Nearly Half of New Vets Seek DisabilityAmerica's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.
A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press.
AP reporter Marilyn Machione filed a story May 27th with some startling figures. Nearly half of new veterans are seeking disability.
- Over 4,500 military personnel have died in the conflicts since September 9, 2001.
- Forty-five percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are seeking compensation for service-related injuries. This is more than double the percentage who filed for such claims after the Gulf War of the 1990s.
- Veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average. Claims over the past year have averaged 11 to 14 ailments per claimant. (Vietnam veterans averaged four ailments, and Korean and World War II veterans averaged two ailments).
- The economy is weak. Veterans who can’t find work or who have lost jobs appear more likely to apply for disability status
- More military personnel are surviving wounds than ever before. Ninety-five percent of wounds are not fatal in the current military environment.
- Concussions and post-traumatic-stress-syndrome (PTSD) are better understood than before
- Nearly one-third of claimants have been granted disability so far. There is no special fund set aside for these payments. Outside experts have calculated that over the lifetime of these veterans, the claims may reach $800 or even $900 billion.
- Many claims are backlogged.