Economic Impact on Caregivers of the Seriously Wounded, Ill, and Injured

Published Date: April 1, 2009

This study estimates the economic burdens borne by the family and friends who provide non-medical care, support, and assistance to seriously wounded, ill, and injured (WII) service members. Caregivers of the WII face many economic challenges as a result of being a caregiver. These include making housing/location changes, inability to meet existing financial obligations, additional/new financial obligations, and additional childcare arrangements. Many of these challenges are a result of caregivers having to permanently or temporarily forgo earnings and benefits to be a caregiver. We estimate that about three out of every four caregivers had to quit or taken time off from either work or school. For those working or in school prior to caregiving, this figure is 85 percent. We estimate that (1) the average earnings and benefits of caregivers is $3,200 per month, (2) about 720 new WII service members need a caregiver each year, and (3) service members need a caregiver an average of 19 months. Given these figures, the average earnings and benefits losses for a caregiver are $60,300. Across all 720 caregivers, annual economic losses are $43.4 million.