VA Chief Says “Current Disability System is Not Sustainable”

It’s time to rethink a veteran disability system that “incentivizes disability,” Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said during a June forum in Washington D.C. In responding to a question about whether the current system should be re-evaluated—posed by a reporter for the Military Times—Shulkin said, “Our current disability system [was] designed ...50, 60 or 70 years ago…I would suggest it’s not sustainable and it may not be achieving the results of well-being for our veterans.”

“Our system incentivizes disability, when our system should be incentivizing health and well-being.”

“That doesn’t mean pulling back disability compensation benefits,” he said. “But to suggest that there’s not a better way to do things is…wrong.”  Although the VA

Secretary did not detail what that “better way” would be, some veterans groups have speculated that potential new offerings could include wellness programs, rather than simply monthly compensation payments.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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