Outreach Guide: Veterans

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The rehabilitation counseling profession originated in response to the rehabilitation and employment needs of World War I military veterans. From providing basic return-to-work services to men with physical injuries returning from WWI in 1918, the State VR system has evolved to serve all people deemed to have a disability, offering holistic services from as early as the teen years through adulthood. The definition of disability has expanded to recognize non-visible disabilities and VR services strive for outcomes resulting in quality employment and full participation in society for people with disabilities.

The Changed Nature of War and Disability

The nature of war and advances in medical treatments have also evolved over time. Changes in weaponry, body armor technology, and available medical interventions have resulted in more than 90% of injured military personnel in recent wars surviving injuries that would likely have been fatal in previous wars (Hyer, 2006; Lew et al., 2007). In addition, mental health conditions are recognized as disabilities; more than 20% of Veterans receive a mental health diagnosis when discharged (Hoge et al., 2007).

Many injured Veterans return to civilian life with complex disabilities and needs as a result of these changes. Veterans are more likely than non-Veterans to experience employment difficulties and homelessness than non-Veterans.

State VR: Uniquely Poised to Serve Veterans

Many may assume Veterans with disabilities are eligible for services through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, although 21.8% of US military Veterans have a service-connected disability, many do not or would not be eligible for vocational rehabilitation services from the VA.

With its history and experience of serving people with disabilities, the state VR system is uniquely poised to effectively serve Veterans with disabilities who are not eligible for services from the US. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or who need services in addition to those received from the VA.

Understanding of and collaboration with federal systems that provide services to Veterans is necessary for vocational rehabilitation professionals to provide effective services that result in quality employment to Veterans.

Accept the Challenge

Providing Veterans with services can present unique challenges due to the potentially complex nature of their disability and the possibly confusing array of services that may or may not be available to them. However, Veterans offer unique strengths and experiences to employers that could positively impact the employers’ bottom lines and overall work culture.

Accept the challenge to serve the Veterans who have served us. You may see individual lives and whole communities transformed as a result of your collaborative effort. Here are some resources to get you started.

Outreach Resources

Use these resources to better connect and engage with Veterans in your community.

Recommended Resources from TACQE and Partners


More TACQE Resources

Resources from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Other Resources

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