Medical and technological advances mean that soldiers who once would have died in combat are now surviving, but with very serious physical and emotional problems for which they need – and deserve – assistance. But the statistics in this story are really stunning about the number of vets claiming disability benefits.
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.
What’s more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.
The story goes on to include questions about why the numbers are so high. One reason, among several, is this:
Government officials and some veterans’ advocates say that veterans who might have been able to work with certain disabilities may be more inclined to seek benefits now because they lost jobs or can’t find any.