2023 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium
Section 8: Veterans
This section presents statistics on veterans in the United States. Specifically, the data address service-connected disability rating; the prevalence of disabilities in the veteran population; the portion of the veteran population that experiences poverty, including 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 2021, according to the American Community Survey, 1,956,344 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 2021, there were 8,325,505 civilian veterans ages 18-64 years living in the community, 1,631,206 of which were individuals with disabilities, a prevalence rate of 19.6 percent. Vermont had the lowest prevalence rate (10.2 percent) while Oklahoma had the highest prevalence rate (27.2 percent) of disability among their veteran population.
Tables 8.3 and 8.4: In 2021, of the 1,631,206 civilian veterans with disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community, 242,953 individuals lived in poverty, a poverty rate of 14.9 percent. In contrast, of the 6,694,299 civilian veterans without disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community, 434,421 civilian veterans lived in poverty, a poverty rate of 6.5 percent. The poverty rate for civilian veterans with disabilities was highest in the District of Columbia (41.7 percent) and lowest in Alaska (5.1 percent).
Table 8.5: In 2021, the poverty rate of civilian veterans with disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community was 14.9 percent, while the poverty rate of individuals without disabilities ages 18-64 years living in the community was 6.5 percent, a poverty gap of 8.5 percentage points. The poverty gap was smallest in Alaska (-0.7 percentage points) and greatest in the District of Columbia (30.2 percentage points).
Table 8.6: In the Federal Fiscal Year 2020, the United States spent a total of $104,566,124 thousand on compensation and pension benefits paid to disabled veterans.