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VA Disability By The Numbers

A recent Wall Street Journal Memorial Day piece urged readers to not only honor those who died while serving their country, but also celebrate those who lived.

Sadly, a large number of those who survived have done so with service-related disabilities. A full 28 percent of post 9/11 vets have a service-connected impairment that prevents them from working after they return.

The percentage of deployed soldiers and sailors who died in Iraq, Afghanistan is far less than during the Vietnam or Korean eras. The percentage who died in Vietnam was 1.7 percent; during Korea the number was 2 percent. Compare these percentages with Iraq and Afghanistan: .3 percent died in the two war theatres.

What this means is that soldiers who would have died during previous wars have lived to return home, thanks to greatly improved battlefield medicine.

However, more than a quarter of vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have disabilities. The average number of disabilities per vet is 8.5, which is nearly twice that of veterans of earlier wars.

This growth in the number of disabled vets, the number of disabilities and the expansion of benefits to cover previously uncovered disabilities, has resulted in a significant backlog in claims for veterans disability benefits, one that this blog and many other sources have discussed. There are more than 800,000 pending claims for VA disability benefits.

If you are a veteran with a service-connected disability and are having problems with your claim for VA benefits, do what so many other vets have done: Call The Rep for Vets from anywhere in the United States. Learn how our VA-accredited claims agents can help.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Number of the Week: More Veterans Survive, but With More Injuries," May 25, 2013.

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