The Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs (Watson) at Brown University keeps track of the costs of war. One of their responsibilities includes taking an accounting of the number of United States service members who die on the battlefield. The school also tracks the number of veterans who file post-combat disability claims. Watson keeps an accounting of the reasons why soldiers request such benefits as well.
Watson’s data shows that there had already been 6,809 casualties and 52,010 left wounded as a result of the United States’ involvement in wartime activities in Afghanistan and Iraq as of the end of March 2014. That same data revealed that over 970,000 Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans had filed disability claims with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by the end of that same period.
There are some common reasons as to why veterans filed these disability claims. Many of the soldier-applicants did so after suffering shrapnel wounds or broken bones, losing their limbs or experiencing paralysis or nerve damage. Other veterans filed claims after being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a spinal cord or brain injury, losing their hearing or sight or becoming paralyzed. Many soldiers who requested disability benefits also had second or third-degree burns.
While these statistics capture how many soldiers have been hurt on the battlefield, there are plenty of veterans who experience health declines that aren’t recorded in these numbers when they return home. It’s not uncommon for soldiers to experience neurological, cardiac or respiratory disease from being exposed to toxic dust and other harmful substances while deployed abroad. Mental health concerns are often commonplace as well.
If there’s one thing that you should know, it’s that you don’t have to suffer alone. You may qualify for both VA disability benefits as well as Social Security Disability (SSD) if you’ve served this country during wartime. An attorney in Mobile can advise you of your right to one or both of these benefits in your Alabama case.