V-Wise: Sustainable Business Ventures for Female Vets and Spouses

13 Jul 2017

The Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, supported by funding from the Small Business Administration, is helping military families across a wide spectrum. One of the most interesting programs is V-Wise. This program is specifically designed for female veterans, female active duty members, and female spouses or partners; the program helps women develop and grow sustainable business ventures.

The program provides help from basic business education and development through information on entrepreneurship, and most importantly, provides ongoing mentorship. This level of support throughout the course of developing and launching a new business is critical for long-term success.

The V-Wise Program starts with a 15-day online course, followed by an in-person 3-day entrepreneurship training course, located across the nation at various locales. This year, the in person three-day training is going to be held in Louisville, Ky on August 11-13. A class will be held in DC in October 2017, and in Pittsburgh, summer of 2018.

The ability to start and nurture a small business, especially one which can move with the family, is critically important to the long-term financial stability of veterans facing challenges in the traditional workplace. When veterans start their own businesses, especially those that involve making things by hand, the quiet and solitude, the nature of the work, and some small degree of financial security may give veterans more peace and independence than currently offered job and employment help.

Many veterans still long to contribute to the world, the country, their communities and their families. When the support and structure of the military is lost, many vets face the challenges of service connected injury and illness alone, and without the support to successfully navigate a bureaucracy-heavy system. Beginning the journey toward small or micro-business ownership may let veterans build a new future.

Veteran Unemployability and Volunteer Work

18 May 2017

The issue of volunteering is an important one for veterans, because vets have always contributed to their communities and the country. After facing the challenges of living with a disabling condition as a result of military service, many veterans find the additional burden of not contributing to the world in a real way extremely disheartening.

But there are several ways vets can volunteer and have a positive impact on their communities without putting their disability rating or benefits in jeopardy. The employability rating is for those who are unable to work full-time. Contributing several hours a week as a volunteer does not imply the ability to work full-time.

It may help any concerns to volunteer in a field that was different from the previous job or occupation. Helping out at the local food bank, delivering supplies or giving elderly people rides to the doctor's office are all needed help that will not imply the ability to return to work. Working as a Foster Grandparent or a Big Brother or Sister is very important volunteer work. Many vets serve on advisory boards or committees, or help with veterans issues on an on-call basis.

The social interaction that comes with volunteering is important, and the feeling of being part of the community, and contributing, is one that many vets have always experienced. The isolation that comes after a disabling injury or illness can be very destructive to self-esteem and family dynamics. Volunteering in the community may be one way to continue to contribute to the world.

For more information on veteran unemployability, please contact us.

Finding Meaning in a Life Without a Job: A Disabled Vet's Perspective

12 Jan 2017

How to find meaning in life, when our sense of ourselves, our identity, our place in the world is destroyed in an instance? We have to remake our identity as a person who cannot hold down a full-time job, who needs disability, who is unemployable. How does this strange new identity change how we find meaning in our lives? Do our lives have any meaning if we can't work?

On the pathway at the entrance to Disney World, there is a tile that says, "What is your gift to the world?" For many of us, that gift is our work, the job or career we planned to build a life around. A life with meaning. The first way we need to think about this is to separate work from job. Having a full-time job is not the only way to work, and our work is how we contribute to the world.

Working through the system, we seem to focus exclusively on what we can't do, what we've lost. In ourselves, though, in the privacy of our homes, we need to change that thinking to what we can still do, what we can still contribute to the world, and how.

Maybe you never thought of yourself as being particularly skilled at writing, at creative work like painting, at counseling others or just being a friend. Now you have the time to develop those new skills. We can all learn new skills. Talent is a myth, but perseverance and hard work is real. Perseverance and hard work is the lesson that our kids learn from watching us.

When we look around the world, even the world of our own small place, we can usually find something that needs to be done. The hard part is accepting that what we would really prefer to be doing is off the table. There is still work to be done, and if we think of that work as our gift to the world, and not the hell-on-earth to which we are consigned, even doing laundry takes on the unexpected charm of a fist full of flowers.

Some people like to volunteer--an hour at the Food Bank, or helping out with the repairs on an elderly neighbor's house, or driving the van to get people to their medical appointment or groceries, or knitting scarfs for people who are cold. Everyone can contribute something, and maybe if we all contribute what we can, the whole of us will function like an old patchwork quilt, stitched together with frayed scraps and pieces, and we will keep the world, and ourselves, warm.


For more information on veteran unemployability, please contact us.

Female Veterans Face Job Training Discrimination

11 Nov 2016

Many faith-based programs that offer shelter and job training for veterans receive federal funding for their programs. When they receive federal funds, they cannot restrict access to the job-training programs to men only. This was the heart of the recent settlement between the Department of Labor and the Buncombe Community Christian Ministry. The lawsuit was brought by the Southern Poverty Law Centeron behalf of female veterans who were excluded from federally-funded job training programs.

The job-training programs offered, such as truck driving, training for green jobs, and culinary arts, were restricted to men, and women were offered classes in knitting, yoga, self esteem, and Bible study.

The Christian ministry, composed of a group of approximately three hundred churches in Western North Carolina, received $200,000 in 2012 from the Department of Labor's Veterans Workforce Investment Program and the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program.

As part of the settlement, the ministry will revise policies that exclude women, receive anti-discrimination training, and will conduct outreach to female veterans and woman's advocacy groups.

The Mission Continues released a study on women veteran's perceptions of the lack of respect with which their service was seen upon reentering civilian life. With discrimination issues in the ranks, and lack of gender-specific outreach and VA medical services, women veterans often feel excluded from veteran outreach and support after leaving military service.

Female veterans are twice as likely as other women to be homelessUnemployment is higher among female veterans than male veterans. The average female veteran is a parent. Female veterans are six times as likely to commit suicide as other women.

For more information about veteran topics..., please contact us.

Veteran Unemployability After Spinal Cord Injuries

14 Oct 2016

Spinal cord injuries are obviously serious but can cause lasting effects that you might not originally think about. Veterans who suffered a service-connected spinal cord injury may like to find out more about life after a SCI.

Extended Hospital Stays

The National SCI Statistical Center highlights how impactful SCIs are as their research indicates that fewer than 1% of people with these injuries make a complete recovery by the time they are discharged. Around 30% of patients return to the hospital at least once for an average stay of 22 days after being discharged the first time. This means veterans might need disability benefits for a variety of medical reasons relating to a SCI even years after the initial injury.


A veteran might also need to make a TDIU claim as those with SCIs often suffer partial or total loss of function in the arms, legs or torso. More than half of those with SCIs were employed before the injury, but only 12% of people still had a job one year after receiving the injury. The employment rate for those with a SCI rises as time passes but is still fairly low as 34% are employed after 20 years. Veterans may have trouble finding a job for a long time after this injury, especially when coupled with other physical or mental conditions.

Every year after an incident, a minor SCI may cost around $42,000 while a severe SCI could cost $185,000 annually. If you are a veteran who needs assistance getting the help you deserve after a spinal cord injury, contact us today.

Clearing Up the Topic of Veteran Unemployability

01 Sep 2016

Many veterans have been led to believe that to get a 100% disability rating for veteran unemployability they need to have either a single service-connected disability rating of 60% or higher, or a combined service-connected rating of 70% or above. This, however, is not the case. This misunderstanding may be leaving many unemployed veterans without the benefits they deserve and without a reliable income to support themselves.

Total Disability rating based upon Individual Unemployability

A Total Disability rating based upon Individual Unemployability, or TDIU, will give a veteran a 100% disability rating if they are able to prove that his or her service-connected disability prevents them from being gainfully employed. Unfortunately, many veterans do not get the correct information on who qualifies for a TDIU, primarily due to miscommunications from the VA.

Qualifying for a TDIU

To qualify for a TDIU, a veteran does not need to meet a certain disability rating. The disability, or disabilities, must be service-connected, but the percentage does not matter. Whether their disability rating is 10% or 80%, or whether it is a single or combined service-connected disability, veterans are entitled to a TDIU, so long as they are unable to be employed due to their disability.

Like with many legal and VA issues, the topic of veteran unemployability can sometimes be an unclear and complicated subject to navigate. At The Veteran's Law Group, we can help clear up this problem and get veterans the help and benefits that they deserve. Please contact us with any questions regarding the TDIU, or any problems regarding VA benefits.

Veterans with PTSD Have Difficulty Finding Employment

30 Apr 2012

Veterans who are returning from combat duty in Iraq and Afghanistan find an employment situation that is discriminatory.  Many employers are leery about hiring veterans, because of the widespread incidence of post traumatic stress disorder among soldiers returning from combat.  However, even veterans who do not suffer from PTSD can be discriminated against in employment.

Most employers are wary of hiring veterans who suffer from symptoms of post-dramatic stress disorder.  This is a psychological condition that is often found in soldiers who have returned from active combat.  Post traumatic stress disorder can include symptoms like depression, panic attacks, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks and a number of other symptoms that can severely limit a person's ability to lead a normal life.  Many employers don't want to take on the stresses associated with hiring an employee who may not be in the best of mental health.

According to a recent survey, approximately 46% of all employers said that the existence of PTSD or any other psychological disorders was definitely a hindrance in the hiring of veterans.  Last year, a survey of hiring managers found that 39% were less favorable toward hiring veterans with psychological disorders.

California veterans benefits lawyers Some of this discriminatory attitude toward veterans with post traumatic stress disorder may be the result of the fact that some sections of the media have over-sensationalized this condition.  There is no doubt that post traumatic stress disorder is a serious psychological disorder.  If left untreated, a person with post traumatic stress disorder can even commit suicide.  It's no secret that veterans returning from combat account for a high portion of suicides, with one out of every 5 suicides in the country committed by veterans. 

However, PTSD is definitely treatable, and there are treatments that are available for veterans who suffer from this condition.  If a veteran is being treated for the condition, there is no reason why an employer should worry about hiring him.

Unemployment Rate Increases among Veterans

09 Jan 2012

This is news that should concern veterans’ groups, and California veterans benefits lawyers who know the difficult financial circumstances of veterans who find it hard to obtain their rightful benefits. According to statistics by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, there was an increase in the unemployment rate among veterans in December 2011.

This increase was seen even as there was an overall drop in the national unemployment rate. The national unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level in 3 years, but among veterans, the number increased slightly. In November, the unemployment rate was 11.1% among veterans, and that increased to 13.1% in December. Unemployment seems to affect female veterans even worse than male veterans. In December, approximately 21.6% of female veterans were unemployed.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, currently about 240,000 vets are unemployed. Unemployment payments made to veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have spiked from $452 million dollars in 2008 to a staggering $940 million in 2011. What's more, California veterans benefits lawyers believe that the unemployment problem among veterans will actually increase over the next couple of years, as veterans begin to return home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these veterans are coming home to a job market that is severely depressed, and are lacking in skills that can help them compete in a highly competitive job market.

The federal administration is aware of this dire employment situation, and has begun to implement certain programs that are meant to encourage employment opportunities for veterans. For example, the Hire a Veteran bill which was signed by the President in November would offer tax credits and other incentives to businesses that hire veterans. However, it will be a while before California veterans benefits lawyers actually see any results from those programs.