America's newest veterans are filing for disability benefits at a historic rate. Government officials say that 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. Officials tell The Associated Press that's more than double the estimated 21 percent who filed such claims after the earlier Gulf War in the 1990s.
These new veterans are claiming an average of eight to nine ailments such as bad backs, hearing loss or post-traumatic stress. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are receiving compensation for less than four ailments and veterans from World War II and Korea, about two.
Experts say the weak economy in part may be leading to more claims. Also, many veterans have multiple injuries from bomb blasts.