As we’ve all learned from national news stories, many U.S. veterans face heartbreaking challenges upon returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. Our federal benefits programs are among the best in the world, but they don’t cover every need, and they are not designed to help families.
Yet, in this war, one in two soldiers is married with children, and a soldier’s wounds can affect his or her entire family.
From Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, CBS, March 21, 2010
"Finally today, Washington’s always been a one-story town. And for the last few weeks, months really, the story has been health care reform. It’s all we’ve been talking about around here, which is probably one reason, a rather important anniversary passed without much notice--March 19th. Ring a bell? Probably not. But March 19th was the seventh anniversary of the Iraq invasion, which began our longest war. The heavy new cycle was not the only reason it went unnoticed. We remember the wars and events that had an impact on our daily lives--December 7th or 9/11.
"But in the age of the all-volunteer military, few of us remember much about the war that had so little effect on our day-to-day lives, especially, a war where questions still exist over whether it should have been fought at all?
"The Iraq war was fought by one half of one percent of us. And unless we were part of that small group or had a relative who was, we went about our lives as usual most of the time--no draft. No new taxes. No changes. Not so for the small group who fought the war and their families. Ask them about the sacrifice, the death toll of nearly forty-four hundred Americans and the thousands more who were wounded.
"Now, that it is finally winding down, thousands of Americans are still there. And history will eventually decide if it was worth it all. While history decides, let us remember that whatever history’s verdict, the fate of those who died there or suffered life-altering injuries can never change. Good war or bad, for them it is the same. The war have may-- may have had little impact on most of our lives, but we owe that small group of people."
By the numbers
As much as $600 billion will be required to care for veterans of the global war on terror over their lifetimes.1
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expects 1.6 million claims within the next two years.2
Currently, a backlog of more than 600,000 disability claims causes delays averaging 177 days.3
Approximate number of Washington State citizens deployed through December 2006: 11,500. Their spouses and children: 15,700.4
To date, about 41,000 U.S. service members have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan.5
An innovative new program, the Veterans Family Fund™ draws on the legacy of World War II war bonds but responds to today’s unique situation. The Veterans Family Fund CD is an insured account that benefits military veterans and their families, providing the kind of opportunity to help that so many Americans are looking for.
1 Soldiers Returning form Iraq and Afghanistan: The long-term costs of providing veterans medical care and disability benefits." Faculty Research Working Paper Series, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, January 2007.
2 Insult to Injury: New data reveal an alarming trend: Vets disabilities are being downgraded," U.S. News and World Report, April 16, 2007.
3 VA Straining to Keep Up With Claims, Study Says," Washington Post, March 14, 2007.
4 Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.
5U.S. Department of Defense Casualy Report