WASHINGTON (Dec. 3, 2009) – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched a national survey of Veterans, active duty service members, activated National Guard and reserve members, and family members and survivors to learn if they are aware of VA services.

    “By hearing directly from Veterans and their family members, we gain valuable information to help us serve them better.  We hope those who receive the survey will respond to it,” Secretary Shinseki said. 

    In addition to assessing awareness levels, the National Survey of Veterans will collect important health care, benefits, employment, and demographic information 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 anyone in the household is a member of one of the identified survey groups – Veterans, family members and survivors, active duty, Guard or Reserve members.  Eligible survey participants then may be requested 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 in its efforts to design and conduct outreach to Veterans.  In addition, it will provide a clearer picture of the Veteran population’s characteristics to 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.