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PTSD Among Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Skyrockets

VA Reveals Quarter Million PTSD Patients From Current Wars

Here’s vital information deserving widespread local and national news coverage.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) quietly released a new report in the past few days showing 834,463 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were diagnosed and treated at VA hospitals and clinics since 9/11.  Among those patients, 247,243 or 30 percent, are diagnosed by VA mental health professionals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

There’s a reason why the number of PTSD patients treated by VA continues rising sharply.  TIME magazine reports the sharp rise in PTSD is due to multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan over more than 11 years, where the risk of deadly mortars and road side bombs remain a daily threat.

Is VA Processing Claims Any Faster?

When compared with ten years ago, VA now approves nearly twice as many disability claims per year.  The number of new claims by recent veterans is staggering: nearly half of returning veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq have filed disability claims.  In 2010, VA processed more than 1 million claims. However, the same year, VA received 1.2 million claims, adding 200,000 to VA’s growing inventory of pending claims.

Number Receiving VA Disability Compensation Soars

Even as the U.S. veteran population declines as the World War II and Korean War veteran die, the number of veterans receiving VA disability has skyrocketed, from 2.5 million to 3.2 million.

 

The dollar amount paid monthly by VA increased even more: in 2003, monthly disability payments by VA were $1.6 billion. By 2011, those monthly benefits ballooned to $3.3 billion.

 

 

VA Still Has a Long Way to Go

VA still has a long way to go to improve its claims handling in order to bring the delays, backlogs and mistakes down. But a review of the data indicates that while there is still work to do, VA has actually improved over the last decade by processing more claims resulting in more benefits and free healthcare for our veterans.

Over the next weeks, Bergmann & Moore will examine some of the steps VA is taking to speed up claims processing, including new computer systems, fully developed claims and other new initiatives. Our goal will be to examine both the good and the bad of these new systems. Stay tuned for more.

 

Bergmann & Moore, LLC, based in the Washington, DC metro area, concentrates only on VA disability benefits law.  We have helped thousands of Veterans and their families obtain the VA benefits they are entitled to receive.  Bergmann & Moore offers a free legal consultation concerning VA disability claims.  We gladly welcome all types of claims, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), military sexual trauma (MST), individual unemployability (IU), and appeals.

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