Half of Canada’s wounded soldiers not being compensated
A new report released Tuesday by Canada’s Veterans watchdog reveals that the Conservatives have been lying to Canadians about their commitment to taking care of veterans.
Veterans ombudsman, Guy Parent introduced his report with a blog post titled “Myth Busting Veterans Access to New Veterans Charter Lifetime Monthly Benefits.” The post began with:
“Many severely disabled Veterans cannot access lifetime monthly allowances designed to compensate for their loss of earning capacity.”
Q: True or False?
Parent went on to state his case. Turns out almost 50 per cent of Canada’s “most severely disabled ex-soldiers are not receiving a government allowance intended to compensate them for their physical and mental wounds.”
Parent’s report shatters the myths Conservatives have been spreading all along. The Harper Conservatives do not care about Canada’s veterans.
Earlier this year, Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino told the House of Commons veterans committee: “In some cases, a veteran can receive over $10,000 a month in financial compensation. This is in addition to two major tax-free award payments totalling in excess of up to a half-million dollars.”
On the eve of celebrations commemorating Canada’s contributions to World War 1 and National Peacekeepers Day, Fantino released a chart claiming that the benefits ranged from $6,743 per month to $10,260 per month. The chart was posted on the Veterans Affairs’ Facebook Page and Twitter account.
VAC financial supports per month available to eligible seriously injured Veterans http://t.co/j5yd0BkK2X
— Veterans Affairs CA (@VeteransENG_CA) July 31, 2014
In his blog post, Parent explained:
Almost 50 percent of Veterans, who Veterans Affairs Canada determines to be totally and permanently incapacitated, are not receiving the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) and/or the Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement (PIAS). The reasons for this situation are not entirely clear because Veterans Affairs Canada does not track why totally and permanently incapacitated Veterans are not receiving the benefits. Approximately 100 of these Veterans are in receipt of the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance (EIA) provided under the Pension Act and, therefore, are not eligible for the PIA and the PIAS. However, we also know that some Veterans may not be eligible for these benefits because their conditions do not satisfy the current definition of permanent and severe impairment.
Of the Veterans who are receiving the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA), 90 percent are awarded the lowest grade level, even though they may suffer from a permanent and severe impairment that has a profound impact on their employment and career progression opportunities. A recent chart published by Veterans Affairs Canada showing a comparison of supports available to seriously injured Veterans seems to indicate that all seriously injured Veterans could receive this benefit and at the highest rate. However, the statistics demonstrate that in reality this is not happening.
So, it is fair to say that many severely disabled Veterans cannot access lifetime monthly allowances designed to compensate for their loss of earning capacity.
Fantino and the Conservatives must be reminded that they have an obligation to improve Canadian veterans’ access to the compensation they have already earned by fighting for our rights and freedoms.
As the ombudsman put it: “These Veterans deserve no less.”
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