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Veterans' Benefits and Issues: Background Reading

The Veterans' Benefits and Issues Libguide provides an overview of Veterans' Benefits research, Veterans' issues, and information on Veterans' outreach.

Louis L. Biro Law Library

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Veterans Benefits and Issues Newsfeed

Many veterans organizations and independent groups track veteran and servicemember related news.  The following Disabled American Veterans' (DAV) news feed identifies changes to VA rules, law, and also reports on veterans issues:

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Veterans Documentaries and Movies

 PTSD is a serious problem. Veterans often come home with unseen scars. Multiple deployments and increased operation tempos likely contributed to higher suicide rates among combat veterans. Another serious issue is sexual violence and harassment. The above CBS reports that 1 in 7 women serving in a combat zone were victims of sexual assault or harassment. The following is a short list of veteran and military documentaries at UIC Law:

  • The Invisible War (2012) (Catalog Record).  This movie documents recent sexual assaults on women servicemembers, and the military's response.  
  • Restrepo: One Platoon,One Valley, One Year (2010) (Catalog Record).  This documentary captures the lives of a combat platoon stationed in a remote post in Afghanistan.  While most Iraq and Afghanistan veterans served in larger forward operating bases, the movie provides a snapshot of combat, friendship, and being away from home.




Understanding Veterans Benefits and Issues

Historically, some Veterans and Servicemembers have remained skeptical of the VA's commitment to serving veterans.  One key chant veterans lodge against the VA is "Deny, deny, deny until they die;" or alternatively phrased as "Deny, Delay, and Hope that I Die."  The following video is a 60 Minutes newscast that looks at the VA's current treatment of veterans (aired on January 3, 2010):


Internet Resources

With the rise of blogs and internet sites, there are an increasing number of internet sources covering the VA's treatment of veterans.  The following list of websites and blogs address the VA's treatment of veterans.  These resources can help an advocate understand some of the common issues veterans face:

  • National Veterans Foundation Blogs Page.  The National Veterans Foundation (NVF) has several bloggers that cover veterans' issues, mostly focusing on veterans' benefits.  Read the NVF blogs to learn about common issues veterans face when transitioning to civilian life, VA benefits issues, and efforts to increase veterans' programs and benefits.
  • Veterans Benefits Blog.  The Veterans Benefits Blog is produced by the veterans practice group of Goodman, Allen & Filetti, PLLC.  The blog posts developments with the VA, veterans' transitioning (e.g., employment initiatives), and veterans' issues. Many blog posts focus on the VA's administrative appeal system.  
  • Veterans Journal.  The Veterans Journal is a collection of news stories and feeds on benefits and issues pertaining to veterans and servicemembers.  This website provides insight into common veterans' issues, the veteran and military community, and tracks military servicemembers' and veterans' law developments. 


Print Resources

The internet has increased the number of resources covering the VA and veterans.  However, these sources are usually not as comprehensive or organized as books.  The following books discuss VA services and benefits:

  • John D. Roche, The Veteran's Survival Guide (2nd ed. 2006) (Chicago Public Library Catalog Record).  Roche's book is one of the most comprehensive sources describing VA eligibility and application for service-connected disability claims.  While dated, this book is an excellent resource to help veterans become knowledgeable about the VA service-connected disability requirements.  Further, the book describes the VA bureaucracy, providing insight into the VA's administration of veterans claims.  Roche highlights how veterans often become frustrated with the VA administrative claims system.  Still, with a little bit of strategy and the use of coping mechanism, veterans can remain vigilant and take steps to make sure their claims are given full consideration under the law.  
  • Glenn C. Altschuler & Stuart M. Blumin, The GI Bill:  A New Deal for Veterans (2009) (JMLS Catalog Record; audience: veterans, historians, and advocates).  This book is a good read for anyone interested in legislative action.  The authors critique the overall implementation of the GI Bill, questioning the egalitarian nature of the act and the overall contribution to the American economy.  While the book focuses on the historic developments that led to the drafting and passage of the Montgomery GI Bill, the book also analyzes prior government veterans' programs.    


Counseling Resources for Veterans Advocates

Affective Assistance of Counsel: Practicing Law as a Healing Profession (Marjorie A. Silver ed., 2007) (Catalog Record).  This book focuses on the importance of counseling clients.  The authors provide various techniques that provide a holistic approach to client representation, focusing on interviewing and client interactions.  These techniques help bridge the gap between the attorney and the client, with approaches to identify cultural differences that affect communication.  The articles suggest that attorneys should review and respect a client's overall well-being, and should help clients seek additional help (e.g., psychological counseling for PTSD).  This book may be useful for attorneys who want to represent veterans but have limited exposure to veterans or military servicemembers because it provides techniques for working with clients with different backgrounds than the attorney.  

Carol Schiro Greenwald & Steven Skyles-Mulligan, Build your Practice the Logical Way: Maximize your Client Relationships (2012) (Catalog Record).  The authors provide concise advice on developing a legal practice, including strategies for building client relationships.  This book is a good reference source for developing client relationships, promoting client interests, and maintaining a professional career. 

David A. Binder et. al, Lawyers as Counselors: A Client Centered Approach (2d ed. 2004) (Catalog Record).  This work provides attorneys a toolkit for client interviewing, investigation, and most importantly building client relationships.