Record number of new veterans applying for disability

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DENVER -- This Memorial Day new statistics show that America’s newest veterans are filing for disability at an historic rate.

Out of the 1.6 million veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, 45 percent are now filing for disability benefits claiming service related injuries.  That’s more than double the percentage from the Gulf War. 

“It’s pretty bad.  The head injuries alone in this war have been insane,” said Natasha Williams, a veteran of the war in Iraq who lives in Englewood. 

Williams is one of the masses now receiving benefits.  She says she was hurt when her army unit came under fire and she was thrown from the vehicle. 

“I was the gunner, and I ended up flying, ejecting out of the gunner’s hole,” she said. 

Natasha says she has serious damage to her neck and shoulder.  Many other veterans are coming back with severe physical injuries, and others with mental health issues like post traumatic stress disorder. 

“The government should definitely take care of its soldiers when they come back,” Williams said.