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Sociological research: Veterans’ benefits

Legal Hundred NGO together with Kantar Ukraine conducted a sociological research on veterans’ benefits. The results were presented at Ukraine crisis media center on October 4, 2019. The project was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The number of respondents was 1245б who lived in 10 Ukrainian cities with a large population of veterans (Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Odesa, Lviv, Zaporizhzhia, Mariupol, Kryvyi Rih, Zhytomyr, Bila Tserkva). The respondents were people who were veterans according to Ukrainian legislation:  veterans of ATO/OUF, Afghan War, World War II, a person with a disability caused by combat-related service, a person with a disability caused by participation in the Revolution of Dignity.

The methodology of the sociological research included personal interviews. The respondent did not know which benefits were available or unavailable to them.

Questions were about:

  • who is a Ukrainian veteran
  • benefits which exist at the moment and those that could potentially be introduced in the future
  • NGOs which help veterans

Who is a Ukrainian veteran?

92% believe that a veteran is a person which has had direct exposure to military combat.

⅔ of individuals with a disability caused by participation in the Revolution of Dignity considered themselves to be a veteran.

Does the veterans’ social benefits system meet the needs of veterans?

The most popular benefits are those which offer some form of financial support. The six best known and most popular benefits are: free use of public transit, discounts on utilities, free use of long-distance transportation, annual payment on the 5th of May, annual medical examination, additional 14 days paid vacation.

91% veterans were aware of discounts on utilities, 81% have made use of discounts on utilities.

More than 50% of veterans were aware of the possibility of receiving an additional 14 days of paid vacation.

Veterans are most interested in the following benefits: receiving a free plot of land, free dental prosthesis, priority in free housing, financial assistance, receiving a free car. It’s important to mention that not all the benefits that were mentioned above exist on the state level. However, the interviewed respondents, having seen these benefits in the list of possible, indicated that they would like to be able to use them.

There are small groups that are interested in specific benefits:

  • Compensation for rent payments or a home loan for those who have problems with housing.
  • Psychological support and rehabilitation has a mixed perception among veterans. Those who experienced psychological support perceived it positively. Veterans who have not experienced mental trauma were less likely to ask for such support.
  • Free sanatorium treatment together with children – for those who have children.
  • State funding for veterans’ public associations – 4% used it, mostly Afghan war veterans.

Business

1% of veterans have requested assistance from Employment Centres to establish a new business. The reason for these results is that various generations of veterans participated in the survey. However, this does not mean that the state should not assist veterans in starting their own business

Education

The majority of veterans of the ATO/OUF aged 20-39 said that they were interested in free education. Only 14% indicated that they were not interested.

Among benefits that veterans wanted to use, but which are currently of poor quality are: receiving a free plot of land; annual medical examination; free dental prosthesis; priority in free housing.

Violation of rights

⅓ of veterans experienced the violation of their rights. At the same time, only 17% of respondents say that they had a positive experience in protecting their rights as veterans. 43% said that they theoretically knew how to protect their rights, but that they have had no experience in doing so.

Where do veterans get their news?

Online news and word of mouth were the two main sources of information about veterans’ rights and benefits. ATO / OUF veterans receive their news mostly from online news, social networks, and other veterans. Older generation of veterans receive news mostly from television.  The Afghan War veterans are active members of veteran organizations and receive news from such organizations.

60% of veterans said that they knew nothing about NGOs which provide help for veterans in Ukraine.

40% of veterans know about such NGOs or have requested their assistance.

NGOs which help veterans

According to the research, Legal Hundred NGO is the most well-known NGO among veterans.

29% of veterans know about Legal Hundred NGO.

18% of veterans requested assistance from Legal Hundred NGO

Legal assistance is the most popular request (77%). After that comes employment assistance (12%), psychological support (11%), and other (7%). 10% said it is difficult to decide on which type of assistance is required.

76% of veterans who needed free legal support said that Legal Hundred fully or partially provided help for them.

Conclusion

The newly created Ministry of Veterans Affairs and Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons is in charge of all categories of veterans. In this regard, it is important to take into account the opinions of all Ukrainian veterans when writing public policy. Also, the results of the survey should be taken into account when developing amendments to the legislation On The Status of Veterans.

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