MILITARY MEDICINE, 172, 5:461, 2007
Receipt of public support payments is associated with beneficial outcomes for homeless people with mental illness. The purpose of this study was to identify factors associated with receipt of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pension and compensation benefits among homeless veterans after their initial contact with the VA national homeless outreach program. We examined data for 5,731 veterans who were contacted by the program during the first 3 months of fiscal year 2003 and who were not receiving VA benefits, and we documented their benefit status over a minimum of 18 months. A limited number of veterans (15%) were subsequently awarded benefits; they were more likely to have reported recent use of VA services and a greater number of medical and psychiatric problems at the time of outreach. Findings suggest that VA benefit outreach efforts may gain from increased focus on those most vulnerable and most on the outskirts of the VA system.