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Setting the Record Straight on Veterans’ Support

December 4, 2012

Recently, questions have been raised about government support for Canadian veterans. I would like to take this opportunity to clarify the record.

Our government believes that veterans should receive nothing but the best care and support. They deserve nothing less.

Every attempt is made to accommodate soldiers in the Canadian Armed Forces who are injured (either physically or mentally) and who wish to continue to serve. Soldiers who are injured and who cannot continue in the Canadian Armed Forces are released from service. These veterans are eligible for a program that supports them as they are being rehabilitated. This program provides them with a guaranteed annual income of at least $40,000 a year, for as long as they are not able to work, until age 65.

Those injured veterans who have completed rehabilitation and are able to work receive a monthly benefit while they look for employment. This benefit provides up to $1,300 a month for single veterans, $1,900 per month for married veterans and $300 per month per dependent. In addition, further monthly payments are made to those veterans whose injuries make finding work more difficult.

In addition to the monthly and annual benefits above, veterans with a long-term injury receive a lump sum payment of up to $593,300 depending on the severity of the injury and how much the injury is related to their service.

For those soldiers killed in combat, their surviving spouse (or next of kin) receives $285,300. Canada provides the families of veterans with up to $3,600 to help with the funeral service, and up to $7,000 to cover the cost of the burial, for total of $10,600*. In contrast, the United Kingdom provides up to $3,500 for funeral and burial costs, while Australia provides up to $2,000. The US does not provide any financial support for funeral services burial costs, unless the burial takes place in a national cemetery.

Low income veterans over 65 or veterans on a disability benefit become eligible for the Veterans Independence Program. This program pays for lawn maintenance, housekeeping, personal care and other support services. Many local veterans take advantage of this program and it can provide a veteran with up to $9,991 a year.

Total spending by the federal government for veterans increased from $2.85 billion in 2005 to $3.5 billion in 2010, a 43 per cent increase over 5 years. While there will always be room for improvement, no other government has supported Canadian veterans as much in recent memory. I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions.  You can contact me by phone at (866) 878-5556 or by email at michael.chong@parl.gc.ca.

*UPDATE: In Budget 2013, the government announced that it will enhance the Funeral and Burial Program by simplifying the program for veterans’ estates and more than doubling the current reimbursement rate from $3,600 to $7,376.

 


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