In August 2009, about 2.8 million veterans, or 13 percent of the total, reported having a service-connected disability. (Some veterans did not report whether they had a service-connected disability.)
Veterans with a service-connected disability are assigned a disability rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Ratings range from 0 to 100 percent, in increments of 10 percentage points, depending on the severity of the condition. About 4 in 10 disabled veterans reported a disability rating of less than 30 percent, while about 1 in 4 had a rating of 60 percent or higher.
Among veterans who served in Gulf War era II, about 21 percent reported having a service-connected disability. Of these, 80.5 percent were in the labor force, compared with 87.2 percent of nondisabled veterans from this period.
About 18 percent of veterans who served during Gulf War era I reported a service-connected disability. Their labor force participation rate (77.8 percent) was lower than the rate for veterans from the era who did not have a disability (92.8 percent).
Among the 1.4 million disabled veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam era, 28.8 percent were in the labor force in August 2009, compared with 37.0 percent of veterans from these periods who did not have a service-connected disability.
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the source of these data. In the CPS, veterans are defined as men and women who have previously served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and who were civilians at the time they were surveyed. To learn more, see "Employment Situation of Veterans: 2009," news release (HTML) (PDF) USDL 10-0285.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Disabled veterans and the labor force at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2010/ted_20100317.htm (visited September 21, 2023).