WASHINGTON (AP) â” The Republican-controlled House is debating legislation to boost health care spending for veterans and compensation for record numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are claiming service-related disabilities as they return to the United States.
Roughly half of the $148 billion measure is for veterans’ pensions and disability payments over which lawmakers have little practical control. That includes a 20 percent, $10.5 billion increase for such payments.
The Associated Press reported earlier this week that 45 percent of the 1.6 million veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are now seeking compensation for injuries they say are service-related. About 1.2 million people are expected to file for disability claims next year â” on top of a claims backlog of almost 1 million applicants.