Veterans news update for Sept. 19

Veterans news update for Sept. 19

Debate over veteran deaths could affect VA claims (Stars & Stripes)
Although it seems certain that VA hospitals offered substandard care to veterans, some of whom died while waiting months for treatment, getting compensation in court is likely to prove a tough fight for the stream of veterans and survivors expected to sue the government in the coming months. “If you give people the impression that this is easy, they’re going to be real frustrated,” said Ronald Abrams, joint executive director of the National Veterans Legal Services Program. “It’s combat — the VA is not playing nice, because you’re in court and it’s an adversarial process.”

Hill staffers hear advice for hiring veterans (The Hill)
Two representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project addressed a group of Capitol Hill staffers in Dirksen Senate Office Building Thursday to offer suggestions for hiring wounded veterans and accommodating those veterans in the workplace. Brett Sheets and Brian Nichols, veterans of the Army and Navy respectively, work for WWP’s Warriors to Work program, which provides career advice to wounded post-9/11 veterans transitioning to civilian life. The House of Representatives has its own Wounded Warrior Program which works to employ veterans on the Hill. The program awards two-year fellowships in D.C. and district offices and currently employs 40 fellows.

As many as 80,000 veterans with PTSD could get discharge upgrades (Stars & Stripes)
As many as 80,000 veterans who suffered from post-traumatic stress and received Other Than Honorable discharges can use evidence of their PTSD to petition service boards to upgrade the bad paper discharge. At stake for individuals is removal of lifelong stigmas that have scarred reputations, limited job prospects and blocked critical veteran benefits. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this month directed that boards for correction of military records or naval records begin to “fully and carefully consider every petition based on PTSD brought by each veteran.”

What do homeless vets look like? (NPR)
If you ask them, homeless veterans might tell you they only have a vague idea of what they look like, or how they got to where they are. Nine conversations from a pop-up booth in San Diego.

Can big data solve veteran unemployment? (Washington Post)
A coalition of tech entrepreneurs, open-government advocates and private companies launched a novel experiment mashing together data about job-seeking vets and vet-friendly employers, all in the hopes that we might better understand why so many vets can’t find work. They’ve pulled together government data on veteran unemployment claims, skills data scraped from Monster resumés and LinkedIn profiles — all of it anonymous — and job requirements from employers who’ve publicly committed to hiring veterans.

Veterans with spinal cord injuries gain jobs, sense of purpose (Tampa Bay Times)
Troy Webb rolled his wheelchair back from a wall of screens showing the busy hallways of the James A. Haley VA Medical Center. He can see into a million square feet of the center through more than 100 cameras from his work space, a room the size of an average bedroom. Webb, 37, is one of 280 participants in a national five-year program that started in 2010 to help veterans with spinal cord injuries get jobs. In June, he was hired as a dispatcher for the medical center’s police, his first job in 15 years. He says it gives him a sense of purpose and structure to his day.