TORONTO, Dec. 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Veterans Transition Network: The new Pension for Life for Veterans was revealed by Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan. The changes announced this week represent the most-significant overhaul in more than a decade to benefits and services available for disabled veterans.

However, the changes won’t be happening anytime soon—the new plans come into effect in 2019. The additional time is needed to pass legislation and secure the $3.6 billion in additional funding needed for the plan, meaning that veterans are in for another long wait.

The new federal scheme addresses the government’s promise to reinstate the lifelong pensions for wounds sustained in the line of duty, which were replaced in 2006 by a system of lump-sum payments, career training and income-replacement programs.

Veterans now have the option of choosing a lump sum or a lifetime pension, which would deliver a maximum tax-free payment of $1,150 per month. Those with severe or permanent disabilities will also be eligible for a new benefit—a “bundling of existing benefits”—worth between $500 and $1,500 per month. The exact amount that a veteran can receive is based on the extent of their injuries or disabilities, as well as their age and gender based on Statistics Canada’s mortality data.

The government however has long said that its changes "would not seek parity" with the previous system, which is unlikely to sit well with many veterans who have been demanding that the government reinstate the old system as a matter of fairness.

The government also neglected to address changes to the system that many veterans have complained as being ‘byzantine’ and ‘overly complicated.’ Only last week, following the federal study on staggering veteran suicide rates, new numbers emerged on how the number of veterans waiting to find out whether they qualify for disability benefits has skyrocketed over the last eight months, leaving thousands of veterans in limbo. Many veterans are facing wait times of over sixteen weeks.

A Globe and Mail investigation into veterans who died by suicide after deployment during the Afghanistan mission consistently found mental health care to be delayed and/or ineffective. Meanwhile, data from Veterans Affairs states that PTSD was the third most common medical condition for disability benefits last year.

In the absence of reliable aid, organizations such as the Veterans Transition Network have been support veterans across the country with specialized mental health care programs, relying largely on funding from community organizations and caring individuals across Canada.

Read more about how the VTN has changed veterans’ lives here and discover how you can aid in this mission here.

Media Contact
Nesh Pillay
647-745-4224
nesh@presspillay.com

About the Veterans Transition Network: The Veterans Transition Network is the only Canadian charity delivering mental health services to veterans from coast to coast. Founded in 1997 by Dr. Marv Westwood, their mission is to make sure no Canadian veteran is left suffering in isolation. Our programs are backed by 20 years of research and have a 98% successful transition rate, one of the highest in the world. For more information, see vtncanada.org.

About Press Pillay: Press Pillay is a socially-conscious, boutique communications agency based in Toronto. With a team of former journalists, PR professionals and social media gurus, Press Pillay offers their lifestyle tech clients the highest-possible level of digital marketing strategies, branding and content. For more information visit www.presspillay.com.