OTTAWA — The federal government is blaming a dramatic increase in the number of military personnel struggling with PTSD and other psychological trauma for a multimillion-dollar shortfall in a government-backed insurance program.
More disabled veterans are also demanding health services and financial support than expected, which has required the government to add more money than expected into the mix.
The government hasn’t said how many more active and retired service members are seeking assistance.
But financial documents tabled in the House of Commons this week show the government is being forced to contribute an additional $800 million to take care of active and retired service members who have been injured while in uniform.
That includes $623 million to address the shortfall in the insurance program, which is known as the Service Income Security Insurance Plan, and $177 million in additional funding for Veterans Affairs Canada.
The government says the increased demand comes from more awareness about supports available, but experts have long warned that it will take years to reach a full understanding of the psychological cost of the war in Afghanistan.
The Canadian Press