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Analysis of Financial Support to the Surviving Spouses and Children of Casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Analysis of Financial Support to the Surviving Spouses and Children of Casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Amalia R. Miller
Paul Heaton
David S. Loughran
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: RAND Corporation
Pages: 52
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  • Book Info
    Analysis of Financial Support to the Surviving Spouses and Children of Casualties in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
    Book Description:

    Examines how the death of service members affects the subsequent labor market earnings of surviving spouses and the extent to which survivor benefits provided by the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Social Security Administration compensate for lost household earnings. Also assesses the extent to which payments surviving spouses and children receive compensate for earnings losses attributable to combat death.

    eISBN: 978-0-8330-7796-7
    Subjects: Management & Organizational Behavior, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Preface
    (pp. iii-iv)
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  4. Tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Summary
    (pp. ix-xii)
  6. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 1-2)

    Military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan lasting more than a decade have focused national attention on meeting the needs of military families, especially families of service members who were injured or killed in combat. According to official casualty records, between October 7, 2001, and March 5, 2012, 6,370 members of the U.S. military were killed during their deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan or died as a result of injuries sustained during those deployments (Defense Casualty Analysis System, undated).

    Little is known about the economic impact of combat deaths on surviving household members. This study provides some of the first empirical...

  9. CHAPTER TWO Data Used in the Study
    (pp. 3-14)

    This study draws on administrative data on combat-related injury and death, labor market earnings, and disability and survivorship compensation obtained from DoD, the VA, and the Social Security Administration (SSA). This chapter describes how we used those data to construct our analysis sample and key measures of injury and earnings.

    Our initial sample consists of more than 700,000 AC and RC members deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq who completed the Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) DD Form 2796 or appear in the Defense Manpower Data Center’s (DMDC’s) Casualty File between June 1, 2003, and December 31, 2006.¹

    Since 2003, all service...

  10. CHAPTER THREE Empirical Model
    (pp. 15-18)

    To estimate the causal effect of deployment-related death on earnings and other labor market outcomes, we must form an estimate of the counterfactual labor market outcomes of service members who were killed in combat and their spouses if they had never been injured. Our estimate is the difference between the observed labor market outcomes of surviving-spouse households and their estimated counterfactual labor market outcomes. We estimated counter-factual labor market outcomes as the outcomes of similarly situated service members who were also deployed but who were uninjured (i.e., the control group).

    Our main challenge stemmed from the fact that the incidence...

  11. CHAPTER FOUR Results
    (pp. 19-24)

    This chapter presents the results of estimating Equation 1 for a variety of financial outcomes in the first four years following deployment for all the service members in our sample. We begin by estimating the effect of combat death on household (service member plus spousal) labor market earnings. We then show that the predominant effect on household earnings is the loss of the service member’s earnings. Finally, we show the extent to which survivor benefits from various sources offset the loss in labor market earnings through estimates of the effect of combat deaths on total household income after benefit payments....

  12. CHAPTER FIVE Discussion
    (pp. 25-32)

    Our estimated effects of combat death on household income demonstrate several patterns with respect to earnings loss: (1) household earnings losses following the combat death of a household member are economically large and persistent over time; (2) most (approximately 90 percent) of these losses can be attributed to the loss of the deceased service member’s own earnings, with the remainder attributable to declines in spousal earnings; (3) recurrent benefits replace a substantial fraction of earnings losses, but meaningful income losses remain after taking them into account; (4) the combined value of recurrent and lump-sum benefits can fully offset household earnings...

  13. CHAPTER SIX Conclusions
    (pp. 33-34)

    The empirical model developed in this study measures the financial impact of combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan on surviving spouses and children over the first four years following the death. We used information on earnings trajectories for uninjured service members (and their spouses) who were deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan at the same time as those who were killed to estimate counterfactual earnings for what the households with combat fatalities would have earned if the service members had not been injured. The key advantage of our modeling approach is the use of differenced outcome measures, which account for unobserved...

  14. References
    (pp. 35-36)