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Witness Testimony of Heather L. Ansley, Esq., MSW, Co-Chair, Veterans Task Force, Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities

On behalf of: Brain Injury Association of America; Easter Seals; Goodwill Industries International, Inc.; Inter-National Association of Business, Industry and Rehabilitation; Lutheran Services in America Disability Network
Mental Health America; National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors; National Disability Rights Network; National Industries for the Blind; National Rehabilitation Association; NISH; Paralyzed Veterans of America; VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association
Vietnam Veterans of America

 Executive Summary

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Veterans Task Force believes that meaningful employment represents one of the best opportunities for veterans with significant disabilities to reintegrate successfully into their communities. In the most recent survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on employment for veterans with service-connected disabilities, 114,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan reported having a service-connected disability rated at 60 percent or higher. Unfortunately, 41,000 of these veterans are not participating in the labor force. Among veterans of all eras with a service-connected disability rated at least 60 percent, workforce participation was 27.9 percent.

Typically, discussions about veterans' employment center on veteran-specific programs operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Small Business Administration, or Department of Labor (DOL). Veterans with disabilities, as people with disabilities, who need employment assistance, are also able to turn to programs authorized under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), or, in the case of veterans with significant disabilities, state vocational rehabilitation agencies (VRAs) and Ticket to Work Employment Networks (ENs) under Social Security.

Veterans with the highest service-connected ratings and veterans on VA disability pension will likely qualify for state vocational rehabilitation services. Strengthening the connection between VR&E and state VRAs through the Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration is critical to ensuring that veterans with disabilities receive the services they need to help them return to or remain in the workforce.

Veterans with significant disabilities are often beneficiaries of Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). As SSDI beneficiaries, veterans are able to participate in Social Security employment programs such as Ticket to Work, which allows beneficiaries to purchase vocational rehabilitation services from an array of providers called ENs. Some veterans are dually eligible for SSDI and VA pension. If these individuals attempt to use SSA's work incentives to increase their income, however, not only will their SSDI benefit be terminated but their VA pension benefits are reduced dollar for dollar. 

WIA covers most of the nation’s major employment and training programs operated through DOL. Several sections of WIA incorporate veterans' employment into its overall mission. WIA has been slated for reauthorization since 2003. While progress has been made, additional changes are needed to focus on the performance of the entire workforce system.

Although many veterans with disabilities have the skills needed to qualify for employment opportunities and advance in their careers, barriers to employment continue to prevent these veterans from receiving opportunities. These barriers must be addressed. Otherwise, training opportunities alone will not address the needs of those veterans who have the most significant disabilities to allow them to reintegrate into the workforce and contribute to their communities.


Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Filner, and other distinguished members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding how to improve employment opportunities for veterans who are severely disabled.

I am Heather Ansley, Director of Veterans Policy for VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association. Today, I am here in my capacity as a Co-Chair of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Veterans Task Force.

CCD is a coalition of over 100 national consumer, service provider, and professional organizations which advocates on behalf of people with disabilities and chronic conditions and their families. The CCD Veterans Task Force works to bring the disability and veterans communities together to address issues that affect veterans with disabilities as people with disabilities. Veterans Task Force members include veterans service organizations and broad based disability organizations, including organizations that represent consumers and service providers. 

Over the years, we have reached out to both veterans and military service organizations to allow for cross collaboration and the application of lessons learned to new populations of people with disabilities. Because of the intersection of the disability and veterans communities that occurs when a veteran acquires a significant disability, the CCD Veterans Task Force is uniquely suited to bring both perspectives to issues that cut across programmatic and policy lines.

The CCD Veterans Task Force believes that meaningful employment represents one of the best opportunities for veterans with significant disabilities to reintegrate successfully into their communities. Unfortunately, for veterans with disabilities, like their civilian brothers and sisters with disabilities, the employment picture is not very positive.

The most recent statistics available from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics addressing the cross section of veterans with service-connected disabilities illustrate the connection between disability and veteran status on employment.[1] In July 2010, approximately 13 percent of veterans reported having a service-connected disability. Of those veterans, 729,000 reported having a service-connected disability rating of 60 percent or greater. Workforce participation for these veterans was 27.9 percent compared to 53.2 percent for veterans with no disability.

Among veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nearly 25 percent reported having a disability related to their service. Of those veterans, 114,000 reported having a disability rated at 60 percent or greater. The workforce participation rate was 63.7 percent compared to 86.2 percent for veterans without a service-connected disability. Thus, 41,000 veterans of the current conflicts reporting a service-connected disability rated at 60 percent or higher are not even in the labor force.

Veterans with Disabilities and Federal Employment Programs

Typically, discussions about veterans' employment center on veteran-specific programs operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Small Business Administration (SBA), or Department of Labor (DOL). The VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program is generally available to veterans with service-connected disabilities who have an employment handicap. DOL offers programs and services through its Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) and SBA hosts a number of programs tailored to veteran small business owners and service-disabled veteran small business owners. 

Veterans with disabilities, as people with disabilities, who need employment assistance, are also able to turn to programs authorized under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), or, in the case of veterans with significant disabilities, state vocational rehabilitation agencies (VRAs) and Ticket to Work Employment Networks (ENs) under Social Security. These programs are particularly critical for veterans who do not qualify for VA’s VR&E program.

State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies and Veterans

VRAs operate under the Rehabilitation Act to assist individuals with significant disabilities in obtaining or regaining employment. Data from the Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) indicate that state VRAs served over 63,000 veterans from FY 2006 through FY 2010 with overall successful employment rates of approximately 50 percent.

Many VRAs have memoranda of understanding with their state department of veterans affairs to coordinate services to veterans with disabilities. Some state agencies have identified counselors with military backgrounds to serve as liaisons with VA and veterans groups. In addition, VA is increasingly engaged with state VRAs in outreach to the business community to promote veterans with disabilities as a valuable talent pool. Indeed, VA’s own Strategic Plan for FY 2006 – 2011 indicated plans to use non-VA providers to supplement and complement services provided by VR&E staff.

There are many more state vocational rehabilitation counselors than there are VR&E counselors around the nation.  These numbers of vocational experts can amplify the assistance available to veterans with disabilities if appropriate outreach and partnerships are established and training is provided to improve cross-agency coordination.

Most veterans with ratings at 40 percent and below are unlikely to qualify for state vocational rehabilitation services. However, those with the highest service-connected ratings and veterans on VA disability pension will likely qualify for state vocational rehabilitation services. Veterans rated between 50 percent and 70 percent might qualify depending on an appropriate evaluation of the veteran's functional capacity.[2]

Participants at a May 2008 Department of Education symposium on vocational rehabilitation and returning veterans suggested that the potential exists for veterans in some states to be bounced between state VRAs & VR&E. One way to address this concern would be for VA to work with RSA to ensure accuracy in VRAs' acceptance of veterans with service-connected disability ratings. It is our understanding that VR&E is finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with RSA. Formalizing the connection between VR&E and state VRAs through RSA is critical to ensuring that veterans with disabilities receive the services they need to help them return to or remain in the workforce.

Veterans and AbilityOne®

The AbilityOne® Program is a federal initiative to help people who are blind or have significant disabilities, including wounded veterans, find employment by working for nonprofit agencies (NPAs) that provide products and/or services to the U.S. government. With a national network of 600 NPAs, which work through NISH and the National Industries for the Blind, and AbilityOne® projects in every state of the nation, the AbilityOne® Program is the largest single source of employment for people who are blind or have other significant disabilities in the United States. The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled is the federal agency authorized to administer the AbilityOne® Program.

In 2010, the AbilityOne® Program employed nearly 48,000 people who were blind or had significant disabilities, of which 1,700 were veterans with disabilities. National Industries for the Blind, NISH, and AbilityOne® participating NPAs also employed thousands of veterans outside of their AbilityOne® workforce. Through research and development activities, specific programs are in development to address veterans with traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, and major depression, as well as long-term employment support models. The AbilityOne® Program offers career transition support, exploration, and development for veterans in transition along with grants to prepare these veterans for management opportunities. Additionally, the revenue raised through AbilityOne® contracts and sales is reinvested in rehabilitation programs across the country, which help thousands more of individuals (including veterans) with disabilities find employment.

The AbilityOne® Program has partnered with the National Organization on Disability, which has extensive experience and access to wounded service members in the Army Wounded Warrior Program to conduct employment based research with veterans with disabilities. This project includes collaboration with the Department of Defense to match employment requirements to the research-identified career interests and abilities of Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom veterans with disabilities.

In 2003, VA’s Compensated Work Therapy Program (CWT) signed an MOU within the AbilityOne®Program as the referral conduit between VA CWT and the AbilityOne®NPAs to collaborate with VA beneficiaries who have a disability. Approximately 2,100 veterans with disabilities have been employed since the partnership’s inception. The partnership agreement promotes local relationships between NPAs and VA CWT offices. This allows VA to pre-screen veterans to match AbilityOne® job requirements and to refer qualified veterans with significant disabilities to participate in AbilityOne® job coaching programs.

TheAbilityOne®Program represents one of many programs supporting veterans and is just one example of how the members of the CCD Veterans Task Force help to increase employment opportunities for veterans with significant disabilities.

Veterans and Social Security Work Incentives Programs

Veterans with significant disabilities are very often beneficiaries of Social Security disability insurance (SSDI). Veterans have earned the right to Social Security retirement, disability, and survivor’s benefits since 1957 when military service was covered under Social Security. 

According to the March 2010 Current Population Survey, there were 649,000 veterans under age 61 receiving Social Security benefits. Roughly three percent – about 19,000 – of disabled veteran Social Security beneficiaries are younger than age 40 and 15.4 percent are younger than age 50. Older data from Social Security Administration's (SSA) 2007 Annual Statistical Supplement indicated there were 434,000 Social Security beneficiaries who were service-connected disabled veterans rated 70-100 percent under age 65. Another 153,000 beneficiaries of Social Security were non-service-connected disabled veterans under age 65. 

As SSDI beneficiaries, veterans are able to participate in Social Security employment programs such as Ticket to Work. Ticket to Work was created in 1999 by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act. Under the Ticket program, SSDI recipients are able to purchase vocational rehabilitation services from an array of providers called Employment Networks (ENs). In return for assisting a beneficiary in going to work and off of SSDI benefits, ENs receive payment from Social Security for up to 60 months.

Three years ago, the vocational rehabilitation program created by Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) became an employment network under the Social Security Ticket to Work program in recognition of the fact that most of the veterans PVA was serving are on SSDI. PVA’s vocational rehabilitation program is predicated on assertive outreach to veterans with disabilities early in their medical rehabilitation process, rapid deployment of counseling and job search assistance, lengthy follow up services, and leveraging of existing public programs and private resources to support its efforts. Since starting its vocational rehabilitation program, PVA has served over 800 veterans, with over 126 veterans returning to work at an average salary of $39,200. 

Among the veterans PVA has served as an EN is “JM”, a 34 year old Gulf War I veteran who acquired a non-service-connected spinal cord injury after his discharge from the Army. On SSDI, he had been living with his father and had not worked in two years when a PVA vocational rehabilitation counselor met him at the San Diego VA Spinal Cord Injury Center during hospital rounds. Within eight months of entering the program, “JM” was working for a technology company as a repair technician II at a salary of $41,600. Fifty veterans have been helped thus far using Ticket to Work and PVA has received $40,737 in outcome payments from Social Security.

Social Security Work Incentives and VA Pension "Cash Cliff" 

Some veterans and their spouses are dually eligible for SSDI and VA pension. These individuals may have had low paying jobs during their work life or not have had an extensive earnings history. As a result, they have a small SSDI benefit based on that work record. These benefits will offset any VA pension payments up to the allowed pension level. This dual eligibility can have ramifications for those who want to work.

VA pension is often likened to Social Security’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, a means-tested income support program. SSI work incentives allow beneficiaries to work while gradually phasing out their benefits as their earnings rise. Unlike SSI, though, VA pensioners face a "cash cliff" similar to that experienced by beneficiaries on SSDI in which benefits are terminated once an individual crosses an established earnings limit. If these individuals attempt to use SSA's work incentives to increase their income, not only will their SSDI benefit be terminated but their VA pension benefits are reduced dollar for dollar by their earnings. 

Over 20 years ago, under P.L. 98-543, Congress authorized VA to undertake a four year pilot program of vocational training for veterans awarded VA pension. Modeled on SSA's trial work period, veterans in the pilot were allowed to retain eligibility for pension up to 12 months after obtaining employment. In addition, they remained eligible for VA health care up to three years after their pension terminated because of employment. Running from 1985 to 1989, this pilot program achieved some modest success. However, it was discontinued because, prior to VA eligibility reform, most catastrophically-disabled veterans were reluctant to risk their access to VA health care by working.  

The VA Office of Policy, Planning and Preparedness examined the VA pension program in 2002 and, though small in number, seven percent of unemployed veterans on pension and nine percent of veteran spouses on pension cited the dollar-for-dollar reduction in VA pension benefits as a disincentive to work.[3] Now that veterans with catastrophic non-service-connected disabilities retain access to VA health care, work incentives for the VA pension program should be re-examined and policies toward earnings should be changed to parallel those in the SSI program.

Workforce Investment Act

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) covers most of the nation’s major employment and training programs operated through DOL. DOL’s VETS is known as the primary veterans program within the workforce system. Several sections of WIA seek to incorporate veterans' employment concerns into its overall mission as the engine for this nation's workforce development system. VETS is a mandatory partner in state workforce systems under the Act and Section 168 of WIA established the Veterans' Workforce Investment Program (VWIP) which was intended to amplify workforce activities to veterans that were not adequately provided through public providers. Subtitle B – Linkages to Other Programs, Section 322, requires the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to coordinate with DOL in implementing various provisions of WIA. Numerous references to veterans throughout WIA indicate Congressional intent that the workforce system account for the employment success of veterans and veterans with disabilities.

An MOU signed in 2005 by VA and DOL aimed to foster better coordination of services between the two agencies in serving veterans. At a hearing before the Economic Opportunity Subcommittee in 2009, John McWilliam, Deputy Assistant Secretary for VETS, outlined the work of a Joint Workgroup established after the 2005 MOU with VA. The objective of this workgroup was to develop performance measures for the VETS and VA partnership and to engage in joint data collection, analyses, and reports of progress. Statistics from 2008 highlighted in his testimony indicated that there were over 7,000 veterans referred from VR&E to state workforce agencies, a little over 6,000 were registered by the state workforce agency and some 3,500 entered employment at an average entry wage of $16 an hour.

Such coordination between VA and DOL in addressing the employment needs of veterans with disabilities is commendable. However, further analysis should have been carried out to determine what happened to the 1,000 veterans who dropped out somewhere between the VA and the state workforce system or why only a little over half of the veterans referred by VA to a state agency entered employment. Moreover, these figures only relate to veterans deemed eligible for VR&E. How many veterans with non-service-connected disabilities or those with service-connected disabilities ineligible for VR&E have been served by state workforce systems and placed into employment? These veterans have served their nation honorably but their employment successes and challenges do not always receive as much attention. 

Another example of increased collaboration between DOL workforce programs for people with disabilities and those serving veterans involved the Disability Program Navigators (DPN) and local VETS staff in Idaho. This project was highlighted in a Promising Practices series published in 2009 by DOL’s DPN initiative. DPNs are staff located in WIA One Stop Career Centers tasked with helping customers with disabilities traverse the array of job training and placement services available, evaluate Social Security benefits and work incentives programs, obtain assistive technology and workplace accommodations, and connect with private disability provider and advocacy groups.

Effective January 19, 2009, VETS issued a final rule on priority of service for veterans in DOL job training programs. Priority of service was established in the 2002 Jobs for Veterans Act (JVA) and provides that veterans and eligible spouses are entitled to priority over non-covered persons for receipt of employment, training and placement services under new or existing qualified job training programs funded by DOL.

To fully implement priority of service, DPNs in the Idaho One Stop Career Centers worked with their partner Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) and Local Veterans Employment Representative (LVER) staff to meet with disabled veterans and their families to identify the array of benefits and services available to them and to support job seekers’ employment goals.  As a result of this partnership, DVOPs and LVERs added to their knowledge of public and private agency services for people with disabilities and the DPNs obtained valuable information about veteran’s resources that could be used to assist future clients.

Unfortunately, this example of a positive working relationship between components of the workforce system is at risk due to current budget dynamics. Because states have considerable flexibility in the implementation of DVOP and LVER services, these staff are often diverted to other duties unrelated to serving veterans and veterans with disabilities or may only be available at One Stops on certain days of the week. If veterans with disabilities are to be served by the workforce system as intended by law, then resources will be needed to make sure appropriate employment personnel are available whenever needed.

Furthermore, according to figures compiled from the DOL participant reporting system, the numbers of veterans served under priority of service has actually declined since JVA passed. Statistics for individual states indicate low rates of exit from WIA intensive training services for veterans with service-connected disabilities. We are particularly concerned over what this decline may represent in numbers of non-service-connected disabled veterans going unserved by the workforce system. Veterans whose disabilities occurred outside of military service are among those who must rely on the WIA workforce system for assistance. Veterans priority of service appropriately applied would go a long way in assuring these veterans receive the help they deserve.

WIA has been slated for reauthorization since 2003. Many proposals for improving workforce system services for people with disabilities have been made over the years. Relevant to this hearing, is a document that explores some of the connections between VA’s VR&E and state vocational rehabilitation systems.[4] In its summary, the report outlines suggestions for improvements that could apply to all facets of the workforce development system including veterans, their family members, and businesses that recruit and hire veterans. Among their recommendations:

  • Enhance outreach efforts to veterans with disabilities so that they are more aware of needed services and how to access them.
  • Begin to retool existing federal, state, and nonprofit systems or programs to better address the needs of veterans. Build and maintain a comprehensive national and state directory of these programs and identify their purpose, the service they offer, and how to find them.
  • Create “crosswalks” for transferable skills from military occupational specialties to civilian jobs and create certifications of skills acquired in the military that can be transferred for college credit/certification.
  • Recognize the important role families play in assisting veterans in activities such as accessing needed services for their disability, identifying symptoms of undiagnosed disabilities and coordinating needed services.
  • Assist businesses with education about veterans, their disabilities, available resources, and points of contact when assistance is needed.
  • Streamline services to veterans, reducing redundancy in areas such as plan development, implementation of planned services, contacts with potential employers, and linkages to needed resources and contacts while providing a more “rapid response” based on the needs of the veteran and minimizing the number of people and programs the veteran must deal with.
  • Press service providers to become more knowledgeable about other programs and their services and points of contact at the local level to ensure more comprehensive access to needed services by veterans and their family members.
  • Improve post-employment outreach to businesses that employ veterans or assist them in returning to work after becoming disabled, realizing that it is the business that may first notice undiagnosed conditions.
  • For those who have not served in the military, expand an understanding of military culture.
  • Create “top-down” support among state vocational rehabilitation programs, VA VR&E, and DOL VETS programs through collaborative meetings and more formal initiatives such as: national and state workgroups, national and state MOUs, interagency training and education, and ongoing program evaluation and improvement.

An Example of a Disability Organization Expanding Its Mission to Serve Veterans

Many general disability organizations have historically reached out to and serve veterans with disabilities. For example, Easter Seals, a national service provider and advocate for people with disabilities, expanded its mission following World War II to include adults with disabilities specifically to assist servicemembers returning home with disabilities. Recently, Easter Seals was selected by VA to administer its new National Veteran Caregiver Training Program that provides training for family caregivers of seriously-injured Post 9/11 veterans who choose to receive care in their homes.

Today, Easter Seals works with employers to help increase employment opportunities for veterans. Easter Seals developed an online, interactive training program for human resource and hiring personnel called Operation Employ Veterans that highlights the benefit of hiring veterans and strategies for successful integration.

Easter Seals also works directly with veterans to provide them with the tools, resources and information they need to help find and maintain employment in their communities. Easter Seals’ headquarters in Chicago helps veterans and their families connect to services and reintegration resources through its Community OneSource program. At the local level, Easter Seals affiliates provide job training, assistive technology assessment, job placement and follow-up employment supports to veterans and wounded warriors.

The CCD Veterans Task Force commends VA’s Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Gateway Initiative aimed at helping qualified non-profits who are interested in assisting VA in employment and other service areas. Despite this NGO outreach effort, however, VA excludes NGOs and non-profits from competing for certain service opportunities and makes it difficult for other NGOs to serve veterans due to its overly bureaucratic National Acquisition Strategy. For example, several regional services areas within the recent VR&E VetSuccess Program competition were not open to non-profits. In order to benefit from the knowledge of other communities that serve veterans, VA should expand opportunities to NGOs as appropriate.

Veterans with Disabilities as People with Disabilities

Many veterans with disabilities have the skills needed to qualify for employment opportunities and advance in their careers. However, barriers continue to prevent these veterans from receiving employment opportunities. Unless these barriers are eliminated, training opportunities alone will not address the needs of those veterans who have the most significant disabilities to allow them to reintegrate into the workforce and contribute to their communities.

Although veterans with disabilities are like their non-veteran counterparts in their employment disadvantages, there are differences as well. Barriers that prevent people with significant disabilities from being able to work include lack of access to Medicaid funded health care and long-term services and supports and loss of Social Security benefits. Although there are programs that allow people with disabilities to transition to employment, many are fearful of participating in these programs due to concerns about the loss of critical benefits or the inability to find employment providing sufficient resources to replace those provided under Medicaid.

Veterans who have disabilities that allow them to receive health care and service-connected disability benefits through VA retain these benefits even if they return to work because eligibility is not income dependent. VA disability compensation is intended to do more than offset the economic loss created by a veteran’s inability to obtain gainful employment. It also takes into consideration a lifetime of living with a disability and the everyday challenges associated with that disability. It reflects the fact that even if a veteran is employed, when he or she goes home at the end of the day, that veteran does not leave the disability at the office.

Although ability to retain VA benefits may lessen the barriers to employment for some veterans who have significant disabilities, it is important to remember that many of these veterans may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. These benefits, which may include their own cash assistance plus family benefits, are lost if the veteran returns to work. Other veterans who acquire severe disabilities outside of military service may not be eligible for VA benefits and are thus subject to work disincentives in other federal programs.

Veterans with disabilities, like other people with disabilities, face other barriers to employment that include misinformation about disability and misperceptions about required accommodations. The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) has developed a list of myths and facts that addresses some of the concerns that employers may have regarding hiring a person with a disability. Some of the most prominent myths include concerns that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to hire unqualified applicants with disabilities and prevents employers from firing employees with disabilities even if the reason for termination is not related to the disability. Both of these myths are false.

Other myths that cause concern for employers relate to the provision of accommodation for employees with disabilities. Employers may believe that providing accommodations is costly and that this burden is particularly heavy for small businesses. However, many people with disabilities do not require accommodations to perform their jobs. The Job Accommodation Network, which is a program of ODEP, reports that of those individuals who require accommodations, two-thirds can be successfully accommodated at a cost of less than $500.

Consequently, programs that assist veterans and people with disabilities must work together to ensure that all facets of the individual’s disability are adequately addressed to allow the veteran to return to employment. Veterans not only need programs that provide them with the skills that allow them to succeed but they also need placement specialists who can help potential employers to overcome concerns about hiring a person with a disability.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify regarding the views of the CCD Veterans Task Force concerning employment opportunities for severely disabled veterans. There are many other veterans employment programs and initiatives being undertaken by the public sector, private companies, and nonprofit organizations that we could have highlighted. Our aim today is to convey to the Committee a sense of the many employment programs that can assist veterans with disabilities beyond the traditional VA avenues.

We encourage the Committee to continue its exploration of this topic and salute your leadership on behalf of our nation’s veterans with disabilities. The CCD Veterans Task Force is ready to work in partnership to ensure that all veterans are able to reintegrate in to their communities and remain valued, contributing members of society.

Information Required by Clause 2(g) of Rule XI of the House of Representatives

Testimony submitted on behalf of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Veterans Task Force. The co-chairs for the task force are as follows:

  • Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW
    Director of Veterans Policy
    VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association
    1660 L St, NW, Suite 504
    Washington, DC 20036
    (202) 556-2076 Ext. 7702
    hansley@vetsfirst.org
  • Bill Jefferson

Congressional Liaison House and Senate Armed Services and DOD

  • NISH
    8401 Old Courthouse Rd, Suite 100
    Vienna, VA 22182
    (571) 226-4525
    bjefferson@nish.org
  • Susan Prokop
    Associate Advocacy Director
    Paralyzed Veterans of America
    801 18th St, NW
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 416-7707
    susanp@pva.org
  • Leonard Selfon, J.D., CAE
    Associate General Counsel
    Paralyzed Veterans of America
    801 18th St, NW
    Washington, DC 20006
    (202) 416-7629
    lens@pva.org

Receipt of Federal grants or contracts:

  • The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Veterans Task Force has not received any federal grants or contracts during the current or two preceding fiscal years.

[1] News Release, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation of Veterans – 2010 (Mar. 11, 2011) www.bls.gov/news.release/vet.nr0.htm.

[2] Proceedings of the 34th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues, U.S. Department of Education Rehabilitation Services Administration, May 5-6, 2008.

[3] ORC Macro, Economic Systems Inc., and Hay Group, Evaluation of VA Pension and Parents' DIC Programs: VA Pension Program Final Report (2004), http://www.va.gov/op3/docs/ProgramEvaluations/Pension.pdf.

[4] 34th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues, When Johnny (or Jeannie) Comes Marching Home . . . and Back to Work: Linking Veterans Affairs and State Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Service Men and Women (2009), http://iriforum.org/download/34IRI.pdf.