Watson Institute for International Studies
June 13, 2011
As of December 2010, 1.25 million service men and women had returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many have been wounded or injured in some way — over 90,000 seriously enough to require medical evacuation from the conflict. A much larger number suffer from other injuries, ranging from brain injuries to hearing loss. To date, 650,000 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have been treated in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities for a wide range of medical conditions. Nearly 500,000 of these veterans are receiving compensation from the VA for injuries sustained or worsened during their military service. The US has already spent $32.6 billion in constant dollars providing medical care and disability benefits to these veterans. But our commitment to veterans continues after the war ends. The service members who have been deployed to the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts are entitled to receive free or subsidized medical treatment for the rest of their lives. In addition, a significant percentage of them are eligible to receive permanent disability compensation for physical and/or mental disabilities stemming from their wartime service. Veterans of the current wars are also entitled to receive certain educational, housing, training and other benefits funded by government agencies outside of VA.
Bilmes, Linda J. "Eisenhower Study Group on the Costs of War." Watson Institute for International Studies, June 13, 2011.