Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: I am a Veteran with a disability. What information and resources are available for me? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss an individualized support program for Veterans in post-secondary education; the effects of a physical activity program for older adult veterans; participation in the community and remaining active are possible and have benefits for Veterans with traumatic brain and/or spinal cord injuries; a cognitive-behavioral intervention for Colombian combat Veterans; a program that helps Veterans with severe disabilities who have student debt; employment data; and organizations that provide support, information on benefits, and more. More about Answered Questions.
The team at Project Career: Development of an Interprofessional Demonstration to Support the Transition of Students with Traumatic Brain Injuries from Postsecondary Education to Employment (in English) (90DP0062) is developing, testing, and implementing a technology-driven, long-term, and resource-rich individualized support program that merges assistive technology (AT) for cognition and a collection of vocational rehabilitation (VR) services and supports that will help improve the career readiness and employment outcomes of civilian and veteran students with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who are participating in and graduating from post-secondary two- and four-year colleges and universities.
From the NARIC Collection:
The article, Effects of a home-based telephone-supported physical activity program for older adult veterans with chronic low back pain (in English) (J79805), discusses a study that evaluated a physical activity (PA) only intervention and a PA plus cognitive-behavioral therapy for pain (CBT-P) intervention among older adult veterans with chronic low back pain (CLBP). The PA intervention included stretching, strengthening, and aerobic activities, while the CBT-P intervention covered activity pacing, relaxation techniques, and cognitive restructuring. The study demonstrated that home-based telephone-supported PA interventions were feasible, acceptable, and safe for older adult veterans.
Research In Focus:
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and spinal cord injuries (SCI) are two types of life-long disabilities common among Veterans. There is research that shows that participating in the community and remaining active are possible and have benefits for people with these disabilities, including Veterans.
The article, Recovery and Independence Are Common After Severe TBI, discusses a study where researchers from the TBI Model System Centers in Indiana, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Texas (in English) looked at long-term data from a group of people with severe TBI who were still unable to follow commands when they moved from the hospital to a rehabilitation center. They found that many of the people with TBI recovered a great deal of independence and most who had recovered their ability to follow commands early also recovered full independence in self-care and mobility and some independent cognition by the end of the first year. The authors noted that people with severe TBI may recover a great deal of their independence, even if they experience a prolonged disorder of consciousness.
The article, Getting Out and Getting Active May Be Key to Breathing Easier After Spinal Cord Injury, discusses a study directed by researchers from the Spaulding-Harvard Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center (in English) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System (in English) that surveyed adults with SCI about their physical activity habits, dyspnea symptoms, and quality of life. The researchers found that many of the respondents engaged in planned exercise beyond physical therapy and stretching, including a wide variety of organized and individual sports. The authors noted that starting or continuing an exercise program may help people with SCI to experience less frequent shortness of breath, which may benefit those who have chronic lung disease, and sports participation can benefit the overall quality of life for people with SCI by offering opportunities for improved physical fitness and social involvement.
The article, Cognitive behavioral intervention for post-traumatic stress disorder in Colombian combat Veterans (I51428), discusses the results of a study of the effectiveness of group interventions based in two treatment processes through the use of cognitive-behavioral group interventions with 42 Colombian combat Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The results show a significant decrease in symptoms and the level of severity after the intervention in the symptoms of PTSD and depression for the Veterans from Colombia.
The article, The Federal Government offers help to Veterans with disabilities who have student debt from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), discusses a federal government program that can assist Veterans with severe disabilities who have outstanding student loans. Although the program is not new and Veterans with disabilities have struggled to pay back their student loans, the departments of Veterans Affairs and Education are working together to identify and reach out to the Veterans who may qualify.
The factsheet, Employment Data for Veterans with Disabilities, from the ADA National Network (in English) provides information and data on the employment rates for Veterans with disabilities that can be used to advocate for greater employment opportunities. The factsheet provides key statistics on the employment rates of Veterans with disabilities in general and rates of employment of Veterans with a specific disability related to their service. It also provides employment data of in specific contexts. Finally, the factsheet provides other resources so that readers can obtain more information.
- Disabled American Veterans (DAV) is a nonprofit charity that provides support throughout the lifespan for all Veterans and their families. DAV provides Veterans rides to medical appointments, helps them with benefit applications, and connects Veterans with meaningful employment by hosting job fairs and providing resources so that they have the opportunity to participate in their community.
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides a brochure, Disability Benefits for Wounded Military Members, which describes the types of benefits that a wounded military member may be eligible for, defines Social Security Disability Insurance, defines how military pay may affect the right to receive benefits, and provides answers to frequently asked questions.
- gov provides a webpage for people with disabilities that contains contact information for those Veterans or their families who have questions about disability benefits for Veterans and provides information on the laws and rights that protect people with disabilities, including Veterans.
- The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) (in English) provides a guide, Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, and Survivors, which includes a short summary of the information on benefits and services for Veterans, including Veterans who are homeless, female, or who have disabilities. These benefits and services include healthcare benefits, disability benefits, and dependent and survivor benefits. The guide also includes links and phone numbers to important information from the VA.
- The US Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) has a guide for employers: Veterans and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Guide for Employers that describes how the ADA applies to the placement, hiring, and job adaptation of and for Veterans with disabilities and briefly explains how protections for Veterans with disabilities differ according to the USERRA and the ADA. It also provides information on the laws and regulations that may be useful to employers who wish to prioritize the placement and hiring of Veterans with disabilities.
- The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) (in English) at the US Department of Labor (in English) has created a factsheet to inform Veterans with disabilities of their rights and answers questions about discrimination in the workplace; how OFCCP helps protect Veterans; employers offering a lower salary for the same work; and themes related to submitting a claim of discrimination.
- gov, an online resource that can help you find federal benefits for which you may be eligible. The anonymous questionnaire helps to identify relevant programs and each record includes program description, contact information, and links for more information. Among the Veteran-specific program are the Veteran Compensation for Service-Related Disabilities program, from the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Educational Assistance Program for Veterans’ Survivors and Dependents (DEA), which provides educational and training opportunities for the dependents and survivors of certain Veterans, including Veterans with service-related disabilities.
- This article from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), New Tool Helps Vets Track Disability Appeals, describes a new online tool from the US Department of Veteran Affairs that helps Veterans with disabilities keep track of the progress of their benefit appeals. The tool allows Veterans to see how many cases are in front of them on the appeals docket and provides alerts about next steps and estimates of how long those steps will take.
About Answered Questions
Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.