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Veterans, military families struggle with severe brain injuries

Brain injuries are a very complex and unique medical condition to deal with. Over the last several years, progress has been made in learning how to treat and rehabilitate individuals who are living with these disabling injuries, but it's often an uphill battle. For thousands of military veterans this has become especially apparent during the last decade.

Statistics from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center indicate that over 265,000 military personnel suffered brain injuries between early 2001 and late 2013. Of those individuals, 26,250 have had to deal with injuries considered to be "moderate or severe."

To compound the problems facing wounded veterans, military medical staff may not have been fully equipped to deal with the influx of brain injuries when operations in Afghanistan and Iraq began. According to a Wall Street Journal report, "military doctors had relatively little experience" providing for brain injury patients about a decade ago. As a result, cases might not have been handled best possible way. Since that time, more successful treatment options and approaches have been adopted.

For military veterans who probably enjoyed being physically active, the limitations created by brain injuries are understandably frustrating. The period of adjustment and finding suitable treatment might not be easy. However, there are ways to find support for disabilities caused by injuries.

Injured veterans may be eligible for disability benefits provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, as we've previously covered on this blog, there is a significant backlog in veteran benefit approvals. As such, it may be worthwhile to take a look at other options, including Social Security disability insurance. This program is available to veterans and civilians alike, so it can be considered by anyone living with a disabling injury or medical condition.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "After Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Brain-Injured Veterans Search for Solace," Michael M. Phillips, Feb. 19, 2014

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