Disability Benefits For Veterans Vary Widely By State

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Disability Benefits For Veterans

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Disability pay for injured veterans varies widely from state to state, according to a new study conducted by the Institute for Defense Analysis, the AP/Arizona Daily Starreports. The 50-page report, which is the first to examinescientifically the cause of variance in veteran disability pay, wasmade available to the Associated Press. The examination was launched after reports in 2005 showed wide disparities in payments to veterans by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The study was conducted over a period of about 18 months.

Thestudy found that average annual disability payments varied from $7,556in Ohio to $12,395 in New Mexico. The nationwide average was $8,890,according to the study. The study found that about one-third ofdisparities in disability payments could be attributed to poor agencystandards and inadequate training. The VA has in the past mostlyattributed the problems to factors outside of its control, such as thenumber of Vietman veterans in a state -- who on average receive higherpayments -- and whether a veteran had legal assistance while making aclaim. As a result of poor standards and training, VA regional officesoften had too much authority and discretion over how much pay a veteranreceived, the study found. The study also reached several otherconclusions:

  • Post-traumaticstress disorder claims accounted for the highest disability pay,averaging $20,000 annually to more than 200,000 veterans;
  • Veteranswho receive legal help or aid from advocacy groups received on average$11,162, compared with $4,728 for those who had none;
  • Abouttwo-thirds of veterans received advocacy help, with the highestrepresentation in North Dakota, at 81.9%, and the lowest in Maryland,with 44.8%;
  • Vietnam veterans received annual compensation of $11,670, compared with $7,410 for veterans of other wars; and
  • Veterans of the Gulf War received the lowest average payments of $6,506 per year (AP/Arizona Daily Star, 7/20).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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