Do VA disability benefits adequately compensate veterans with PTSD for a loss in average earnings capacity? Older veterans age 65 and up rated at 50% disabled or higher for PTSD (including individual unemployability (IU) benefits) receive more in compensation (plus any earned income and retirement benefits such as Social Security or pensions) than nondisabled veterans earn in the workforce and/or receive in Social Security and other retirement benefits. However, younger veterans (age 55 and below) generally receive less in compensation benefits (plus any earned income) than their non-disabled counterparts earn via employment. For example, the parity ratio for a 25-year-old veteran rated 100% disabled by PTSD is 0.75, and for a 35-year-old veteran rated 100% disabled by PTSD the ratio is 0.69. The parity ratio for a 75-year-old veteran receiving IU benefits is 6.81.
In addition, veterans receiving disability benefits for PTSD experience a reduction in PTSD symptom severity, and have lower rates of poverty and homelessness.
At the same time, some scholars argue that the VA disability benefits program is “countertherapeutic” because it provides no incentives to overcome symptoms and problems caused by the disorder, and, in fact rewards veterans for staying sick, while other researchers take issue with this assertion. In a similar vein, some military scholars suggest that current VA disability benefits policy inculcates in veterans a lack of self-efficacy and fosters dependency.
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