Who They Are
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a huge toll on more than 2.5 M men and women who served our country in the U.S. Armed Services
- More than 6500 have died
- More than 15,000 suffer injuries that prevented them from returning to active duty in the regular services, National Guard and Reserves.
- More than 400,000 will experience significant mental health problems.
Their families face big challenges
- Reintegration of combat veterans into family life
- Transition of veteran to less structured civilian life
- Major physical and mental health problems impact all family members
- Household financial health suffers during the long wait for merited disability compensation
- Veterans wait on average more than 300 days for their disability compensation to start - and in many cities, 400 to 500 days - once a claim has been accepted by the VA. Appeal a claim and the veteran gets back in line.
- While service-connected disability compensation is generally modest it is critical. For example, a veteran with a spouse, a single child and a 60% disability rating receives only $1129 a month, and each additional child adds only $81 a month.
- Veterans with severe health problems rarely find steady, well paying work. And a poor U.S. economy lessens their chances.
- Families resort to credit cards and payday loans to fund basic living expenses and then bear financial penalties and high interest rates on ever-expanding unpaid balances.
- Stressful for any American family, financial instability commonly intensifies the anxiety, aggression and depression and isolation of disabled veterans
- Family relationships weaken or dissolve - divorce and homelessness are common.
- Injured soldiers fail to take full advantage of available medical care. They stop seeking help and "drop-out" of treatment programs.
- Poor decisions worsen financial situations and dig families deeper into debt.
Long wait for disability compensation
View the current claims backlog and trends at each of the Veterans Administration's 54 processing offices.