Objectives: To address potential equity concerns about the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) process for adjudicating military service-related disability claims. Methods: Participants were a nationally representative sample of 20,048 veterans completing the 2001 National Survey of Veterans. Sociodemographic, access, and illness correlates of both the award and rate of general disability benefits awarded by the VA were examined using an established theoretical framework. Results: Sociodemographic, access, and illness variables were associated with both the award ("yes/no") and rate of benefits (0-100%) awarded, with combat exposure, unemployment, and physical impairment accounting for the strongest model effects. Conclusions: Veterans' needs were not overshadowed by factors related to demographic background or access (e.g., race, gender, insurance), reducing concerns about disparities in general VA disability disbursements. These data are timely as disability claims/payments will likely increase dramatically in the near future because of current conflicts in the Middle East.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health