Department of Veterans Affairs Fast Facts

Willie Grace | 12/2/2014, 3:40 p.m. | Updated on 12/2/2014, 3:40 p.m.
President Barack Obama has requested an appropriation of $163.9 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 2015 Budget, ...
The National Guard will scale back operations in St. Louis County, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement Tuesday. "

(CNN) -- Here is a look at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Facts: There are approximately 21.4 million veterans in the United States.

President Barack Obama has requested an appropriation of $163.9 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs in the 2015 Budget, a 6.5% increase over the 2014 Budget.

The 2015 Budget proposal includes $59.1 billion allocated for medical care, about 36% of the total. More than 58% of the budget goes towards mandatory benefits programs, including disability compensation and pensions.

In 2013, the VA had 312,841 full-time equivalent employees.

Among VA operations are 151 medical centers and 827 outpatient clinics.

The VA served over six million people in 2013.

In 2013, the average wait time to complete a disability evaluation was 78 days, according to the VA.

Timeline: 1789 - The new U.S. government passes legislation ensuring pensions for disabled Revolutionary War veterans.

1812 - The Naval Home, a facility for disabled veterans, opens in Philadelphia.

1833 - Congress establishes the Bureau of Pensions to assist veterans.

1862 - During the Civil War, Congress passes a bill allowing the president to purchase land for national cemeteries. Between 1865 and 1870, 70 national cemeteries open for burial of Union soldiers.

1865 - At the end of the U.S Civil War, there are 1.9 million Union veterans. Congress authorizes the National Asylum of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, a system of residences for disabled and indigent veterans.

1912 - Congress passes the Sherwood Act, guaranteeing pensions for Union veterans of the Civil War and veterans of the Mexican-American War, regardless of their health.

1924 - Congress passes the World War Adjustment Compensation Act, a system of bonuses for veterans of World War I. Any veteran entitled to more than $50 is given a certificate payable 20 years in the future and worth about $1,500.

July 21, 1930 - President Herbert Hoover signs an executive order consolidating the Veterans' Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions and the National Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers into the Veterans Administration. The VA has a budget of $786 million and serves 4.6 million veterans.

1931-1941 - The VA builds 27 new hospitals, bringing the total to 91.

1932 - During the Great Depression, thousands of World War I veterans march on Washington, DC, to demand payment of their bonuses. After the marchers are forcibly removed, the VA pays their transportation costs home. Congress authorizes early payment of the bonuses in 1936.

1933 - The VA establishes the Board of Veterans' Appeals.

June 22, 1944 - During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt signs into law the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, also known as the "G.I. Bill of Rights," a package of education benefits, federally guaranteed loans, and unemployment compensation.

1945 - At the end of World War II, there are approximately 15 million veterans in the United States, and all 97 VA hospitals are filled to capacity. In response, the VA opens 54 new hospitals over the next five years.

1958 - Congress pardons Confederate service members and extends benefits to the one remaining survivor.