DC - AP IMPACT: Almost half of new vets seek disability

Discussion in 'Up to the Minute' started by Reader, May 27, 2012.

  1. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen.

    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.

    It's unclear how much worse off these new veterans are than their predecessors. Many factors are driving the dramatic increase in claims — the weak economy, more troops surviving wounds, and more awareness of problems such as concussions and PTSD. Almost one-third have been granted disability so far.

    The new veterans have different types of injuries than previous veterans did. That's partly because improvised bombs have been the main weapon and because body armor and improved battlefield care allowed many of them to survive wounds that in past wars proved fatal.

    "They're being kept alive at unprecedented rates," said Dr. David Cifu, the VA's medical rehabilitation chief. More than 95 percent of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan have survived.

    Much more at long article....

  2. Quiche

    Quiche Well-Known Member

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    Imo, they didn't get the kind of care, support, and treatment that our armed forces received in other eras, like real armor, for instance. :doh:

    Plus, they did too many tours, way too many. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOO :moo:
  3. Melly53

    Melly53 Member

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    It is partially because of their improved armor that so many more have survived the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than in past wars, so I am confused by your comment.

    Personally I am having a harder time understanding why sexual harassment one may have suffered while in the military, is suddenly a lifelong disability. I say that as someone who has been the target of sexual harassment in more than one civilian job yet I don't consider myself scared for life by it. I am quite certain that if I applied for Social Security Disability using "sexual harassment" as the reason for my "permanent" disability that I would be denied.

    Am I the only one that is left wondering how our fathers, uncles, and cousins that fought in World War II, the Korean War or Vietnam war and survived, were still able to live normal productive lives afterwards, without all of the multiple disabilities claimed by the soldiers of today?
  4. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    Not all have survived so well. Many veterans are homeless also:


    Approximately 1/3 of homeless adults (one out of every three) in this country
    are veterans, yet veterans represent only 11% of the civilian population. On
    any given night 107,000 - 300,000 veterans are homeless. Based on various
    estimates, 500,000 - 840,000 veterans are homeless at some time during the
    year. It has been estimated that Iraq & Afghanistan veterans represent 1.8%
    of the homeless veteran population. In 2008, 44% of those surveyed reported
    being homeless for the first time. This number was 37% in 2007. According
    to the Department of Veterans Affairs the number of homeless Vietnam era
    veterans exceeds the number of fatalities that occurred during the war.

    Recent studies revealed that almost one-half of all homeless veterans were
    located in Florida, California, Texas & New York, while only 28% of all
    veterans were located in those same states. According to some studies,
    Florida ranks third in the nation in the number of homeless people, yet
    has one of the highest numbers of homeless veterans. The Florida
    Dept. of Children & Families has estimated that 17.3-18.4% of
    Florida's homeless are veterans. In 2008, the number of homeless
    veterans in Florida on any given night was ~ 19,000 .

    Homeless Veterans

    •Males account for 97-98% of the homeless veteran population
    •56% are African American or Hispanic
    •76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems (inc PTSD)
    •45% suffer from mental illness
    •50% have substance abuse problems
    •More than 67% served our country for at least three years
    •33% were stationed in a war zone
    •47% of homeless veterans served during the Vietnam Era
    •17% served after the Vietnam era
    •15% served before Vietnam
    •An increasing percentage served in the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan

    These numbers may not accurately reflect the impact of OIF/OEF and/or OIF/OEF stats. Many of our homeless veterans served in WW II, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War, Grenada, Panama, Lebanon, Operation Iraqi Freedom,
    Operation Enduring Freedom, Desert Storm & the military's anti-drug
    cultivation efforts in South America..........

    The effects of PTSD, including addiction, interpersonal problems & job loss,
    were also associated with homelessness. The effects of combat exposure do
    not disappear as the years go by. Recent studies reveal that 10% of Vietnam
    veterans still suffer from severe PTSD symptoms & that their combat exposure
    continues to place them at risk for negative social & psychological consequences.
  5. Reader

    Reader New Member

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    About the armor, I remember that being a real problem when they first went into Iraq and it was a couple of years IIRC before they got the improved armor for the soldiers.

    Regarding the sexual harassment claims, the article says that:
    Some female veterans are claiming PTSD due to military sexual trauma — a new challenge from a disability rating standpoint, Hickey said.

    It does not say whether these claims are approved as such or to what degree, it may be only a certain percentage of disability, not 100%. The difference is their harassment was ignored and covered up by the service for a long time until it was exposed, and they could not leave their job in a war zone as a civilian could and often continued to be supervised by the one who was abusing them. If it is proved this caused the veteran PTSD I think they deserve it.
  6. TrackerSam

    TrackerSam New Member

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    I think the disability claims are due more to a lack of jobs than injuries.
  7. impatientredhead

    impatientredhead New Member

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    I think people are more aware of the issues they come home with.
    It is more socially accepted to seek compensation.
    Previous generations in large part saw those labels as negatives.
    Then add the higher survival rates bringing home disabled vets rather than deceased ones.
    And a horrible economy which would add to the depression rates as well as make the financial compensation more needed than ever.
  8. otto

    otto Verified Expert

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    I have to wonder what makes this group different from, say, European WW2 veterans that fought non-stop in a war for 6 years? During WW2, there were no "tours" where soldiers could take a break from the war ...the war was all around them and there was no escape. Children were raised with bombs falling around their heads ... they don't seem to be requesting any compensation for the trauma even though it's evident that entire nations would have been traumatized at the time. What is different about today's soldiers that they cannot cope after tours in a war zone?
  9. Jacie Estes

    Jacie Estes Medical Marijuana Advocate

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    I believe that battlefield medical technology has to be factored into the equation. Soldiers are getting better medical care and they are getting it faster. IEDs can be devastating; there are multiple injuries and loss of limbs. Considering the problems with VA hospitals over the last decade, with some being closed, this has to be factored in, as well.

    When soldiers returned from WW2, there were options like Levittown for housing and other support services. Now we have homeless veterans.

    Though still only a very small percentage
    of troops on the ground, and fewer than that
    seen during the ITO surge in 2007, the
    ATO experienced a significant relative rise
    in overall BI. Among these casualties,
    some were due to ground-emplaced IED
    blasts on dismounted patrols. Through the
    summer and fall of 2010, peaking in October,
    the JTTS identified a new trend of devastating
    injuries characterized primarily
    by high lower extremity amputations, pelvic
    and genital injuries, and spine injuries.
    While absolute numbers are low, the rates
    of these injuries in the last half of 2010
    demonstrated a continuous rise.

    http://www.armymedicine.army.mil/reports/DCBI Task Force Report (Redacted Final).pdf
  10. TerriM

    TerriM New Member

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    Just recently we in Chicago had Poppy day, where Veterans stand on corners seeking donations for disabled Veterans and the VA hospitals. Why an 80s yr old man has to seek donations for those disabled fighting for this country ie beyond me. We don't care for our Vets like we should. Many came home from Vietnam looking fine but were wounded in their minds. My best friends dad came home but was never the same. He was an alcoholic who never spoke about what he went through but had the scars of Agent orange. There was no mental health help for these men who went to Vietnam as boys but came home men who had seen and done too much. We need to learn from past mistakes before we have a whole new generation of homeless or alcoholic Veterans.
  11. ANonyMs

    ANonyMs Active Member

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    Great points.

    I realize that I am posting on a very old thread but I am concerned that someone may come here seeking information and rely on what is posted here.

    There have been significant advances in the understanding of PTSD & TBI. We know far more now that we did even 5 years ago, let alone 50 years ago.

    We know more about the impact of deployments and separation on mental health, families, divorce rates, domestic violence and the emotional and mental development of children of military service members.

    War itself, the very nature of combat, is a completely different experience than it was then.

    A lot of veterans who are home now and need assistance would never have made it off the battle field back then.

    And frankly, WE add to this issue. Social media, the Internet, the constant, unedited, uncensored reporting from the front lines brings a level of awareness to our civilian population that just wasn't present 50 - 100 years ago.

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