Post-9/11 veterans more likely than others to benefit financially from military service

U.S. military veterans who served after 9/11 are more likely than those who served before to say their deployment had a positive impact on their financial situation when they returned home.

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That’s according to new findings from the Pew Research Center, which conducted a study of nearly 1,300 veterans 18 and older to gauge their feelings about money.

The results: A whopping 68% of post-9/11 veterans with combat experience said their service helped them financially, compared with just 30% of pre-9/11 combat veterans.

That could be due to their ability to find work, the research suggested. While only one in four veterans, overall, said they had a job lined up after discharge, about half of post-9/11 veterans found a job less than six months after starting their search.

Regardless of when they started looking, 57 percent of post-9/11 veterans said it took less than six months to find a job. Another 21 percent said they found employment within a year.

What’s more, 61 percent of post-9/11 veterans said serving in the military helped them get their first job after leaving, including 35 percent who felt it helped “a lot.”

“What it means to be a military veteran in the United States is being shaped by a new generation of service members,” according to the report. "About one in five veterans today served on active duty after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, in which terrorists toppled the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York and flew an airline into the Pentagon.

“Their collective experiences — from deployment to combat to the transition back to civilian life — are markedly different from those who served in previous eras," the report found.

The differences are not all good.

Veterans, overall, who’ve had traumatic or distressing experiences while in the military, and those who’ve experienced post-traumatic stress, were more likely than those who didn’t share such experiences to face financial difficulties after returning to civilian life.

For example, 61 percent of veterans who experienced post-traumatic stress said they “had trouble paying bills in the first few years after they left the military,” Pew noted. That’s compared with 30 percent who haven't had post-traumatic stress.

And post-9/11 veterans were more likely than pre-9/11 veterans to say that readjusting was difficult. About half of post-9/11 veterans say it was somewhat or very difficult to readjust, compared with one in five veterans whose service ended before.

Post-9/11 veterans were also more likely to have been deployed, seen combat or experienced emotional trauma, the data showed. Roughly three-quarters of post-9/11 veterans were deployed at least once, compared with 58 percent of those who served before them.