The amount spent annually by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on compensation to more than three million veterans with service-connected disabilities (SCDs), according to a new report from the RAND Corporation -- Is Military Disability Compensation Adequate to Offset Civilian Earnings Losses from Service-Connected Disabilities?
The report points out that the VA's compensation program "has grown substantially in recent years." Roughly 2.3 million veterans received benefits in 2001, compared with about 3.1 million in 2009, and the report cites several possible reasons for the dramatic increase, including the addition of diabetes to the list of included SCDs.
According to the report, 10 disabilities account for 41 percent of "rated SCDs." These areas include:
Tinnitus - 77,486: 9.5% of total
Hearing loss - 54,450: 6.6% of total
Post-traumatic stress disorder - 33,129: 4.0% of total
Lumbosacral or cervical strain - 30,086: 3.7% of total
Tendon inflammation - 29,079: 3.6% of total
Limitation of flexation, knee - 27,578: 3.4% of total
Degenerative arthritis of the spine - 25,682: 3.1% of total
Diabetes mellitus - 23,508: 2.9% of total
Scars, general - 20,089: 2.5% of total
Traumatic arthritis - 18,334: 2.2% of total