Directors of state-run VA programs and centers almost unanimously say that the one of the five greatest needs of the veterans they serve involves navigating the benefits and claims process.

The directors made the point while taking part in a survey conducted by the non-profit Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), based at Syracuse University, which was conducted this fall and winter.

Additionally, IVMF canvassed stakeholders within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, other federal agencies, and non-profit organizations. Nick Armstrong, a West Point graduate who serves as IVMF’s senior director for research and evaluation, oversaw the surveys.
Other findings:

* 82 percent of the state directors who responded say that behavioral and mental health care is important to veterans. Another 64 percent cited employment and training, while 61 percent considered veterans’ homes and long-term care as key issues among the veterans they serve.
* 40 percent of the directors believe their biggest challenge is making do with a lack of budgetary resources.
* 89 percent said that they work “a great deal”with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. They also work extensively with veterans’ service organizations, as well as state agencies that deal with workforce development, military affairs, and health and human services.