2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
Section 8: Veterans
This section presents statistics on veterans in the United States. Specifically, the data address service connected to disability rating; the prevalence of disabilities in the veteran population; the portion of the veteran population that experiences poverty (as well as the difference between the poverty rates of veterans with and without disabilities (poverty gap)), by disability status. The principal sources of these data are the U.S. Census Bureau, specifically the American Community Survey and the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Annual Benefits Report. For these tables, statistics for people with disabilities (disability status) are based on having responded ‘yes’ to a series of questions within the American Community Survey (see the glossary for more details). Poverty is defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget and set as a dollar threshold by the U.S. Census Bureau in all sources (see the glossary for more details).
Table 8.1: In 2020, according to the American Community Survey, 3,497,074 individuals ages 18 and over living in the community reported having a military service-connected disability rating of 70 percent or more.
Table 8.2: In 2020, there were 33,724,784 civilian veterans ages 18-64 years living in the community, 1,598,743 of which were individuals with disabilities—a prevalence rate of 19.1 percent. Alaska had the lowest prevalence rate (10.7 percent) while Arkansas had the highest prevalence rate (32.3 percent).
Tables 8.3 and 8.4: In 2020, of the 1,598,743 civilian veterans with disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community, 530,970 individuals lived in poverty—a poverty rate of 33.2 percent. In contrast, of the 6,746,324 civilian veterans without disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community, 1,022,682 civilian veterans lived in poverty—a poverty rate of 15.2 percent. The poverty rate for civilian veterans with disabilities was highest in the District of Columbia (103.1 percent) and lowest in Idaho (17.9 percent).
Table 8.5: In 2020, the poverty rate of civilian veterans with disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community was 33.2 percent, while the poverty rate of individuals without disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community was 15.2 percent—a poverty gap of 18.1 percentage points. The poverty gap was smallest in North Dakota (-0.6 percentage points) and greatest in the District of Columbia (75.7 percentage points).
Table 8.6: In the Federal Fiscal Year 2020, the United States spent a total of $104,566,124 on compensation and pension benefits paid to disabled veterans.