Disability in History- Benefits for Disabled Vets
April 14, 2014

By Pamala Mondragon. Information Specialist

Oath:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
Somewhere in the oath taken by civilians who choose the life of military service is an unspoken commitment and readiness to the possibility of an altered state of being, whether physical or mental, sometimes both.  Some who have chosen to defend something precious to them, their country and fight for freedom have been forever changed by engaging in conflict.  The result:  physical and mental disabilities and the need to find ways to adapt with programs and services.  This is where the Veterans Administration (VA) comes in, this agency has a long history of growth and change with each conflict military members have faced to compensate with benefits and provide needed services and care to disabled veterans.         
Benefits to military members trace back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians.  The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony they defended.
The Continental Congress established the nation’s first pension law in 1776 and granted soldiers who lost limbs half pay for life.  The War of 1812 extended benefits to dependents and survivors. The American Civil War (1861 – 1865), was responsible for 30,000 amputations in Union Army alone, however, Confederate soldiers did not receive federal veterans’ benefits until 1958.  The General Pension Act of 1862 provided disability payments based on rank and degree of disability and included, for the first time, compensation for diseases such as tuberculosis incurred while in service.
The emergence of the Veterans Administration (VA) was heard when in President Lincoln addressed Congress in 1865, “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”  This was later adopted as part of the VA’s motto.
As conflicts increased, the Veterans Administration recognized the necessity of benefits and rehabilitation: 
 
World War I
The War Risk Insurance Act Amendments of 1917 established rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans with dismemberment, sight, hearing, and other permanent disabilities.
Expenditures for veterans rose 62 percent from 1924 to 1932, increases in disability compensation and increases in pensions for veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.
World War II
Amputees returning from World War II at first found difficulty obtaining artificial limbs.  The VA became a world leader in the development of prosthetic devices.
Congress passed the most significant pieces of legislation ever produced by the federal government, the GI Bill of Rights, a comprehensive benefits package to aid the transition of 16 million returning veterans.
Korean War
Following the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, Congress passed the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1950, which reactivated vocational rehabilitation for veterans of the new war and extended the program to peacetime veterans.
 Vietnam War
 Major differences of Vietnam-era veterans from those of earlier wars was the larger percentage of disabled and the anti-war climate at home presented special readjustment problems for returning veterans.  In 1966, Congress passed the Veterans’ Readjustment
Benefits Act, called the Vietnam GI Bill.  This educational benefit proved to be highly successful.  Agent Orange also posed heath concerns which eventually were only recognized in veterans but have since extended to children of Vietnam veterans who face an elevated risk of birth defects.
 
Women Veterans
In response to the growth in the number of women veterans, VA has expanded medical facilities and services for women and increased efforts to inform them that they are equally entitled to veteran’s benefits.  The Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 provided authority for a variety of gender specific services and programs to care for women.
Persian Gulf War
In 1993, Congress authorized medical care for Gulf War veterans for conditions related to exposure to toxic substances or environmental hazards.
 Global War on Terrorism
In 2006, VA hired 100 veterans to inform other returning veterans of services available to deal with the stress of combat, including professional readjustment counseling for war trauma, family readjustment counseling, and other social readjustment problems for those returning Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families.
 
Today VA is a world leader in research areas such as spinal-cord injury, amputation care, prosthetics, blind rehabilitation, aging, women’s health, AIDS, Agent Orange exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
 
 
References
http://militaryoath.us/
http://www.disabilityhistory.org/timeline_new.html
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_department_of_veterans_affairs.pdf
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/archives/docs/history_in_brief.pdf


Disability in History- Benefits for Disabled Vets
April 14, 2014

By Pamala Mondragon. Information Specialist

Oath:
"I, _____, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).
Somewhere in the oath taken by civilians who choose the life of military service is an unspoken commitment and readiness to the possibility of an altered state of being, whether physical or mental, sometimes both.  Some who have chosen to defend something precious to them, their country and fight for freedom have been forever changed by engaging in conflict.  The result:  physical and mental disabilities and the need to find ways to adapt with programs and services.  This is where the Veterans Administration (VA) comes in, this agency has a long history of growth and change with each conflict military members have faced to compensate with benefits and provide needed services and care to disabled veterans.         
Benefits to military members trace back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians.  The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony they defended.
The Continental Congress established the nation’s first pension law in 1776 and granted soldiers who lost limbs half pay for life.  The War of 1812 extended benefits to dependents and survivors. The American Civil War (1861 – 1865), was responsible for 30,000 amputations in Union Army alone, however, Confederate soldiers did not receive federal veterans’ benefits until 1958.  The General Pension Act of 1862 provided disability payments based on rank and degree of disability and included, for the first time, compensation for diseases such as tuberculosis incurred while in service.
The emergence of the Veterans Administration (VA) was heard when in President Lincoln addressed Congress in 1865, “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”  This was later adopted as part of the VA’s motto.
As conflicts increased, the Veterans Administration recognized the necessity of benefits and rehabilitation: 
 
World War I
The War Risk Insurance Act Amendments of 1917 established rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans with dismemberment, sight, hearing, and other permanent disabilities.
Expenditures for veterans rose 62 percent from 1924 to 1932, increases in disability compensation and increases in pensions for veterans of the Civil War and the Spanish-American War.
World War II
Amputees returning from World War II at first found difficulty obtaining artificial limbs.  The VA became a world leader in the development of prosthetic devices.
Congress passed the most significant pieces of legislation ever produced by the federal government, the GI Bill of Rights, a comprehensive benefits package to aid the transition of 16 million returning veterans.
Korean War
Following the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, Congress passed the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1950, which reactivated vocational rehabilitation for veterans of the new war and extended the program to peacetime veterans.
 Vietnam War
 Major differences of Vietnam-era veterans from those of earlier wars was the larger percentage of disabled and the anti-war climate at home presented special readjustment problems for returning veterans.  In 1966, Congress passed the Veterans’ Readjustment
Benefits Act, called the Vietnam GI Bill.  This educational benefit proved to be highly successful.  Agent Orange also posed heath concerns which eventually were only recognized in veterans but have since extended to children of Vietnam veterans who face an elevated risk of birth defects.
 
Women Veterans
In response to the growth in the number of women veterans, VA has expanded medical facilities and services for women and increased efforts to inform them that they are equally entitled to veteran’s benefits.  The Veterans Health Care Act of 1992 provided authority for a variety of gender specific services and programs to care for women.
Persian Gulf War
In 1993, Congress authorized medical care for Gulf War veterans for conditions related to exposure to toxic substances or environmental hazards.
 Global War on Terrorism
In 2006, VA hired 100 veterans to inform other returning veterans of services available to deal with the stress of combat, including professional readjustment counseling for war trauma, family readjustment counseling, and other social readjustment problems for those returning Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families.
 
Today VA is a world leader in research areas such as spinal-cord injury, amputation care, prosthetics, blind rehabilitation, aging, women’s health, AIDS, Agent Orange exposure, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.
 
 
References
http://militaryoath.us/
http://www.disabilityhistory.org/timeline_new.html
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/factsheets/fs_department_of_veterans_affairs.pdf
http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/archives/docs/history_in_brief.pdf




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