Half Of New Vets Seek Disability, Obama Vows To Protect All Veterans' Benefits

Veterans returning from war are seeking disability at high rates as President Obama vows to protect their benefits in Memorial Day speeches.

The Associated Press: Almost Half Of New Vets Seek Disability
America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate, claiming to be the most medically and mentally troubled generation of former troops the nation has ever seen. A staggering 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. That is more than double the estimate of 21 percent who filed such claims after the Gulf War in the early 1990s, top government officials told The Associated Press (Marchione, 5/27).

The Associated Press/ABC News: Obama Vows To Protect Benefits For Veterans
President Barack Obama honored the nation's military heroes in a pair of Memorial Day ceremonies, vowing to protect the benefits earned by veterans and their families in an election year marked by the nation's transition from war. … Obama said the nation must remain committed to providing for the families of fallen soldiers and help returning service members seeking jobs, higher education or health care benefits (Thomas, 5/29).

In the meantime, Sen. Patty Murray sounds off on vets issues --

The Hill: Sen. Murray: Lawmakers 'Weren't Prepared' To Deal With Veterans' Issues 
Sen. Patty Murray, (D-Wash), chairwoman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs committee, on Sunday said lawmakers needed to better address the long-term funding needs of Iraq and Afghan war veterans over the coming decades. ... But the Washington state senator said veterans' benefits would not be threatened by automatic spending cuts set in motion by last August’s debt-ceiling deal and set to take effect early next year (Mali, 5/27).

And the GAO outlines potential problems with a dialysis pilot program slated to begin in the VA --

Modern Healthcare: GAO Cites Risks To Goals Of VA Dialysis Pilot
The Veterans Affairs Department has not shown how it will achieve the goals of a dialysis pilot program it began to develop three years ago, nor has it created clear measures to evaluate its performance, a new federal report found. In 2009, the VA started its Dialysis Pilot, which will establish four VA-operated outpatient clinics near VA medical centers by the end of this year (Zigmond, 5/28).

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