Increasing Veteran Disability Costs Since 2000

What the nation owes each year to veterans who are disabled during service has more than doubled since 2000, increasing veteran disability costs from $14.8 billion to $39.4 billion in 2011, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. The toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where troops served repeatedly in combat zones, is a key contributor to escalating costs of individual disability payouts, says Alison Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits, who added, “I would call it unprecedented demand. The number and complexity of disability claims has added to a backlog of pending cases, where 70% have been waiting longer than four months for the VA.”


  • Types of VA Disability Claims
    In addition to more commonly known physical injuries (including traumatic brain injuries) and mental disabilities (including PTSD), there are many types of veterans disability claims.
  • Types of Veterans Disability Compensation
    Disability compensation is a monthly payment made to veterans who were injured during their time of service. Not all forms of veterans disability compensation come in monetary payments.
  • Veterans Disability Compensation Ratings
    Disability ratings are the VA’s way of measuring the potential that any given impairment has to decrease your ability to earn a living.
  • Total Disability Due to Individual Unemployment (TDIU)
    A veteran who can’t work due to service connected disabilities may be entitled to Total Disability due to Individual Unemployability (TDIU). This benefit is commonly referred to simply as unemployability.

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