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Changes to the New Veterans Charter
The House of Commons approved a number of enhancements to benefits provided to Veterans under the New Veterans Charter (NVC), as part of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 (Bill C-59). PBO estimates the new post-65 Retirement Income Security Benefit (RISB) and the higher Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) income threshold for part-time reservists will increase VAC’s program expenditures by $231.6 million over 10 years. That means the total cost of providing financial benefits for disabled Veterans, including these two enhancements, is estimated at nearly $3.3 billion over the next 10 years.
Continuing cost of the mission in Afghanistan
Afghanistan Veterans make-up 18 per cent of disabled Veterans receiving NVC benefits. For the period between 2015 and 2025, PBO estimates the cost of providing financial support to Veterans who served in Afghanistan at $157.0 million.
Afghanistan Veterans are three times more likely to have a mental health diagnosis. This group is 20 years younger than those without Afghanistan service (with an average age of 41 v. 61) and will continue to collect benefits while pension earnings will offset the cost of the benefits paid to the non-Afghanistan group. Consequently, benefits paid to Veterans with mental health conditions will exceed those of Veterans with musculoskeletal conditions by 2017.
Cost of future combat missions
PBO developed a methodology for estimating the cost of providing financial benefits to Veterans of future conflicts. The estimated cost of Veterans disability benefits as a result of a single year of military operations similar to those experienced in Afghanistan in 2007, would be $145.2 million over the period of 2017 to 2025.