Gracie North Carolina

4% Is Simply Not Enough

The veteran part of the federal budget needs to be increased, and quick.

Dear Future President,

Those who have served our country are highly respected, but are they cared for? I am writing to you to propose an increase in the federal budget for our nation’s veterans. According to the National Priorities Project, only 4% of our nation’s federal budget in 2014 was spent on America’s veterans. This includes everything such as rehabilitation, medical care, and housing. It’s not as if there isn’t a need for an increase in the budget, the Census Bureau concluded that in 2014 there were about 22 million veterans from the U.S. Armed Forces. With more money medical care can be more accessible, rehabilitation clinics and group therapy centers could open. Not to mention that awareness for mental health can be more prominent. By increasing the amount of money spent on veterans, the quality of life for those who have served our country and their families will increase immensely.

Mental health is a big concern for those who have been in the military. I propose funding so that more commercials can be aired on television with proper advocates to bring more awareness to mental health conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 20 veterans take their life every day. This adds up to 7,300 deaths every year. Many of these deaths could be from when veterans cannot handle the symptoms they are experiencing because of the lack of awareness. According to PTSD United, 71% of all female military personnel develop PTSD. You could say that awareness isn’t needed for PTSD and other mental health disorders because they don’t have it, but Mental Health America says that over 14 million adult Americans are affected with PTSD each year. That doesn't include other mental health issues. Veterans are especially prone to these mental health issues because of what they have experienced in combat. By increasing the amount of awareness for mental health conditions lives will be saved and veterans will be under less stress.

Medical care is an issue that is overlooked when it comes to veterans. In the state of Texas, there are only 6 VA medical centers compared to the statistic done by the VA of 1.6 million veterans living there. Due to the number of veterans, versus the number of facilities, the wait time to get help could be years. During this time many veterans give up and take their life which is why the suicide rate in Texas according to is 12.19 for every 100,000 people. While you could say more availability of medical care isn’t necessary, The New York Times contradicts that by stating that the veteran suicide rate has increased rapidly since 2001. You could say that this is because there is a lack of attention towards the need for medical care. The MilitaryTimes wrote an article on June 3rd, 2016 about the long wait time for veterans in need of medical care. With more money more medical centers can be opened so the wait time for veterans decreases and the quality of their care is increased.

When veterans are stuck in an institution recovering because rehabilitation centers aren’t in their price range, their families are at home trying to figure out what the next step is. This is why more money is needed, families are lost and need someone to vent to. With the increase in the federal budget, families can go to therapy and the veterans will be able to go to a quality rehabilitation center. Veterans Advantage writes, “Thanks to the help of private donations around the country, many of our nation’s wounded troops can look forward to treatment at a new $50 million state-of-the-art care new facility opened in San-Antonio, Texas.” If instead of relying on donations and we use government money there could be rehabilitation centers for veterans all around the country. You could say that donations could solely be relied on so the government doesn’t need to spend extra money. Although it would take years in order for just one center to open. Veterans and families don’t deserve to wait that long. I feel they should be our nation’s #1 priority.

President, I implore you to put more of the federal budget towards veterans, 4% is simply not enough. Veterans are suffering from mental health conditions, a lack of medical care and few rehabilitation clinics. The families of these veterans desire therapy, they need someone to vent to. An increase is not just desired, but necessary. By increasing that 4%, suicide rates will go down and the quality of life for veterans will go up. By reading this letter I hope you consider increasing the veteran part of the federal budget. Not only will I be thanking you, but the millions of U.S. veterans and their families will be thanking you as well.



Works Cited:

Chalabi, Mona. “What Percentage Of Americans Have Served In The Military?”DataLab, ESPN, 25 May 2015,

@deptvetaffairs. “Americans Are Viewing Veterans All Wrong - VAntage Point.”VAntage Point, U.S Department of Veterans Affairs , 19 Mar. 2015,

Lee, Michelle Ye He. “The Missing Context behind the Widely Cited Statistic That There Are 22 Veteran Suicides a Day.” Washington Post, The Washington Post, 4 Feb. 2015,

Shay, Jonathan et al. “When They Come Home...” PBS, PBS, 1 Mar. 2005,

Gallup, Inc. “Americans Respect the Military, Honor Veterans.”, Gallup, 11 Nov. 2002,

Committee on the Assessment of the Readjustment Needs of Military Personnel et al. “Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families.” SCREENING, ASSESSMENT, AND TREATMENT, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013,

@natpriorities. “How Much Do We Spend on Our Nation's Veterans?” RSS, National Priorities Project, 11 Nov. 2014,

Spelman, Juliette F. et al. “Post Deployment Care for Returning Combat Veterans.” Journal of General Internal Medicine, Springer-Verlag, Sept. 2012,

@mlbaruchman, Michelle Baruchman. “Veteran Suicide Rates up, Health Center Sensitive to Cultural Shifts.” The Red and Black, The Red & Black, 25 Feb. 2015,

“Texas Suicide.” World Life Expectancy, World Life Expectancy, 1999,

Shane , Leo, and Patricia Kime. “New VA Study Finds 20 Veterans Commit Suicide Each Day | Military Times.” Military Times, View Lift, 7 July 2016,

Planning, Office of Policy and. “National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.” Veteran Population, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 15 Apr. 2016,

Asfar, By Roy. “New Veterans Rehab Facility Brings State of the Art Physical Therapy to Those Who Need It Most.” Veterans Advantage, Veterans Advantage, 16 May 2012,

Philipps, Dave. “Suicide Rate Among Veterans Has Risen Sharply Since 2001.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 7 July 2016,

“PTSD Statistics.” PTSD United, Creative MMS, 2013,

Kime, Patricia. “Some-Veterans-Still-Wait-Months-Medical-Care | Military Times.” Military Times, View Lift, 3 June 2016,

Weddington Middle

Seventh Period Fleck


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