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Disabled veterans find relief through sports

TheDailyBeast.com publishes “The Hero Project,” a column dedicated to honoring the United States military and reporting on issues important to those who serve. In its most recent article, it features the story of an Army sergeant from Arkansas, who lost both of his legs while on his second tour of duty in Baghdad. At the time, he was working security on a routine and “uneventful” mission, which turned into a life-changing event after a grenade attack. He received a Purple Heart, which is a military award given by the President of the United States, to those wounded or killed while serving.

For this Arkansas-native veteran, life will never be the same. Sadly, there are millions of men and women just like him who were wounded or who lost their lives while serving our country. For disabled veterans who return home, life is rarely as it was before enlisting. According to The Hero Project’s report, returning to civilian life is often accompanied by emotional issues, mental health issues including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, problems assimilating socially, and physical conditions or disabilities. According to a 2012 Veterans Administration report, just under 25 veterans commit suicide each day in America.

For veterans suffering from disabilities, new programs being offered by the Veterans Administration and other nonprofits are considered life-changing. Adaptive sports and other forms of “non-conventional” therapy are helping veterans heal physically and emotionally. Whether they are participating in sailing, track and field races, down-hill skiing, snowboarding or snowshoeing, many disabled veterans are experiencing forms of outdoor recreation they believed were merely a part of their past. Those administering the recreational therapy programs explain that, thanks to the endorphins participants produce from the physical therapy, as well as improved social skills, the benefits are truly life-saving.

According to the United States Census Bureau and the American Community Survey, in 2010 there were over 4 million veterans receiving compensation for a disability. In total, almost 38 million dollars was spent in 2010, for compensating veterans with service-connected disabilities. This amount is roughly four times higher than the amount paid in 1990. The Hero Project reports that the Veterans Administration has a budget of 1.8 billion dollars for prosthetics for veterans who are missing limbs, or who need sensory aid devices. Another 17 million dollars is allocated for prosthetic research.

As more and more disabled veterans seek financial assistance after experiencing a disability, it is important for servicemen and women to understand the types of benefits available to veterans. While some find emotional relief from recreational therapy, many are left searching for financial assistance, as their disability renders them unable to work, earn a living, or support their families.

Veterans are always encouraged to seek benefits for their disabilities through the Veterans Administration. However, injured veterans may also be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits, and might be eligible for expedited SSD claim processing. It is important to know that the application process for each type of benefit differs. If you believe you may be entitled to receive SSD benefits due to your status as an injured veteran, contacting an experienced attorney can help ensure the best possible outcome for your claims.