The U.S. Department of Labor defines “disabled veteran” as a veteran who is entitled to compensation (or who but for the receipt of military retired pay would be entitled to compensation) under laws administered by the U.S. Secretary, or (B) a person who was discharged or released from active duty because of a service-connected disability. “Service-connected” means the disability was a result of disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. If a service member believes he or she has a service-connected disability, then they may be eligible to receive a monthly compensation payment, as well as other benefits.
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) rates each disability claim on a case by case basis. The VA makes a determination about the severity of a service member’s disability based on the evidence they submit as part of their claim. The VA first determines whether or not the illness or injury was sustained while the service member was in the military, then they assign a rating for each illness or injury. If the VA approves a claim, they assign it a rating between 0% – 100%. In general, a higher rating (e.g. >70%) is usually due to the service member having severe disabilities, or loss of limb(s), and having family dependents.
It is estimated that approximately 30% of veterans who were given a service-connected disability rating in 2015 received a rating of 70% or higher.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Arizona has approximately 528,000 veterans and ranks #13 in total veteran population. Of those veterans living in Arizona, approximately 96,000 are disabled, which equates to roughly 18%. And of those 96,000 disabled veterans, approximately one-third have severe disabilities. Although the veteran population has been declining since 1986, the number of veterans with a service-connected disability has been on the rise.
Dogs4Vets helps 100 disabled Arizona veterans each year train their own dog to be their service dog. Each program is tailor-made for each veteran’s specific needs.