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Military Veterans Claiming Disability in Record Numbers

Disability rates among America's veterans are at an all-time high, thanks to improved survival rates, a weaker economy and improved awareness of a wider range of problems afflicting the veterans.

According to reports, about 45 percent of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have filed service-related disability claims. This figure represents more than double the amount filed following the Gulf War of the early 1990s.

The modern soldier is more frequently coming from the National Guard and Reserve, rather than career military, and returning from duty with more injuries. On average, each injured veteran is claiming about nine ailments, compared to the fewer than four sought by Vietnam veterans and two by those enlisted in the Korean War and World War II.

Experts point to a survival rate of 95 percent for troops injured in Iraq and Afghanistan as a possible product of the large quantities of disability claims. A tough economy and inclusion of concussions and post traumatic stress disorder as ailments (as such problems are better understood and diagnosed) are other contributing factors.

The Department of Veterans Affairs pays from $127 each month for a 10 percent disability to $2,769 for a full one. But the VA is backlogged; the average wait to get a new disability claim processed is about eight months, and that wait continues to lengthen. The VA is still addressing claims of Vietnam veterans, especially for those exposed to Agent Orange. To avoid potentially sitting at home without any income for many months, injured soldiers and their families can also consider pursuing Social Security disability benefits.

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security can speed up the process by which veterans receive disability benefits. Those injured - many of whom call the Midwest home - can apply for SSD benefits if the following requirements are met:

  • They have medical conditions lasting or expected to last at a minimum of one year or result in death
  • They cannot perform significant work due to their medical conditions

Injured veterans can apply for disability benefits at any point while maintaining military status or after discharge.

Source: The Star Tribune, "Nearly half of new U.S. vets claim disability," Marilynn Marchione, May 27, 2012

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Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448
Toll Free: 888-351-0427
Fax:763-862-7521
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