US Veteran Disability Costs More Than Doubled Since 2000

(USA Today)
January 28, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC– [Excerpt provided by Inclusion Daily Express] What the nation owes each year to veterans who are disabled during service has more than doubled since 2000, rising from $14.8 billion to $39.4 billion in 2011, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where troops served repeatedly in combat zones, is a key contributor to escalating costs of individual disability payouts, says Allison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits.

“I would point first and foremost to multiple deployments,” says Hickey, a retired Air Force brigadier general. “I would call it unprecedented demand.”

The 3.4 million men and women disabled during their service — some of them having served in World War II — are about 15% of the nation’s 22.2 million veterans.

The disabled veteran population has increased 45% since 2000 and may grow sharply with a new generation who seek compensation for more ailments and are savvier than their elders about their VA rights, say Hickey and veterans advocates.

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Veteran disability costs more than doubled since 2000