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Regional Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 30, 2008

Veterans’ benefits by the numbers

The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General conducted a study in 2005 comparing disability payments for veterans across the 50 states that reveals some interesting facts about war veterans in New York State.

New York’s compensation figures are below the national average and, for every state but Idaho, veterans who served during peacetime are getting higher disability compensation than veterans serving in the Gulf War.

New York has 1.2 million veterans, 743,000 of which are wartime vets. Those receiving compensation number 120,000 or 10.2 percent.

New York has the second oldest vets in the country, with an average age of 64. Only Massachusetts has older vets, with an average age of 66.

The average number of disabilities and the average compensation payment per period of service are:

— Gulf War: 3.3 and $5,745;

— Vietnam Era: 2.6 and $9,690;

— Peacetime Era: 2.2 and $6,557

— Korean Conflict: 1.9 and $6,804;

— World War II: 1.8 and $5,943

The average annual payment per vet in New York in 2004 was $6,775. The national average was $6,988. (This figure is for vets who began receiving compensation between 1999 and 2005.)

Out of all states, New York ranks 29th for average annual payment. Based on 2004 figures, the state with the highest average annual payment was New Mexico with $11,206 and the state with lowest average annual payment was Indiana with $5,152.

Philippa Stasiuk

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