HANTS COUNTY, NS - One of the 'underpinnings' of the federal government's Pension for Life for Veterans plan is to help those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions.
Seamus O'Regan, Canada's Veterans Affairs minister, says the new pension plan that will be rolled out in April 2019 is a much-needed update that will allow military personnel to get the help they need.
“It's one of the underpinnings of the monthly pension is to be in constant contact with veterans,” O'Regan said while in Windsor in January to tour the county with Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison.
“PTSD can rear its ugly head. It's unpredictable. We're still learning so much about it, but we know enough to know that you've got to keep an eye out for it,” said O'Regan. “When you're in constant contact with a veteran — sometimes it's by My Vac, sometimes it's by phone with a case manager — we can look out for signs. It's maintaining that relationship.”
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The Pension for Life for Veterans plan, which was unveiled on Dec. 20, 2017, replaces the 2006 New Veterans Charter, which had been developed to address the shortcomings of the 1919 Pension Act.
“With Pension for Life, you have that flexibility to go back to work and then if PTSD sets in, then we can bring you back in, we can look after you and get you through it without the anxiety of worrying about financially providing for your family and yourself through an income replacement benefit,” said O'Regan.
The federal minister said being able to go back and forth to work without impediment will alleviate some of the stress, worry and anxiety that often goes hand in hand with asking for help.
“If you have PTSD and... lay on some anxiety, it's not going to make you any better. If we can allay anxiety, we'll do it,” said O'Regan.
“We are still learning so much about PTSD and how it affects our veterans so we adjust everything accordingly.”
Go online: To learn more about the plan and a breakdown of what is available, visit http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/pension-for-life.