The Annual Warrior Survey from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) shows post-9/11 wounded warriors face increasing financial hardship. More than 6 out of 10 (64.2%) WWP-registered Alumni say they couldn’t make ends meet at some point in the past 12 months. The latest survey was conducted between June 15 and Aug. 24, 2022.
WWP warriors are feeling the effects of ongoing economic pressures, as evidenced in the following findings:
- More than 8 in 10 (81.8%) said the soaring cost of goods was the top cause of financial strain.
- The unemployment rate for WWP warriors was 6.8% in 2022, down from 13.4% in 2021, but still higher than the general veteran (2.4%) and U.S. population (3.7%) at the time of the survey.
As further evidence, in 2022 Wounded Warrior Project spent five times more on emergency financial assistance for WWP warriors than in 2021.
“The findings of the Annual Warrior Survey remind us that wounded, ill, and injured warriors often have unique needs after military service – and the challenging economy can intensify those needs,” said WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Linnington. “Wounded Warrior Project offers WWP warriors and their families financial education, career counseling and job placement support, benefits filing assistance, and more. Our goal is to empower WWP warriors and see them achieve the best possible quality of life.”
Mental Health Concerns Remain High
WWP warriors continue to deal with suicidal thoughts and mental health. According to the survey, the top self-reported, service-related mental health concerns WWP warriors experience are PTSD (75.9%), anxiety (75.7%), and depression (74.3%). Over one-quarter (28.3%) had suicidal thoughts in the past 12 months, and 72% had them in the last two weeks.
Fortunately, 7 in 10 (66.3%) WWP warriors visited a professional at least once in the past 12 months to help with issues such as stress, emotional, substance use, or family problems, and most (60.6%) said they were likely to talk with another veteran for support when dealing with stress, emotional challenges, or mental health concerns.
The greatest casualty is being forgotten. The Annual Warrior Survey reminds us to never forget the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans.
WWP’s Actions to Address the Issues
WWP provides a variety of services to help WWP warriors improve their financial wellness. For example, from October 2021 to September 2022, WWP:
- Delivered 50,000 career coaching services to WWP warriors.
- Helped secure jobs for more than 1,700 WWP warriors and family members.
- Filed VA benefits claims for WWP warriors resulting in more than $146.6 million in benefits.
- Provided financial education to 1,500 WWP warriors and family members.
Army veteran Mike Carrasquillo shared, “After being wounded in combat and medically retired, I spent years lost within myself. Once I got back on track, Wounded Warrior Project helped me find meaningful employment.”
In Congress, WWP is working to pass the Major Richard Star Act, which would expand compensation to retirees whose military careers were cut short due to combat-related injuries.
WWP helps warriors get the mental health care they need through programs like Warrior Care Network, Project Odyssey, and others. From October 2021 to September 2022, Wounded Warrior Project:
- Made over 19,700 emotional support calls to WWP warriors and their families.
- Provided nearly 55,000 hours of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, substance use disorders and military sexual trauma.
- Hosted more than 6,400 virtual and in-person connection events for WWP warriors and their families and 1,200 warrior-only support groups to help WWP warriors and their loved ones build community. Those who participated said they felt socially connected (97%) and like they had people they could count on (95%).
In addition to providing life-changing programs and services for WWP warriors, WWP advocates for millions of veterans in the policy areas of toxic exposure, women veterans’ issues, mental health and suicide prevention, financial wellness, long-term care and support, and more. For more information, click here.
About the Survey
WWP reached these findings via the 13th administration of its Annual Warrior Survey – the largest, most comprehensive survey of post-9/11 wounded veterans. It was conducted in the summer of 2022 and represents more than 165,000 WWP warriors. The research helps shape WWP’s programs and services for WWP warriors and offers valuable insights for public officials, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and other veterans service organizations.
About Wounded Warrior Project
Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) has been meeting the growing needs of warriors, their families, and caregivers — helping them achieve their highest ambition. Learn more.
SOURCE Wounded Warrior Project