Abstract Public support payments may facilitate exit from homelessness for
persons with mental illness. We examined data from 10,641 homeless veterans
contacted from October 1, 1995 to September 30, 2002 in a collaborative outreach
program designed to facilitate access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
disability beneﬁts. Those who were awarded beneﬁts (22% of contacted veterans)
were more likely to report disability, poor to fair self-rated health, and were more
likely to have used VA services in the past. Thus, this program achieved only modest
success and was most successful with veterans who were already receiving VA ser-
vices and who might have received beneﬁts even without the outreach effort.
Keywords Disability beneﬁts Æ Outreach Æ Homeless
During the 1980s, homelessness among persons with mental illness emerged as a
serious problem, as more than half of all homeless Americans were found to suffer
from psychiatric or substance abuse disorders . A number of studies have shown
that a major difference between homeless persons with mental illness and non-
homeless persons with mental illness is their access to public support payments [2, 3].
One longitudinal study of homeless mentally ill veterans showed that increased
public support payments are signiﬁcantly associated with exiting homelessness, but
not with increased alcohol or drug use .
There have been few studies, however, of outcomes associated with coordinated
interagency beneﬁts outreach, in which agencies responsible for administering public
support programs join with clinicians to reach out to underserved homeless persons
in the community to provide them with beneﬁts to which they are entitled. In 1992,
J. H. Chen, B.S. Æ R. A. Rosenheck, M.D. Æ G. A. Greenberg, Ph.D. (&) Æ
C. Seibyl, M.S.N., M.P.H.
Northeast Program Evaluation Center, VA Connecticut Healthcare System, N.E.P.E.C./182,
950 Campbell Ave., West Haven, CT 06516, USA
J. H. Chen, B.S. Æ R. A. Rosenheck, M.D. Æ G. A. Greenberg, Ph.D.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA
Psychiatr Q (2007) 78:63–72
Factors Associated with Receipt of Pension
and Compensation Beneﬁts for Homeless Veterans
in the VBA/VHA Homeless Outreach Initiative
Joyce H. Chen, B.S. Æ Robert A. Rosenheck, M.D. Æ
Greg A. Greenberg, Ph.D. Æ Catherine Seibyl, M.S.N., M.P.H.
Published online: 11 November 2006
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006