A cost of war: Soaring disability benefits for veterans, while the cost of civilian veterans disabilities is kept in the dark
Posted by defensebaseactcomp on April 27, 2012
After more than a decade of continuous warfare, the cost of disability compensation for wounded veterans is surging to mammoth proportions.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects to spend $57 billion on disability benefits next year. That’s up 25% from $46 billion this year, and nearly quadruple the $15 billion spent in 2000, before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
“This is the cost of going to war,” said Larry Korb, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who served as assistant secretary of defense during the Ronald Reagan administration. “We’ve made so much progress in medicine [that] you’re going to have a lot of people survive their injuries who didn’t in the past.”
About 4,500 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq and about 1,800 have been killed in Afghanistan. Some 633,000 veterans — one out of every four of the 2.3 million who served in Iraq and Afghanistan — have a service-connected disability, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.