EUGENE, Ore. — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says the number of veterans filing for disability has grown tremendously.
The VA says America’s newest veterans are filing at an historic rate.
The VA reported 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq an Afghanistan are seeking compensation for service-related injuries.
That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent following the Gulf War in the early 1990s.
The new group is also claiming eight to nine ailments on average compared to less than four from Vietnam, World War II and Korean War vets.
It’s unclear how much worse off these new vets are, but older vets say there are also more resources available than ever before.
“It seems that in recent years the government has finally woke up enough to give the veterans the support that they really need,” said veteran Jess Wise.
Almost one-third have been granted disability so far.
Many other factors may be contributing to the increase, including the economy, medical improvements and more troops surviving their wounds.
Of those who sought VA care, many were physically impaired. But a growing awareness of invisible wounds was also listed as a contributing factor to the growth in claims.
More than 400,000 new veterans have been treated for a mental health problem, most commonly post-traumatic stress disorder.