Equity in Veterans Affairs disability claims adjudication in a national sample of Veterans

Anouk L. Grubaugh, Jon D. Elhai, Kenneth J. Ruggiero, Leonard E. Egede, James A. Naifeh, B. Christopher Frueh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1246
Number of pages6
JournalMilitary medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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