MP McLeod comments on disabled veteran’s benefits

letter to the editor from Cathy McLeod, MP - on disable veteran's benefits

To the editor;

I am writing in regards to benefits available to injured veterans. Unfortunately there has been much inaccurate information publicized about what veterans actually do receive. Veterans receive much more than a single ‘lump-sum payment’ when a debilitating injury is suffered, as has been popularized in recent months.

The lump-sum referred to is the payment between Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Service Income Security Insurance Program (SISIP). This is up to a total of $548,000, which is tax free. Since the New Veterans Charter was updated in 2011, veterans have the option of receiving the Disability Award (the VAC portion of the payment) all at once or in incremental payments over time.

After the Disability Award, disabled veterans start to receive up to $5400 per month, depending on the severity of their injury, which can continue past age 65. This payment, composed of the Permanent Impairment Allowance and Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement continue past age 65, this is not a lump-sum payment, it is ongoing.

Just announced by Minister Fantino, veterans will be able to use up to $75,800 towards education, retraining, career counselling or other services. In the event their condition will not permit them to retrain, their spouse may do so in his place. Disabled veterans get access to the Veterans Independence Program which will shovel their snow, mow their lawn, and clean their house.

Veterans get access to programs to modify their homes and vehicles to meet the requirements of their disabilities. They receive a clothing allowance to cater to the special requirements of their disabilities. All of his medical and mental health requirements are covered. They will have access to one or more of 17 Operational Stress Injury Clinics and 24 Integrated Personnel Support Units that have been established. If the disability prevents a veteran from travelling to a VAC office, medical or other facility; doctors, nurses or case workers will go to the veteran’s house.

In an example used by the Veterans Ombudsman, a medically released 24 year old Corporal will receive $2 million dollars from the day he is released until age 65. The two payments mentioned above, which max out at $2,700 per month each, are available to continue on for those with the most serious injuries.

Through eight budgets, our Government has invested almost $5 billion in new funding to enhance Veterans benefits, programs and services. There are of course legitimate issues with the New Veterans Charter that need to be addressed and which we are working very hard to tackle. Our Government recently announced a comprehensive parliamentary review that will seek to make further improvements to the Charter.  Our Government supports our veterans and will continue to work for them. Making completely false claims about the benefits that disabled veterans receive does not help anybody.

Cathy McLeod, MP

Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo