VA issues new grants to expand female vets care

WASHINGTON – Late last week, as the Defense Department’s plans to put women in new combat roles received widespread media attention, the Department of Veterans Affairs quietly announced nearly three dozen new research grants to improve health care access for female veterans.

The flurry of research funds could have far-reaching effects on the care those women receive. Education grants will expand residency training on topics such as gynecology, obstetrics emergencies, military sexual trauma and breast examinations.

Wal-Mart jobs offer draws critics

WASHINGTON – Wal-Mart’s announcement Tuesday that they’ll guarantee jobs for thousands of recently separated veterans drew plenty of praise for the company but also complaints from critics who say the retailer’s offer is more about publicity than helping war heroes.

The advocacy group Veterans for Common Sense labeled the move a “crass publicity stunt” designed to put veterans in “dead-end jobs.” Editors at The Atlantic and the Washington Post note the company’s high employee-turnover rate makes the move less magnanimous.

President again invokes military pay, vet benefits in looming budget fight

WASHINGTON – Another big budget showdown is brewing in Washington, and once again veterans’ benefits and troops’ paychecks are being touted as possible casualties of the fight.

On Monday, President Barack Obama said that if congressional Republicans don’t agree to raise the country’s debt ceiling, it could force a government shutdown and deal a crippling blow to the national economy. He said it also could mean “Social Security checks and veterans’ benefits will be delayed” and “We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners.”

Student vets say anti-military attitudes persist on campus

ORLANDO, Fla. — One of the more troubling anecdotes to come out of the annual Student Veterans of America conference this weekend was just how often former servicemembers face anti-military comments on campus. And it's not just from naive 18-year-olds.

Veterans said they still encounter professors and other faculty who blame them for the Iraq War, resent the generous GI Bill benefits and assume the former troops aren't smart enough to make it to graduation. It's not the norm, they said, but it's something nearly every student veteran has had to deal with at least once in the last few years.

Vets unemployment continued rise in December

WASHINGTON – The percentage of veterans looking for work continued to rise in December, with younger veterans faring the worst, according to the latest figures released Friday from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate for all veterans reached 7 percent, up from 6.6 percent in November and 6.3 percent in October. The last time the overall veterans unemployment rate had been at 7 percent or higher was in July 2012.