According to a recent report by the United States Census Bureau, veterans who fought in wars after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 suffer a much higher rate of disability than those from previous wars. They also have a significantly higher chance of having severe disabilities compared to earlier generations of veterans. Together, this points to veterans of recent wars needing much more in disability services compared to those of earlier wars.
Looking at the Statistics
According to the census report, about eighteen million people, or approximately seven percent of the adult United States population, are veterans. Of these, the largest group represented are veterans of the Vietnam War, who have a median age of 71. Compare this to veterans of the more recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars from post-2001, who have a median age of 37. Behind both groups are veterans from World War II, who have a median age of 93.
Generational Differences Between Veterans
Despite being younger, the most recent generation of veterans is also the generation that is most likely to suffer from service-related disabilities. According to the census report, about 43% of these veterans suffer from some type of service-related disability, which is a dramatic increase compared to previous generations. They are also more likely to have a disability rating of 70% or higher, with 39% of veterans suffering a severe level of impairment from their service-related disabilities.
Why is Disability Such a Big Issue for Veterans of Recent Wars?
There are a few possible explanations for why more veterans are returning home with service-related disabilities. One possible explanation may, in fact, have to do with advances in medicine: many wounds that would have been fatal during World War II or the Vietnam War are now survivable. However, those wounds can still leave people with long-term medical problems that make veterans eligible for disability benefits.
Another possibility has to do with greater diagnostic tools, as well as awareness of traumatic brain injuries (also known as TBIs) and psychological disorders. Whereas these psychological and neurological problems would often have gone undiagnosed and untreated in previous generations, veterans are now more likely to be diagnosed and treated for TBIs, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other similar conditions. With the ability to get a proper diagnosis and treatment for their conditions, it is substantially easier for them to obtain disability benefits.
The attorneys of Sullivan & Kehoe place a special focus on assisting disabled veterans. Our veterans’ disability lawyers are still available for remote consultation on your legal issues. Call our office at (800) 395-7830 to schedule a consultation in our New York City, Garden City, Kings Park, Riverhead, or White Plains office, or visit our contact page.