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Facts About Veterans ~ The Needs And The Solutions

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Facts about Veterans ~ The Needs and The Solutions


There are approximately 26 million veterans in the United States (US Census Data, 2000).

The number of veterans using the VA system has risen from 2.9 million in 1995 to 5 million in 2003 (USDVA).

In 2005 and 2006, congress uncovered a $2.6 billion shortfall for meeting the growing healthcare needs of US Veterans. The VA's patient to doctor ratio has grown from 335 to 1, to 531 to 1, between 2000 and September 2004.

The Backlog of Claims at the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims was at 5,800 at the end of the last fiscal year. This is double the number of two years ago, and could hit 10,000 within the next 5 years (“Veterans' Battle for Benefits Can Take Years,” Lakeland, FL Ledger, August 13, 2006, Cory Weiss).

According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics 225,000 Veterans were incarcerated as of 1998.

Substance abuse rates are higher among veterans than their non-veterans counterparts.

A recent study of inpatients at VA facilities indicates that nearly 85% have annual incomes of less than $15,000.

According to the USDVA, more than 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and more than 500,000 will experience homelessness over the course of a year.

Of all homeless veterans, 76% suffer from drug, alcohol, or mental health problems (National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients, 1999).

One in three homeless men in America is a veteran (NSHAPC, 1999).

There are more than 33,000 Homeless Veterans in the Los Angeles Metro Region on any given night (Weingart Center Study, 2004).

According to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans, by June 2005, the number of OIF and OEF veterans seeking assistance from community-based homeless services providers had already exceeded 400.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder remains an ongoing challenge for veterans of all eras, and their families. The images from the current war are causing many older veterans (WWII, Korea , Vietnam ) to experience recurring PTSD symptoms from their own combat experiences.

The Mental Strain of War: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD

The National Center for PTSD estimates that one of every 20 WW II veterans has suffered symptoms such as bad dreams, irritability, and flashbacks.

A Korean Researcher has claimed that as many as 30% of US Troops who fought in Korea and are still alive today may have symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Jack Epstein, San Francisco Chronicle, “US Wars and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,” 6/22/05).

The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (1986-1988) found that more than 30% of Vietnam Veterans (more than 1 million) have suffered from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Distorder (PTSD).

The VA Reports that in 2005, only 215,871 Veterans received disability payments for PTSD. However statistics suggest that due to the stigmas and barriers associated with getting help, these numbers likely represent only a small fraction of the total number of vets with PTSD.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) has reported that the VA does not know how many vets are currently being treated for PTSD. As a result, the VA is can not determine whether the services are adequate, or whether it will be able to handle the new influx of vets with PTSD.

Inflation adjusted spending for VA mental health services has declined by 25 percent over the past seven years, and numerous experts have expressed concern about the system's capabilities to care for the full spectrum of readjustment needs (including mental health) of the newest generation of U.S. veterans.

As a result, the VA depends increasingly on non-profit, veteran community organizations to care for the large population of veterans who need treatment.

Iraq and Afghanistan

As of January of 2007, more than 1.6 million U.S. Servicemen and women had serviced in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In October of 2005, the VA reported that more than 430,000 U.S. Soldiers have discharged from the military following service in Afghanistan and Iraq . More than 119,000 have sought help for medical or mental health issues from the VA to date.

In January of 2006 the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 35% of Iraq Veterans have already sought help for mental health concerns. A 2003 New England Journal of Medicine Study found that more than 60% of OIF/OEF veterans showing symptoms of PTSD were unlikely to seek help due to fears of stigmatization or loss of career advancement opportunities.

In 2005, the VA reported that 18% of Afghanistan Veterans, and 20% of Iraq Veterans in their care were suffering from some type of service connected psychological disorder.

The VA has seen a tenfold increase in PTSD cases in the last year. According to the VA, more than 37,000 Vets of Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from Mental Health disorders, and more than 16,000 have already been diagnosed with PTSD.

According to an Army Post-Deployment Reassessment Study completed in July of 2005, alcohol misuse among soldiers rose from 13% among soldiers to 21% one year after returning from Afghanistan and Iraq . The same study saw soldiers with anger and aggression issues increase from 11% to 22% after deployment, and those planning to divorce their spouse rose from 9% to 15% after combat deployment.

In November of 2005, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that for the first three quarters of 2005, nearly 15 percent of veterans aged 20-24 were jobless -- three times the national average.

According to the Pentagon, as of August 2005, more than 141,000 Guardsman and Reservists have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Currently, these forces make up more than 35% of all U.S. forces in Iraq—the largest deployment of citizen soldiers since WWII.

When not on active duty, more than 20% of Guardsman lack healthcare, many more are unaware of what benefits they have access to, and many are suffering financial strain both during and after deployment.

A 2004 US Army Mental Health Advisory Team Study showed that more than half of all soldiers in Iraq described their unit morale as low, with the National Guard and Reserve forces struggling the most.

According to the California National Guard, more than 7,000 California National Guard Troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan , yet these forces have significantly fewer resources available to aid in their post combat readjustment than active duty components.

According to the Pentagon, the Policy of “Stop Loss,” where troops scheduled to be discharged from the military following completion of their duty commitment are retained in the service if their unit is scheduled for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan has affected 40,000 soldiers as of March 2005.

According to the Army, since March 2003, at least 45 US Soldiers and 9 Marines have committed suicide in Iraq . At least 20 soldiers and 23 Marines have committed suicide since returning home, though exact numbers are not available.

Preliminary research by the DOD and USDVA’s Brain Injury center shows that about 10% of all troops in Iraq, and up to 20% of front line infantry troops, suffer concussions during combat tours due to the use of IEDs and other explosives. Many experience headaches, disturbed sleep, memory loss and behavior issues after coming home—a condition known as TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) which is often confused with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The Military has reported 1200 such injuries in the current war as of March 2006.

The Miles Foundation reports that calls to their Domestic Violence Hotline for Military Spouses has increased from 50 to 500 per month since the start of the Iraq War.

According to U.S. Army data, the number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq . The trend is severest among officers. Last year, 3,325 Army officers' marriages ended in divorce -- up

78% from 2003, the year of the Iraq invasion, and more than 3 1/2 times the number in 2000, before the Afghan operation. For enlisted personnel, the 7,152 divorces last year were 28% more than in 2003 and up 53% from 2000 (USA Today, June 8, 2005).

Gulf War I: Desert Shield and Desert Storm

An estimated 697,000 veterans served in the Gulf War I (Desert Shield and Desert Storm).

292 U.S. Servicemen and Women were killed in battle/non battle related action during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

Raw data from the VA suggests that more than 11,000 Gulf War Veterans have now died from various ailments and injuries . Over 256,000 have filed claims of service-related ailments, ranging from dizzy spells, chronic fatigue, and memory lapses, to cancer, Lou Gehrig's disease, Multiple Sclerosis and other degenerative illnesses. (“” First Gulf War Still Claims Lives,” Seattle Post Intelligencer, Mike Barber, 1/16/06)

For over a decade, many of their claims were met with the same confusion and resistance encountered by those who first filed claims for the mysterious symptoms associated with Agent Orange exposure.


An estimated 3.4 million veterans served in Vietnam.

Many sources estimate that between 75,000 and 110,000 have committed suicide since the end of that war.

According to the National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (1986-1988), almost half of all male Vietnam Veterans

suffering from PTSD had been arrested at least once, 34.2% more than once, and 11.5% had been convicted of a felony.

Agent Orange exposure still haunts the lives of thousands of these veterans, their children, and their grandchildren.

Of all Homeless Veterans, 47% are Vietnam veterans (NSHAPC, 1999).

The Solution:

Since 1987, the NVF has operated the only toll-free, live crisis management and information and referral hotline for ALL veterans and their families.

The NVF's National Crisis Management, Information, and Referral Lifeline has received more than 275,000 calls to date, and more than 15,000 calls from veterans and family members during the past year (an increased of more than 30% from the previous year).

SOURCE: http://www.nvf.org/facts.html

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Thanks Allan some sobering statistics. Looks like a lot of Vets are not getting what they earned.

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