Nearly half of all the veterans from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, some 1.6 million, have applied for some form of disability benefit from the Department of Veterans Affairs according to an Associated Press study.
That’s more than double the estimated claims made by Veterans of the Gulf War.
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.
Other Veterans’ numbers from the AP review of VA records and interviews with doctors and troops:
- 28 percent of those filing are from the National Guard and Reserves, up from previous wars because the Guard and Reserves had a bigger role in these wars
- 12 percent of those filing are women because more women are involved in the wars
- 1,600 have lost a limb
- 156 are blind while thousands of others have impaired vision
- 177,000 have hearing loss,and more than 350,000 ringing in the ears
More importantly, the AP reports that no money has been put aside to pay for care of the Veterans – the cost of which is expected to grow over the next 30 to 40 years.