IAVA – Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
The mission of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is to connect, unite, and empower post 9/11 veterans. IAVA aims to achieve this goal through a multi-step approach. The IAVA community includes more than 425,000 members. And membership is always free.
Where other organizations seek to help veterans with benefits claims and resources, IAVA harnesses the power of veterans’ collective voice from the post 9/11 generation to advocate for change in policy and law.
What Makes IAVA Unique?
IAVA is the only veteran organization working exclusively with issues that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face. Their research consistently explores the challenges of this veteran population group and seeks to create change from within. Now more than ever, the post 9/11 veterans are at risk of being lost in the fray. Organizations like the IAVA help ensure that our policies and laws continue to support this newest generation of veterans. The 2.4 million Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have a voice in Washington with IAVA.
What Does the IAVA Offer the Veteran Community?
Social and Community Involvement
Unlike other veteran organizations, IAVA membership is exclusive to post 9/11 veterans. The organization has extensive reach on social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram, because it understands that this is where the youngest veteran generation is most active. Social media connection helps allow the members of IAVA to work together and connect in real-time to advocate for beneficial change.
Storm the Hill is an event unique to IAVA. It offers members the opportunity to directly influence policies they are passionate about. This is a wonderful example of IAVA’s membership and advocacy work in action. Storm the Hill is IAVA’s leadership developmental program. It gives members the chance to sit down with lawmakers, share their experiences, and discuss what matters most. IAVA “Storms the Hill” because they bring the collective stories of more than four million post 9/11 veterans to leaders in Washington. IAVA Stormers interact with members of Congress and fellow veteran leaders.
IAVA’s Storm the Hill efforts have fought for better body armor, funding for VA health care, addressed slowdowns in veterans receiving VA care, and helped protect and enhance the post-9/11 GI Bill. Storm the Hill has also helped with the passage of the Clay Hunt SAV Act to help reduce veteran suicides by creating opportunities for better mental health care.
Big 6 Policy Priorities
The Big 6 are the top six issues that IAVA members have identified as being most important to them. These include:
- A commitment to ending veteran suicide
- Burn pit registration and legislation relating to treatment and care
- Modernizing the VA to meet the needs of the current generation
- Exploring and addressing the needs of women veterans
- Alternative therapies at the VA
- Access to education benefits that are in line with the current education climate
IAVA encourages its members to participate in surveys and polls so that the needs of this unique population of veterans can be addressed. IAVA research uses real data to drive the development of solutions to benefit both veterans and families. The IAVA annual member survey helps drive the development of advocacy campaigns and programs. IAVA’s annual policy agenda is a direct reflection of the Annual Survey, which is the most comprehensive non-governmental survey of the post 9/11 veteran generation.
Quick Reaction Force
The Quick Reaction Force (QRF) provides confidential, free peer support, remote care management, and connections to resources for veterans and family members. This resource aims to help veterans and families in need, no matter the issue. QRF is open to veterans of all eras, no matter discharge status. Family members are also eligible for support.
IAVA understands that navigating the VA and DoD to get answers to questions can be a complex and frustrating process. So, the QRF works as a referral service for veterans and family members that offer an intensive remote care management option. Veteran Care Managers have been carefully trained to consider the needs and issues of this newest generation of veterans and are available 24/7 to address concerns and issues.
Additionally, QRF provides connections to organizations that give financial assistance to veterans and veteran family members. Care Managers assess financial needs, collect information, and then provide the right resources.
Housing Issues and Homelessness
Any veteran or family member at risk for homelessness is eligible to access the resources at QRF. In turn, the QRF accesses VA housing programs as well as local and national options to provide shelter for veterans and their families.
Because the loss of housing is often a multi-faceted issue, IAVA also provides resources relating to underemployment, financial hardship, or lack of medical care.
Does IAVA Help with Veterans Benefit Claims?
QRF Case Managers have extensive knowledge with filing VA claims and can help veterans navigate the often-complex process. Certified Veteran Service Officers help assist with submitting the proper paperwork and can offer connections for veterans. QRF works with other VSOs to make sure that veterans get the care they need.