Veterans' Disability Benefits: Improvements Needed to Better Ensure VA Unemployability Decisions Are Well Supported
[Excerpt] In fiscal year 2013, over 330,000 of the approximately 3.7 million veterans VA compensated for disabilities incurred during active military service received TDIU benefits. The number of older veterans receiving TDIU benefits has been increasing, as has the total amount of benefit payments. From 2009 to 2013, the disability payments to those receiving TDIU benefits—the base payment plus the supplement—increased by 30 percent (to $11 billion in fiscal year 2013). For that year, we estimated $5.2 billion in payments for the supplement alone. These benefit trends have occurred alongside advances in medicine and technology and changes in the labor market and society. These trends have led to questions and suggested changes regarding TDIU benefits. My remarks today are based on our report issued on June 2, 2015, and like that report my statement (1) examines age-related trends in the population of Individual Unemployability beneficiaries and benefit payments; (2) assesses the procedures used for benefit decision-making; and (3) describes suggested options for revising the benefit.
military veterans; disability benefits; unemployability; Veterans Administration