Recent vets hit hard by home foreclosures

Nov. 18, 2008 at 9:26 AM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- Injured U.S. veterans of the Iraq War are being particularly hard-hit by the country's economic and home foreclosure crises, experts say.

Such veterans are facing a triple-whammy of injury, unemployment and long waiting times for disability claim processing and appear to be especially vulnerable to home foreclosures, veterans' service organization officials told The New York Times Tuesday.

"The demand curve has gone almost straight up this year," Bill Nelson, executive director for USA Cares, a non-profit group providing financial help to veterans, told the newspaper, adding that housing "is the biggest driver in the last 12 months."

There are no hard numbers quantifying the problem, but the U.S. Congress has asked the Veterans Affairs Department to look into how all recent veterans are being affected by the economic downturn, especially by home foreclosures.

Officials say recently discharged veterans in their 20s have fared poorly in the job market. A 2007 survey performed for the VA indicated of 1,941 combat veterans who left the military, mostly in 2005, nearly 18 percent were unemployed as of last year, compared with the then-average national jobless rate of 6.5 percent, the Times reported.

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