The Winds of Change are Blowing!

Ottawa, ON - March 17, 2015

In the last week, the Minister of Veterans Affairs made two announcements that addressed longstanding issues of concern to Veterans and their families:

  • After 65 financial security for moderately to severely disabled Veterans and their families: On March 9 the Minister announced a proposed new financial benefit – the Retirement Income Security Benefit – that would provide these Veterans with continued assistance in the form of a monthly income support payment beginning at age 65.
  • Parity for Veteran Reservists: On March 13, the Minister announced that beginning in April 2015, all Veterans of the Reserve Force eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) will be ensured a minimum annual income of $42,426, which is the current ELB of a basic corporal in the Regular Force.

I see this as a wind of change for Veterans and their families.

Yes, the devil is in the details – and I am trying to nail those details down as fast as possible to share them with you – but, at the same time, I want you to know that I am pleased with the work Minister O’Toole has done in his first 10 weeks as Minister of Veterans Affairs. He’s a Veteran and he brings with him respect for his fellow Veterans and their families. I’ve worked with him closely enough to know that he understands the issues and is passionate about getting the job done.

Of course, the Minister and I won’t agree on everything, but respectful dialogue can lead to progress. And, now that we’ve started moving forward, I want to make sure that we keep going in that direction and don’t lose momentum.

I am ready to work with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the staff at Veterans Affairs Canada to help ensure that the implementation of these new measures is fair to Veterans and their families in terms of adequacy, sufficiency and accessibility and is completed quickly. My Office will monitor progress on an ongoing basis to make sure that it achieves the effect intended.

In conclusion, I want to thank all Veterans’ advocates, Veterans’ organizations, individual Veterans and their families, and other stakeholders across Canada who have worked so hard in recent years to promote the needs of Veterans and their families. Without the dedication and perseverance of all of you, we wouldn’t be where we are today!  

Guy Parent

Veterans Ombudsman

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Comments

Christina Henderson said:

Do you have any info on the changes coming to PIA eligibility? I read the "backgrounder" on the VAC site and honestly, I was pretty shocked at the examples they gave of people who wouldn't have qualified previously, but who apparently will now. ie, people with pretty serious mobility issues who previously didn't qualify. I specifically would like to know about the criteria in relation to those with a psychological injury.

March 31, 2015 1:40 PM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Hi Ms. Henderson, thank you for your comment. We continue to press for more details about PIA eligibility but unfortunately do not have the information required to answer your questions at this time. As we receive any details we will certainly be sharing them on this platform.

March 31, 2015 4:18 PM

Bill Leavey said:

Is the SiSIP Disability Benefit included in calculations for the Retirement Income Benefit?

March 18, 2015 6:24 PM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Thank you for your question Mr. Leavey. We are still awaiting the technical details on the Retirement Income Security Benefit. We have asked questions to the same effect as your own, and will share the details as soon as we can.

 

March 24, 2015 5:13 PM

Rob Simpson said:

The Retirement Income announcement has come as a wonderful surprise as 65 in in but 5 short years. The Reserve parity on ELB is just and fair. Keep moving forward is all Veterans ask. I personally want to say Thank You.

March 17, 2015 11:05 PM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Thank you Mr. Simpson for your kind words. We are thrilled to hear that this benefit will be of assistance to you. We have many to thank for this change as it was a collective effort by all who advocate for improvements for Veterans.

 

March 25, 2015 9:10 AM