Military disability ratings: A 30% rating is the cutoff between receiving payments, staying within the military healthcare system, and eligibility for family coverage and is now given out more rarely than before the beginning of the Iraq war, despite the large number of soldiers with severe injuries. Whether disabled veterans are eventually covered by the military or receive some compensation from Social Security or the Department of Veterans Affairs, they usually have to wait 6-9 months for such monies to flow and often face severe financial distress, including homelessness, as a result. In 2006-2007, nearly 20,000 permanently disabled veterans have been so affected. In response, the Army has allowed for such veterans to draw their full paycheck for 90 days after discharge. This policy has not yet been fully implemented as of June 2008 and only partially addresses the time lag before government coverage kicks in.
As of January 2008, the Pentagon is required to follow the more liberal guidelines of the VA in awarding disability claims. In a screwy re-interpretation, the military rather than loosening disability requirements has, in fact, tightened them. In contravention of existing law, the January 2008 “wounded warrior” act, and the intent of Congress, the Pentagon has been limiting benefits to veterans blown up in Iraq, injured avoiding getting blown up in Iraq, or injured in training incidents on how not to get blown up in Iraq, stating, as only the military can, that these are not combat or combat-related injuries.