How the VA Helps Iraq War Veterans With PTSD Find New Careers

It’s hard to adjust to life at home after serving overseas. After so many years in the military, living a life outside your unit seems to be getting harder instead of easier—and the thought of finding a “normal” job gives you a panic attack. Can a veteran suffering the mental effects of war really be expected to live and work after service?

Three Ways VA Services Can Help Iraq War Veterans With PTSD Find Employment

As many as one in every five service members returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition that may cause nightmares, hallucinations, paranoia, and an inability to interact with others. These symptoms not only make daily life difficult, they can make it extremely stressful or even impossible to work under normal conditions.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many different services to help Wounded Warriors and Gulf War Veterans acclimate to daily life after military service. Part of this effort includes helping returning servicemen and women find new career paths designed around their abilities and the limitations of their conditions.

Veterans who are suffering from PTSD may benefit from the following services:

  • New career training. Under the VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program, veterans with service-connected PTSD can attend career retraining sessions in order to find fulfilling and sustaining work.
  • Education. Many veterans opt to go back to school after deployment, learning the technical skills they need for a future career. The post-9/11 GI Bill may pay a veteran’s tuition and housing costs to allow him to achieve a higher education degree or certification from a technical college.
  • Self-employment. Veterans with PTSD are uniquely suited to positions where they work from home or are self-employed. Remote employment allows veterans to avoid many triggers of their conditions (including crowds and loud noises) and work around the constraints of the illness (such as working during periods of insomnia).

VA Disability Is the First Step Towards Helping Iraq Vets With PTSD Succeed

Many of these provisions are offered as part of the VA disability program. Unlike Social Security disability, VA disability benefits do not stop if you continue working, allowing you to work at a pace that is comfortable for you without worrying about losing your income. If you have not yet applied for VA disability benefits, we can help. Email us today at [email protected] and tell us about your service and symptoms.

 

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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