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VA Disability Compensation and Money Spent on Substance Use Among Homeless Veterans: A Controversial Association.

Tsai J, Rosenheck RA. VA Disability Compensation and Money Spent on Substance Use Among Homeless Veterans: A Controversial Association. Psychiatric services (Washington, D.C.). 2015 Jun 1; 66(6):641-4.

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OBJECTIVE: There has long been concern that public support payments are used to support addictive behaviors. This study examined the amount of money homeless veterans spend on alcohol and drugs and the association between public support income, including VA disability compensation, and expenditures on alcohol and drugs. METHODS: Data were from 1,160 veterans from 19 sites on entry into the Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. Descriptive statistics and nonparametric analyses were conducted. RESULTS: About 33% of veterans reported spending money on alcohol and 22% reported spending money on drugs in the past month. No significant association was found between public support income, VA disability compensation, and money spent on alcohol and drugs. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial proportion of homeless veterans spend some income on alcohol and drugs, but disability income, including VA compensation, does not seem to be related to substance use or money spent on addictive substances.

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