On Sunday Canada announced the first in a series of actions that Canada will be taking in the coming weeks to improve support and care for Veterans and their families.
The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), and the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced that there will be increased financial support for seriously injured Veterans and an enhanced monthly annual income for Veterans released at lower salary levels. These amendments vowed Minister Blackburn will be proposed to improve the Veterans Charter this fall.
"Our men and women in uniform need to know that their government is dedicated to supporting them during and following their service to Canada," said Minister MacKay. "This government is listening to their concerns and taking the steps necessary to address the changing needs of Canadian Forces personnel, Veterans and their families. These new measures will help us reach that goal."
Two million dollars will be provided to ensure that Veterans who have been seriously injured in the service of Canada have access to the support they deserve. The improvements are as follows:
* Veterans who have experienced serious injuries impeding their return to service and who will not be able to work again will receive $1,000 more a month for the rest of their lives. This amount will be added onto 75 percent of their salary, as well as an allowance in the amount of $536 to $1,609. Within the next five years, 500 Veterans will be eligible for this monthly additional amount.
* Access to the permanent monthly allowance for seriously injured Veterans (in the amount of $536 to $1,609) will be expanded. More than 3,500 Veterans are expected to be eligible for this allowance within the next five years (including the 500 mentioned above, who will also receive an additional $ 1000 per month).
* Our government will increase the benefit for lost earnings (75 percent of the pre-release salary) Veterans receive while in rehabilitation to a minimum annual income of approximately $40,000. This improvement will increase the income of 2,320 Veterans over the next five years.
The new proposed measures will remove eligibility barriers and increase the amount of monthly financial support to severely injured Veterans who are unable to return to work. The new measures are expected to benefit more than 4,000 Veterans helping to improve their quality of life over the course of the next five years.
Making the transition to civilian life is a challenge for those Veterans who have been severely injured. Research shows that early intervention, comprehensive case management and treatment, and adequate financial support are crucial to a Veteran's rehabilitation.
The proposed changes will include increasing benefits for those who are unable to ever return to work by $1,000 more per month for their lifetimes. This is on top of the benefits that they are already receiving-75% of their salary, as well as an allowance of $536 to $1,609. Over the next five years, an estimated 500 Veterans will benefit from this improvement.
Under the New Veterans Charter a Veteran who has a severe service-related, serious injury (e.g. quadriplegia, paraplegia, multiple amputations) will be eligible for the Permanent Impairment Allowance benefit. By revising program eligibility requirements and removing barriers it is estimated that more than 3,500 additional severely injured Veterans will now be eligible (including the 500 mentioned above).
The proposed changes will increase the minimum income for these Veterans to ensure a minimum income of approximately $40,000/year. Approximately 2,320 Veterans will benefit from this change.