Wounded vets see 20 per cent income drop; less satisfied with life: surveys

Two new reports from Statistics Canada say full-time soldiers are more likely to have chronic physical and mental conditions upon returning to civilian life and those medically discharged can expect a 20 per cent drop in income.

OTTAWA — Two new reports from Statistics Canada say full-time soldiers are more likely to have chronic physical and mental conditions upon returning to civilian life and those medically discharged can expect a 20 per cent drop in income.

The studies, released Thursday, paint a detailed portrait of the quality of life and financial burdens of the country’s former service members between 1998 and 2013.

The Pre- and Post-Release Income survey looked at the tax and Veterans Affairs records of 70,771 ex-soldiers and found that both regular and reserve members experienced an income decline on shedding their uniforms.

Full-time members, most of them in their mid-40s with no medical condition and who quit or retired, saw an average income decline of two per cent, but that figure jumped to 11 per cent if the ex-soldier sought rehabilitation or training services at the veterans’ department.

And if the veteran was released because of physical wounds or post-traumatic stress, the salary drop was even steeper.

The Health and Well-Being of Canadian Armed Forces Veterans found that when asked, regular force veterans rated their health more poorly than the general population, their sense of community belonging as lower and they were less often satisfied with life than most Canadians.

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