More Young US Vets Seek Disability - NBC 7 San Diego

More Young US Vets Seek Disability

A record high military veterans are filing for disability benefits



    More Young US Vets Seek Disability

    The newer generation of veterans are applying for disability benefits in historic numbers.

    Almost 50-percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are seeking claims.

    That is more than double the rate of those who filed for benefits after the Gulf War in the 90s.

    Experts say the changes in contemporary medicine mean more troops are surviving service-related injuries.

    However, the cost of caring for this new generation of disabled vets is not cheap.

    "We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg here, once these wars are over, this is going to keep going on for decades and decades. Sometimes it takes a decade or so for some of them to realize they do have a problem, you know why are they drinking more, why their marriage fell apart," said Bob McElroy, President of the Alpha Project in San Diego.

    Disabled veterans suffer from both physical and mental disabilities, including arm and leg amputations, hearing loss and impaired vision.

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has treated more than 400,000 new veterans for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

    The VA has a backlog of new claims, but it still has to answer more than 560,000 veterans who have claimed benefits in the past four months.