WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) -- The $82 billion spent on U.S. veterans programs in 2007 was the most spent in a year, surpassing spending following World War II, a government report says.
Rising costs of healthcare and increases for caring for both an aging veteran population and severely wounded troops from Iraq and Afghanistan pushed the expenditure to $82 billion, USA Today reported.
The 2007 figure exceeds the $80 billion (adjusted for inflation) spent in 1947 after most of the 16.1 million U.S. service personnel in World War II left the military, a Congressional Research Service report indicates. Congress received the report in June.
Veterans-related spending will see an 11 percent hike to $91 billion for fiscal year 2008 and the Department of Veterans Affairs will seek $94 billion in 2009, said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who wants to add $3.3 billion to the 2009 proposal.
"While we are spending more than in previous years, we are still not meeting many of the healthcare and benefits needs of our veterans," Murray told USA Today.
Costs jumped in 1947 because of huge numbers of troops leaving the military, who were entitled to education, training and loan benefits under the G.I. Bill, the report says.