By James Madril

By James Madril

Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph provides for the veteran who would not otherwise be able to receive help.

Click here to read the entire September 2020 newsletter

Across the country and throughout our own diocesan area, there are dozens of programs dedicated to assisting veterans as they navigate civilian life. While this is all good and well, the need for employment remains great, especially for veterans with disability. Oftentimes, this is one of the most difficult obstacles to face. To have a fair look at the current state of veteran employment, we’ve pulled the most recent figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Fact 1: There is a total of 18,776 veterans seeking employment assistance
  • Fact 2: Of these veterans, 4,742 veterans have reported service-connected disabilities
  • Fact 3: Of the 18,776 veterans, 9,017 total veterans are reported to be eligible for civilian workforce, while another 9,759 are not in the work force, with disability as the primary barrier

When people think of veteran disabilities, most think first of the visible disabilities such as loss of limbs or post-traumatic stress. While talking about these disabilities can be cathartic for the suffering individual, other disabilities are not so visible, nor are they easily or quickly healed, and can perpetuate unemployment.

What are these veterans thinking at that point? What are their perceptions of self-worth and value when life continues to say “no” and place obstacles in the way? While there are indeed those many programs and services for veterans, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph provides for the veteran who would not otherwise be able to receive help. This can happen in a few ways:

Option 1: Coordinated case management Many veterans don’t know what is available to them and end up going through a series of referrals, thereby delaying the process of getting the help they need. This can be frustrating and may exacerbate whatever housing, employment, or other problem they might be facing. Our case managers are able to work with clients and other agencies to find veterans the right service at the right time, without having to jump through all the hoops. After a Catholic Charities case manager is able to guide veteran clients to the right place, clients are able to get the compensation and the medical or emotional support they need.

Option 2: SOAR Representative Catholic Charities is privileged to have a SOAR representative on site, making us one of only two organizations in the area. special rep. SOAR Representatives are qualified individuals who work with clients and accelerate the process of applying for Social Security to supplement their income. Our goal is to help clients accurately and timely complete applications, while also developing in-depth reports of medical information necessary to providing for the veteran with disability.

Option 3: Veteran-service organizations Many veterans with disabilities are currently employed by both public and private organizations, especially organizations providing services to other veterans. Some have started their own companies or non-profit agencies designed to help veterans suffering from physical or mental trauma. These examples of gainful employment serve as an inspiration to others as contributing members of society, and in turn empowers them to seek similar employment.

As a veteran with 40% physical disabilities, I have been very fortunate in finding work after my military service. It’s a blessing to be the “Veterans Workforce Specialist” at Catholic Charities. My employment work with veterans assesses their employment needs while filling in any gaps with training and job leads. While challenging, these jobs are meaningful and rewarding. It’s a great gift to help our veteran brothers and sisters.

For more information on our Veteran Services, contact James Madril at .


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