Veterans, how They Are Treated in the World

Veterans, how They Are Treated in the World

Veterans, how They Are Treated in the World

 Veterans Statistics at a Glance (USA):

Veteran Population:

Veteran Facilities:

Veteran Benefits and Health Care Utilization:

Health concerns:

Key findings - Data from the National Health Interview Survey, 2007–2010

  • Veterans were more likely than nonveterans to report having two or more chronic conditions.
  • Veterans reported serious psychological distress more often than nonveterans; but less than 5% of both veterans and nonveterans reported serious psychological distress.
  • Veterans had work limitations more often than nonveterans.
  • Veterans were more likely than nonveterans to have health insurance.

Veterans reported serious psychological distress more often than nonveterans

Poverty rate with Veterans

Veterans have lower overall rates of poverty than Non-Veterans.  The Veteran poverty growth rate is less than that of Non-Veterans; however, Veteran poverty is rising. 

  • The poverty rate for Veterans between the ages of 18 to 34 are higher than all other age groups.

  • Disabled Veterans have higher poverty rates than disabled non-Veterans for all age groups except over age 65. Veteran poverty trends need monitoring due to higher poverty rates in disabled Veterans.

  • The rate of Veterans living in households in receipt of SNAP benefits is lower than that of NonVeterans, however, the growth rate of Veterans in SNAP households is increasing sharply.

  • Higher rates of poverty in Gulf War Veterans are notable.

  • Service-connected disabled Veterans have significantly lower rates of poverty than disabled nonVeterans.

  • Veteran poverty is not uniform across America and is clustered in states located in the Southeast and Northwest United States.

  • Suicide - Recent veterans have a suicide rate 50% higher than the general population.

  • Suicide among military personnel and young Veterans remains a health concern. Within the National Violent Death Reporting System participating states, an estimated 262 (33%) current military suicides occurred in just ten (1.0%) counties, and 391 (33%) Veteran suicides occurred in 33 (3.4%) counties. Mental health and intimate partner problems were common precipitating circumstances, and some circumstances differed between cases in high- versus those in medium/low density counties.” (Source: Am J Prev Med 2016;51(5S3):S197–S208).

    “A recent large-scale study undertaken by the National Institute of Mental Health reviewed the records of nearly 1.3 million veterans who served in and left the military between 2001 and 2007. Researchers found that 1,868 veterans committed suicide during that period, a rate equivalent to 29.5 per 100,000 veterans or 50% higher than the comparable civilian demographic.

Long wait time - Many of those killing themselves were stuck in long wait times for mental health care.

A larger review found that up to 1 in 5 of 4,000 vets referred to outside treatment never actually received any outside care.

While some states like New Mexico have begun offering free mental health care for veterans, many former service members still find it difficult to get help. Many veterans report that the services they do actually receive for ailments like post-traumatic stress disorder are inadequate, with one American Legion survey finding that 59% of veterans feel their PTSD symptoms have not improved or gotten worse despite a 61% increase in the VA's mental health care budget since President Barack Obama took office.

Wait times -  for other basic medical services are still absurd.

Nationally, a USA Today published an investigation in November 2014 that found that 600,000 veterans or 10% of the total VA patient load waited at least a month to get an appointment at a hospital or clinic. While the number of worst-case scenarios (those waiting long than four months) had dropped a sharp 57% since May, some facilities such as those in Jacksonville, Florida, and Baltimore, Maryland, still had average wait times well over 60 days for basic primary care.

Homelessness - among veterans is extraordinarily high.

According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, roughly 12% of the adult homeless population are veterans, and around 50,000 veterans are homeless on any given day. The group further alleges that 1.4 million vets "are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing."

Unemployment - among recent vets is much higher than in the general population.

The number of veterans without jobs has fallen sharply in recent years, thanks in part to aggressive action by the Obama administration to hire more former soldiers for federal jobs. According to the Washington Post, the Office of Personnel Management data shows that 33% of all new hires in 2014 were veterans.

But post-9/11 veterans still struggle with an unemployment rate standing at 7.2% as of March, and the Call of Duty Endowment told Reuters that male veterans aged 18 to 24 suffer from a staggering 17.3% unemployment rate. In 2011, post-9/11 veteran unemployment peaked at nearly 12%.”

Health Needs and Barriers to Seeking Health Care of Veteran Students in the Community:

Lack of Motivation to Improve Health (Individual Belief)—Veterans expressed several beliefs about health. A feeling of “disconnection” after returning from deployment was prevalent and this affected their sense of overall health and well-being, both emotionally and physically, as well as their desire to seek health care.

Concern about Social Exclusion and Stigma (Individual Belief)—In addition to their personal feeling of disconnection, veterans were concerned that veteran status and stigma may exclude them from employment and thus were hesitant to seek health care for any conditions that may lead to their being excluded.

Social Interactions and Behavior (Individual Belief)—The emphasis of military culture on self-reliance may promote further isolation, even if health or emotional needs are not being met

Limited Access to Affordable and Convenient Health Care (Modifying Factor)—Veterans expressed frustration about not having access to affordable health care.

Unmet Basic Needs for Self and Family (Modifying Factor)—For many veterans, basic needs such as housing and employment or providing for their families overshadowed any focus on health needs.

Academics Competing with Health Needs (Modifying Factor)—Veteran students took their studies seriously.

Veterans face a range of personal, societal, and logistical barriers to accessing care. In addition to decreasing wait times for appointments, efforts to improve the transition to civilian life, reduce stigma, and offer assistance related to work, housing, and convenient access to health care may improve health in veteran.

Veterans' experiences around the world


Britain, with its historic distrust of standing armies, did little for its veterans before the 19th century. It did set up two small hospitals for them in the 1680s. In London and other cities the streets teemed with disabled or disfigured veterans begging for alms.

In the 21st century Britain has one of the highest densities of veterans in a major country, with 13 million in 2000, or 219 per 1000 population.

The Congo

Some veterans from the Belgian commitment of the Congolese to WWII live in communities throughout the Congo. Though they received compensation from the government during the rule of the dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, after his overthrow they no longer receive pensions.

The United States

Veterans' benefits in the United States

Due to medical advances, warfare in the 21st century tends to yield more survivors with severe injuries which soldiers in previous wars would have died from. This means that, though fewer service members die, more return from war with injuries more serious, and in turn more emotionally devastating, than ever before. Among these injuries is the increasingly common traumatic brain injury, or TBI, the effects of which can range from a mild concussion to amnesia and serious neurological damage.

Female veterans in the U.S.

Women have served in the United States military for over two hundred years. Some female veterans perceive themselves as discriminated against by their male counterparts and, as such, women who have served in the armed forces have sometimes been known as "the invisible veterans".

Health effects of military service and treatment for veterans

The effect of active military service can be profound and lasting, and some veterans have found it difficult to adjust to normal life again. Figures from 2009 showed that twice as many veterans were in prison than there were British troops currently in Afghanistan. Homelessness, street-sleeping and relationship breakdown are also commonly reported. Research done by the UK homelessness charity CRISIS (1994) and the Ex-Services Action Group (1997) both found that a quarter of homeless people had previously served in the armed forces. The Times newspaper reported on 25 September 2009 that in England and Wales the number of "military veterans in jail has more than doubled in six years". Another Times article of the same date quoted the veterans mental health charity Combat Stress reporting a 53% increase in referrals from doctors.


There were an estimated 57849 homeless veterans estimated in the United States during January 2013; or 12 percent of all homeless adults. Just under 8 percent of homeless U.S. veterans are female.


An article in the London Metro on 28 January 2010 was titled "Veterans prone to suicide" and cited a report by the Mental Health Foundation which said that not enough was being done to care for the Afghanistan war veterans, and many "plunged into alcohol problems, crime and suicide" upon their return. Indeed, in the U.S., the suicide rate among veterans is 300% the national average. They account for 30% of the suicides in the US annually. Support services were found to be patchy from area to area.

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD)

PTSD is a condition that affects a significant number of veterans. Studies involving veterans with combat-related PTSD indicate that between 4-17% of United States veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD. There United Kingdom counterparts however, have significantly lower number of just 3-6%.

Veterans under the age of 25 are at higher risk for PTSD than veterans older than 25. Younger veterans with severe PTSD are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome and suicide.

Other disorders

Veterans are at higher risk than the general population for several disorders, especially younger veterans (those younger than 25). Younger veterans are at increased risk for drug use disorders, alcohol abuse disorders, and mental illnesses in general.

Difference of attention and treatment from one country to another for Veterans

US Government Accounting Office Report , is a very well documented outline comparing the various benefits for disabled veterans of Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Finland.  While each country’s offering of programs is very different, there is general consistency in the services and benefits available to support a Veteran’s re-establishment to civilian life following a transition from military service.

For the most part, Canada and Australia most closely resemble the “wellness” approach practiced in the United Kingdom and the U.S., with the exception of dental care.

There were strikingly different approaches to caring for disabled veterans when broken down into category.

US, spends far more on military expenditures than the five representative countries in the report and nearly 50% of the entire world’s military expenditures.

US Benefits to :

Disabled Veterans - Compensation for disabled war veterans based on need (called the
Pension program in the United States). This program provides cash to permanently and totally disabled wartime veterans and their survivors, usually for non-service-connected disabilities, based on their financial need.

Military disability retirement, This program, administered by the Department of Defense, provides cash benefits to active-duty service members who become physically unfit to perform duties required of their grade, office, rank, or rating, and their survivors. This program provides comprehensive health care to eligible veterans and some dependents and survivors.

Education benefits. This program provides cash for the educational needs of veterans and, in some cases, their dependents and survivors.

Job assistance. These programs fund training and job placement assistance, including set-aside preferences for federal civil service employment for veterans with service-connected disabilities and some dependents and survivors, as well as some soon-to-be, newly enacted preferences for employment in the private sector.

Housing benefits. This program provides a guaranty to lenders against financial loss pertaining to the acquisition, building, refinance, or repair of a home by veterans, active-duty military personnel, and certain surviving spouses.

Burial benefits. This program provides burial in national cemeteries for veterans, spouses, and dependent children and allowances on behalf of disabled veterans and their survivors for such items as headstones, plots, and flags.

Life insurance. This program provides life insurance to military personnel and certain veterans largely at their own expense.

Major Similarities and Differences

Most countries provide specific health care programs for disabled veterans. The United States is the only country that provides educational benefits to veterans.

Job assistance - The United States and two other countries, Canada, and Germany, have job assistance programs specifically for veterans (disabled and otherwise), but the United States, in the soon-to-be-enacted legislation will also have private sector job creation employment benefits as well.

Life Insurance Programs - Only The United States and Canada have life insurance programs for disabled veterans. Needs-based compensation is provided to survivors by the United States and four of the other

Survivors military disability retirement benefits - are computed differently among the countries, but all are not equal. No opinion was expressed which was more lucrative, just that all countries recognize the need and do provide such benefits.

Housing Benefits - All of the countries in the study provide housing related benefits to all veterans, although the types of benefits differ widely. The United States assists veterans in buying a home by providing loan guarantees. PLUS the U.S. provides grants to veterans who are severely disabled for adapting their homes to manage their disability or gaining handicap access. Additionally, the benefits extend to $40,000 of mortgage life insurance (to cover these home adaptations), with premiums to be paid by the veteran. Some of the other countries provide home buying assistance, while others provide funds for home adaptation, but none provide both.

Burial Benefits - All countries provide burial benefits for veterans. The three European countries, however, limit these benefits to veterans whose death was the result of, or who had service-connected disabilities.

The United States and two other countries, Australia and Germany, offer special health care benefits to survivors, but the United States provides more types of benefits to veteran survivors than the other countries included in the study.

Education benefits - U.S. survivor’s education benefits differ from the other countries, and the United States is the only country, that provides education benefits for surviving spouses. Other countries provide educational benefits only to the children of disabled or deceased veterans.

Other benefits - The United States is one of three counties, the other two are Australia and Germany, that provide survivor burial benefits. In the U.S., spouses and dependent children of living and deceased veterans–whether disabled or not-are eligible to be buried in a national cemetery. In Australia, widows and children of deceased veterans are eligible for a grant to help pay for funeral costs. In Germany, funeral benefits are provided to (1) a widow who leaves a child who has rights to orphans’ compensation or (2) other survivors who have a right to compensation.

And lastly, in using hypothetical cases the United States would compensate for more types of disabilities than the other countries.

Last update 12th of September 2018