Post-9/11 veteran families facing disparate experiences with social determinants of health need customized responses.
The Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) have partnered to examine the needs of post-9/11 veterans, service members, caregivers, families, and children to provide recommendations for how to best serve them.
The research identified two distinct populations: veteran family respondents, who left service before receiving retirement benefits, and retiree family respondents, who served 20 years or more and receive military-retired pay or who have been medically retired. The data demonstrated that the distinction between veteran and retiree respondents is critical across all domains to understanding and creating programs that meet the needs of their intended beneficiaries.
Researchers investigated social determinants of health to include health care, mental health care, finances, employment and entrepreneurship, food insecurity, family dynamics, and loneliness and community.
Responses from post-9/11 respondents and their spouses on MFAN’s Military Family Support Programming Survey showed that non-retiree veterans and their spouses reported more negative experiences than those post-9/11 retiree respondents across topics, but specifically among social determinants of health such as economic stability, loneliness, community, food security, and health care.
For example, post-9/11 veterans and their families were less likely than retirees to have emergency savings. They also showed higher rates of loneliness. Post-9/11 caregiver respondents reported their greatest need was support for finding help in their caregiving journeys. Additionally, both veteran families and caregivers had higher rates of food insecurity.
According to Shannon Razsadin, MFAN’s president and executive director, “The unique perspectives and experiences of veteran families and military retiree families must be carefully considered as service providers create conditions where all post-9/11 families can thrive. Targeted solutions are necessary to effectively address the areas where post-9/11 families need the most support.”
“This research reinforces our understanding that the caregivers of wounded warriors need our help and better access to resources and care that can improve their quality of life,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “The insights and proposed solutions from this data are critically important, and we’re grateful to the Military Family Advisory Network for taking the lead on this research. Together, we’re even more equipped with a roadmap for opportunities to improve support for post-9/11 veterans and their families.”
The full report is available here.