Ben­e­fit pack­age still falls shorts, states writer

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

Re­cently, the min­is­ter of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs an­nounced that the Con­ser­va­tive gov­er­ment was tak­ing care of vet­er­ans and sol­diers by mak­ing changes to the new Vet­er­ans Char­ter.

What Cana­di­ans and the me­dia were un­aware of is this: The lump sum pay­ment is now able to be spread out over time. That in it­self seems rea­son­able, but you must un­der­stand, if the sol­dier dies be­fore it is all col­lected, it does not get dis­pursed and the fam­ily gets noth­ing. With the old monthly pay­ment, the fam­ily con­tin­ued to re­ceive 50 per cent of the monthly pay­ment for the rest of their life.

If the sol­dier or vet­eran takes the full lump sum, that is it. Our govern­ment loves to put dol­lar signs next to their facts but the fact of the mat­ter is, they al­ways state the max­i­mum amount, for which the sol­dier has to be dead to re­ceive that amount. Most sol­diers and vet­er­ans are turned down by Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Canada and never re­ceive any com­pen­sa­tion.

Those who do get their claim ap­proved re­ceive be­tween $13,000 to $40,000, not much when you con­sider they will lose their job as a sol­dier.

The Con­ser­va­tive gov­er­ment tells ev­ery­one that a sol­dier or vet­eran will re­ceive a min­i­mum of $40,000 per year. That’s not the govern­ment pay­ing them, it’s the 75 per cent from Man­ulife un­der the long term dis­abil­ity SISIP. If a sol­dier or vet­eran does not take re­hab train­ing or prove they are not able to work, that pay­ment is dis­con­tin­ued.

At 65, the Man­ulife in­surance ends, leav­ing the vet­eran with Canada Pen­sion Plan and Old Age Se­cu­rity.

The Con­ser­va­tive gov­er­ment also sold the won­der­ful ad­di­tional pay­ment of $ 1,000 per month for se­verely in­juried sol­diers in Afghanistan. Good news, right? Well it doesn’t cover those who were se­verely in­jured al­ready; it only ap­plies to those in­jured in the fu­ture. Even when a sol­dier be­comes se­verely in­jured in the fu­ture they will lose their job and the $1,000 per month will be de­ducted from the Man­ulife in­surance pay­ment, so the sol­dier will not have ex­tra, only Man­ulife ben­e­fits.

The $58,000 for se­verely in­jured sol­diers is an­other spin. What most don’t re­al­ize is that it will not be­come law un­til it passes the Se­nate and then, if it does pass, will only be for sol­diers in­jured in “ bat­tle.” Our troops will cease to be in “ bat­tle” in July 2011, the same time this won­der­ful leg­is­la­tion is to be­gin.

The catch is a sol­dier will be “train­ing only” so the clause of in­jured in bat­tle will never fit the sce­nario. There­fore, a sol­dier will NEVER qual­ify for the $58,000 be­cause they were train­ing, not in bat­tle. It’s not retroac­tive to those who may be in­jured in bat­tle be­tween now and July 2011.

Once again our won­der­ful bean coun­ters have taken the time to give the Cana­dian pub­lic and the me­dia the old “smoke and mir­ror” show. Con artists would ap­plaud the way our govern­ment can de­ceive us. Robin Brent­nall, CD

Gambo

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