Following World War II, politicians made sure the New Deal helped as few Black veterans as possible by denying them GI Bill benefits. From being pushed out of home loans to education benefits, the discriminatory acts significantly helped widen the wealth gap.
The more things change, the more things remain the same according to recent reports. A congress mandated study by the Government Accountability Office found significant disparities in disability claims approval.
Looking at data over a 10-year span ending in fiscal year 2020, it was found that Black veterans received the lowest approval rating at 61% compared to white veterans’ 75%. Meanwhile, Black women were approved at 67% compared to white women with 77%. According to the GAO, there were disparities between Black and white male veterans when it came to approval for benefits including hearing loss and Post-traumatic stress disorder.
When interviewing veteran service organizations, the GAO found that many of the disparities came from lack of help filing claims, missing or incomplete records, military discharge status and bias.
“Thank God we finally have validation, because this has been such a long standing issue for disparities in compensation claims for all minority veterans, but certainly for Black veterans,” said Barbara Ward, an Air Force veteran who formerly worked as the director of the Center for Minority Veterans.