"Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans' Disability Benefits in the 21st
Century." The report can be accessed from
The PDF of the full report is available at
The executive summary is available at http://www.vetscommission.org/pdf/ExecutiveSummary_eV_9-27.pdf
The related documents are avaialble at
Excerpt from the Exec Summary:
The Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission was established by Public Law 108-136, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004. Between May 2005 and October 2007, the Commission conducted an in-depth analysis of the benefits and services available to veterans, service members, their survivors, and their families to compensate and provide assistance for the effects of disabilities and deaths attributable to military service. The Department of Veterans Affairs expended $40.5 billion on the wide array of these benefits and services in fiscal year 2006. The Commission addressed the appropriateness and purpose of benefits, benefit levels and payment rates, and the processes and procedures used to determine eligibility. The Commission reviewed past studies on these subjects, the legislative history of the benefit
programs, and related issues that have been debated repeatedly over many decades.
The Commission identified eight principles for guiding the development and delivery of future benefits for veterans and their families.
1. Benefits should recognize the often enormous sacrifices of military service as a continuing cost of war, and commend military service as the highest obligation of citizenship.
2. The goal of disability benefits should be rehabilitation and reintegration into civilian life to the maximum extent possible and preservation of the veterans' dignity.
3. Benefits should be uniformly based on severity of service-connected disability without regard to the circumstances of the disability (wartime v. peacetime, combat v. training, or geographical
4. Benefits and services should be provided that collectively compensate for the consequence of service-connected disability on the average impairment of earnings capacity, the ability to engage in usual life activities, and quality of life.
5. Benefits and standards for determining benefits should be updated or adapted frequently based on changes in the economic and social impact of disability and impairment, advances in medical knowledge and technology, and the evolving nature of warfare and military service.
6. Benefits should include access to a full range of health care provided at no cost to service-disabled veterans. Priority for care must be based on service connection and degree of disability.
7. Funding and resources to adequately meet the needs of service-disabled veterans and their families must be fully provided while being aware of the burden on current and future generations.
8. Benefits to our nation's service-disabled veterans must be delivered in a consistent, fair, equitable, and timely manner.