disability rights

Are returning vets with disabilities covered by the ADA?

  • Returning veterans with disabilities are not automatically covered under the ADA.  Their disability must meet the ADA’s definition of disability:  A mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity. 
  • In most cases, however, disabilities such as PTSD, TBI or depression would be covered under the ADA.
  • There are two EEOC documenst which can help clarify these issues. 

Why is the disability rate higher among Gulf War era II vets than among vets from previous engagements?

  • Greater awareness. Clearly, we have an enhanced capability to diagnose and report vets with conditions such as PTSD and TBI.
  • Earlier generations of vets may not have had these diagnoses.
  • More dangerous combat conditions. The engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan were dangerous and stressful, often with little predictability of where attacks would come from and who the enemy was.

How many vets will be returning?

  • It’s hard to predict exactly, but it’s estimated that over the next decade, there will be about 1.6 million veterans returning from active service.
  • Since 2001, 2.5 million service members have been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan—Vets who served since Sept 2001 are called “Gulf War Era II” vets.
  • Among Gulf War II vets, more than a third of these were deployed more than once and nearly 400,000 were deployed three or more times.

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