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The health and disability costs for veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars is expected to be 30 percent higher than had been projected two years ago, according to a recent study by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stigliz of Columbia University and Linda Bilmes of Harvard University.

The new estimates prompted the chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., to recommend creating a trust fund to help cover the costs of these wars.  

According to the study, of the 2.1 million service men and women deployed since 2001, about 600,000 veterans are currently receiving medical treatment from the VA, and 500,000 veterans from these wars have applied for VA disability compensation as well as Social Security disability benefits for severe disabling conditions.

Lifetime medical costs and disability benefits from the VA and Social Security could range from $589 billion to $934 billion depending on the duration and severity of both wars. 

Rep. Filner is concerned that there won’t be enough money in the federal budget to cover escalating costs.  He suggests a 15 percent surcharge on the defense budget to safeguard the government’s ability to continue to meet these costs.

Note: All representation coordinated by Alpha is provided by our employees, the Advocates, who are accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). No private organization that trains and employs accredited agents has been legally recognized by the VA for the purposes of preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims. This work must be done by the Advocates themselves and not organizations.