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Veterans disabled by visible, and invisible, injuries

Some of our past wars were waged on a large scale so that each serviceman or woman may have done a single tour of active duty. In our more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, service members from Wisconsin were asked to do multiple tours of duty -- sometimes as many as seven times.

In past conflicts, wounds were often fatal. Due to improved gear as well as medical treatment, more of our service members today are being injured and surviving rather than injured and succumbing.

According to a recent news article, the invisible injuries inflicted by our recent wars are causing significant problems for veterans. There is citizen sympathy for a veteran missing an arm or leg. Where is the sympathy for a veteran who is 100 percent disabled due to a head injury which leaves no scar, or post-traumatic stress disorder?

Social Security Administration rules say that any person can receive Social Security disability benefits if he or she is unable to work due to any one of the hundreds of conditions on the List of Impairments. A prosthetic leg is a disability, but it may not be one which prevents one from working. However, PTSD can render a person unable to function in society and a traumatic brain injury can destroy an individual's ability to complete tasks or remember events from five minutes earlier.

Veterans can also obtain benefits for partial disability from the Veteran's Administration, or VA. However, the Government Accountability Office reported that the time to process a claim has increased by 50 percent.

Apparently, volunteer organizations are jumping in to the mix and offering mental health services to veterans as a transition step until the veteran can qualify for either VA benefits or Social Security disability benefits.

For any veteran who has been injured and is unable to work, it is a good idea to consult with a legal professional to determine what individual assistance might be available.

Source: Portage Daily Register, "Healing invisible scars of war," Steve and Cokie Roberts, June

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123 7th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

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