As of April 2007, about 26,000 service members had been injured as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), according to the Department of Defense (DOD). Those service members injured in the line of duty are eligible for military disability compensation. When they leave the military, they may also be eligible for compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In fiscal year 2005 alone, the Army, Navy, and Air Force evaluated over 23,000 military disability retirement cases and, in fiscal year 2004, over $1 billion in permanent and temporary military disability retirement benefits were paid to over 90,000 service members. Through the VA disability compensation and pension claims programs, about $34.5 billion in VA cash disability benefits went to more than 3.5 million veterans and their survivors in fiscal year 2006. On April 23, 2007, we briefed the Commission on the results of our recent studies of DOD and VA disability systems. This report presents the information we provided during that briefing.
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