Getting disability compensation

“I thought I’d be tough enough just to go over there, do my thing in Iraq and it wouldn’t affect me. But that’s not the case.”
Attribution/Name: 
Jared Starkel
Affiliation: 
OIF veteran

Excerpt from "More than a Warrior" by Sierra Jiminez

Jared is among the more than 2.2 million servicemen and women who have served in the Global War on Terror. As of March 2010, 1.1 million veterans from the war were eligible for benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs; however, only 442,000 of them had filed claims for war-related injury, according to the group Veterans for Common Sense, a nonprofit organization.

“Veterans look upon it as a sign of disgrace to ask for anything from the government. Most veterans feel a tremendous amount of guilt and shame that they survived and other people didn’t,” says Rich Cohen, the executive director of the National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates. “And even the ones who were badly wounded feel that there are others who are more wounded and deserve more than they do.”

Jared — until just this spring — was one of them.

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