VA to survey veterans' households

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a national survey of veterans, active-duty servicemembers, activated National Guardsmen and reservists, and family members and survivors to learn if they are aware of VA services.

In addition to assessing awareness levels, the national survey will collect important information about health care, benefits, employment and demographics that VA will use to inform policy decisions and improve benefits. Recognizing a broader client base than just veterans, this is the first time VA has included others, such as veteran family members, in its survey population.

VA is mailing out survey "screeners" to more than 130,000 households to identify potential survey participants. The screener asks if any member of the household falls into one of the identified survey groups: veterans, family members and survivors, active-duty military, Guardsmen or reservists. Eligible survey participants may then be asked to participate in a full-length survey.

Participants will be able to select a preferred survey method: through U.S. mail, telephone or a password-protected Internet address. VA expects approximately 10,000 veterans to complete the full-length survey.

This is the sixth VA National Survey of Veterans since 1978. The information collected will help VA design and conduct outreach efforts to veterans. In addition, it will provide a clearer picture of the veteran population's characteristics, which will help evaluate existing programs and policies and measure their impact.

The data collection is expected to be finished by the end of February and the final report released by December 2010.