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Women veterans receive record level of disability benefits

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The Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Thursday that women veterans are now receiving unprecedented levels of disability benefits. With over 702,000 women who served in the Armed Forces currently receiving some form of disability compensation, there has been a remarkable 26% increase compared to figures from five years ago.

Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Tanya Bradsher, emphasized the historical significance of this milestone, stating, “Women Veterans have fought in every war since the American Revolution, but they have not always been able to access the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserved.” Bradsher further added, “But now, at VA, we’re making sure that those days are over.”

On average, female veterans are receiving $26,809 annually in earned disability compensation benefits. The VA reported that an impressive 89% of women who apply for disability benefits through the agency receive compensation for at least one condition. This surge in benefits is attributed to the PACT Act, which President Biden signed in August 2022, allocating $797 billion to enhance healthcare access for veterans exposed to toxins and hazards during their service.

Josh Jacobs, VA Under Secretary for Benefits, noted that the increased funding has enabled the VA to process 40% more claims last year. Additionally, the agency is currently operating 35% ahead of its 2023 processing rates. As part of Women’s History Month initiatives, the VA’s regional offices are organizing outreach events throughout the year to inform women about the available benefits.

Highlighting the comprehensive healthcare services provided, the VA ensures that primary care for women includes preventative cancer screenings and specialty services like orthopedics and cardiovascular appointments. Notably, gynecologists are available at 82% of VA facilities, with plans for further expansion, and mammograms are accessible at 70 VA facilities nationwide. Although the VA covers approximately 7,000 births annually, pregnancy care, including prenatal, labor, and delivery, is provided at healthcare facilities outside the VA system.

Since 1948, women have been integral members of the U.S. military. According to the Department of Defense, women constituted 17.3% of the active-duty force in 2021. Despite comprising 16.5% of the veteran population, their contributions are increasingly recognized and supported through initiatives like expanded disability benefits.

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