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Disability claims increase among veterans

It's been a few months since we wrote about disability among veterans. As we discussed in our January 18 post, there are now about 3.4 million disabled veterans in the U.S. These veterans come Michigan and every other state.

To a disabled veterans, it ultimately doesn't matter which government agency provides whether much-needed help. It could be disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. Or it could be veterans' benefits from the Veterans Affairs department (VA).

What shouldn't happen is that a veteran gets served by neither agency. In order to avoid this, the two agencies have said they will work together better so that veterans can get their SSD benefits in a timely manner.

To be sure, it is challenging for the government to follow through on this commitment. After all, there have been big increases in the number of claims in recent years. Government agencies have struggled to keep up with these increases.

The increases in claims by veterans have been driven not only the large number of veterans who have seen service in Iraq or Afghanistan. There have also been deliberate adjustments by the VA on how to characterize certain conditions.

For example, a few years ago the VA expanded its list of conditions that would be presumed to have been caused by service in Vietnam when Agent Orange was being used there. The conditions that were added to the list were Parkinson's disease, leukemia and ischemic heart disease.

Please visit our page on Social Security disability.

Source: "What's Up at the VA?," Time, Kayla Williams, 4-22-13

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