According to the recent stats, the US veterans aged 65 and above years are shown to be leading in earning low income and are the most affected by poverty. Being a “veteran” is a good virtue earned by one after showing prowess in a certain field, and one deserves to enjoy more returns after serving for a long time.
The age of 65+ is associated with retirement. One should enjoy retirement life rather than be exposed to harsh conditions at an older stage. As stated by the norm in most states, veterans fall under the wing of governments and are catered for finances.
The bracket of “senior” citizens comprises older generations that can be classified under the vulnerability banner and need government assistance. Statistica presented the findings of a study carried out on the poverty status of veterans in the US by age groups, and the age ranges were 18-34, 35-54, 55-64, then 65 and over [Source].
The outcomes were presented regarding “Income below the poverty line” and “Income above the poverty level.” Figures revealed how many veterans are not financially stable under the Biden administration, and their income is not sufficient to cater to all the basic needs.
According to the presented data, about 490 158 veterans aged 65 and over obtain an income below the poverty level, which is the highest figure compared to other age groups. The 18 to 34 age group had 120 759, with the 35 to 54 recording 239 060 and 55-64 olds were around 289 761.
Clearly, 65+ olds are facing more difficulties in trying to survive by the little cents they receive. Life becomes hard at such an age because many expenses are incurred in buying healthy and nutritious food while other bills are channeled towards health.
Studies carried out in the US showed how “women veterans are more likely to struggle with hunger than male veterans,” and this was evidenced in 2017 when about 27.6% of women veterans were suffering [Source].
A study was conducted on the welfare of US military veterans, and it was concluded that “About 2.8 million Americans have served in uniform since 9/11, and an estimated 200 000 are unemployed according to the government. Many veterans find work in the retail, security, manufacturing, warehousing, and the food and beverage industry, sectors which often pay minimum wage” [Source].
Hunger Action Network of New York State proposed why most veterans plunge into poverty in the US. The leading suggestions were related to substance abuse, leaving most veterans homeless. It was noted that “When service members return from active duty, they’re more likely to face severe financial challenges than civilians.”
Post-traumatic stress disorder conditions enact a lot of life problems ending with one failing to cope with life and delving into debt. Other reasons include lack of support from family or friends and some living in the streets due to a shortage of affordable houses. The organization outlined sentiments by Veterans Inc., which stated that “homeless veterans from the Vietnam War era outnumber the soldiers who died during the war,” and “nearly 3 million veterans and their families don’t have enough to eat each month”.
At the age of 65+, one needs to feed on life savings acquired during their working period, but this has not been the case for many US veterans. Such older members in society need to be the focal point of the Biden government, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastating effects on economic activities.
America eats her babies/young.
Whether one attributes this statement to the title of Funkadelic’s 1972 album or an interview by the late rapper/actor Tupac, the sentiments are somewhat accurate. Service members who were willing to lay down their lives for land and nation they adore finding that this adoration is not reciprocated.
What does life look like after the military?
For many veterans, it isn’t pretty. The lack of jobs and affordable housing doesn’t help. Decades ago, we talked about how Vietnam War veterans were homeless. It’s not just a “Vietnam problem.” Last year, more than 200,000 young veterans were homeless. Many of them were chronically unemployed.
A recent study found an estimated 1.4 million veterans served during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, with as many as 500,000 struggling with their service’s physical or mental health issues. In 2010, more than 2 million veterans from those conflicts had applied for disability benefits, totaling more than $30 billion in benefits awarded per year—and those numbers are increasing.
In a CNN article, Nathaniel Frank discusses how homelessness among veterans is pervasive and on the rise. “But many of the people who have sacrificed for their country are returning home to a nation that doesn’t care enough about them,” he writes.
With a military budget the size of the US’ one would think that a significant portion would be allocated to veterans. But after the US Government shutdown on January 22, 2018, a new budget was drawn with no increase to veterans’ healthcare spending.
There is not enough to support those who have seen combat once they are back among us.
The military recruits from all walks of life. Most of its recruits are from less fortunate communities, and the narrative that “it’s harder if you come from a disadvantaged community” is propagated. But these young men and women are faced with so many challenges once they complete their service. They should be given more than just healthcare benefits; they also need employment opportunities, aid in completing educational programs to help them reintegrate into society.
Legislators’ children and the wealthy ones among us have other career options. They can dodge the draft and service if they so wish. These privileged few create laws and legislation but don’t put themselves in the shoes of those who draft and carry them out, thus creating many problems that the ordinary citizen must live with “until his last breath.”