discharged veterans are eligible for the GI Bill. However, recent changes to the federal benefit leave veterans without the vital Basic Allowance and Housing during winter and summer breaks. Massachusetts veterans are eligible for Chapter 115 benefits during these breaks as long as the veteran makes reasonable attempts to secure employment and meets other eligibility criteria.
If you know a veteran in need of assistance we ask that you refer them to us. Until Post 9-11 employment statistics indicate a closer relationship to other segments of society, we will continue to target this veteran population with our assistance programs.