According to some economists, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are going to cost this country an additional trillion dollars over and above original estimates. Last Thursday a full panel meeting was held on Capitol Hill, which was to focus on the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The hearing included testimony from the authors of The Three Trillion Dollar War, which provided estimates for the cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the long term in 2008. During their testimony, they explained that the original estimates were too conservative. Their original estimate for the cost of veterans’ care was $717 billion. At this most recent hearing their new estimate was $934 billion, just a little shy of $1 trillion.
When asked for an explanation, the authors stated the amount of veterans currently using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services is at a level they didn’t expect to see until 2016. Approximately 565,000 veterans used VA health care by March. Current estimates put the amount of veterans currently in the system around 620,000.
Because there are so many more veterans in the VA system and using VA resources than originally estimated, costs all over the place had to be raised. Although not exhaustive:
- Long-term health care estimates jumped from $284 billion to $348 billion;
- Long-term disability estimates were pushed from $388 billion to $534 billion; and
- Social Security disability payment estimates were upped from $43 billion to $52 billion.
A more accurate picture of where the numbers stand will not be published until January. These wars are hardly “self-financing,” which is how they were originally touted.
If you are a disabled veteran who has been denied disability compensation or have not yet applied for benefits from the VA, contact LaVan & Neidenberg. You may be entitled to certain programs and benefits so contact our veterans disability rights firm today.