Self-Perception of Disability and Prospects for Employment Among U.S. Veterans
50 Work 49 (2015) 49-58
10 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2015
Date Written: February 24, 2015
Barriers to employment in the civilian labor force are increasingly difficult problems for returning veterans with disabilities. Reduced self-perception of disability status because of predominant military norms can be particularly harmful to reintegration efforts. We analyze rates of self-identified and externally determined disability status among U.S. veterans. Evidence of a lower self-report rate would confirm the hypothesis that armed forces culture might hold back truly deserving veterans from seeking the benefits owed, including specialized employment training programs. We use data from the Current Population Survey Veterans Supplement over the sample period 1995-2010 on disability status and associated demographic characteristics to present descriptive measures and limited statistical inference. Over the entire sample period, federal agencies considered 29% of the survey respondents to have a service-connected disability versus a 9% self-identification rate. The rate of more severe service-connected disabilities has risen steadily, while less drastic disability rates have fallen. Non-white respondents and those with lower education levels were less likely to self-identify. Large disparities in internal and external disability status identification raise questions about targeting soldiers re-entering the labor force. Employment policy should focus on overcoming negative cultural stereotypes and encouraging self-identification.
Keywords: veterans, disability, employment
JEL Classification: J10, J20, J68, J78
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation