If I had a magic wand, what would I do with Veterans' Benefits?

Ottawa, ON - February 25, 2016

Yesterday at the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, I was asked what I would change if I could do whatever I wanted with Veterans’ benefits. This is the question we should all be asking.

History has shown that changes to Veterans’ benefits are too often incremental and/or reactive. For the most part, they are based on individual circumstances. Many of these changes did not consider what strategic outcomes were to be achieved for all Veterans and their families.

So, if I had a magic wand, I would start with a clean sheet of paper. I would list all the outcomes we need to achieve to support Veterans and their families. I would consider outcomes, such as:

  • financial security for life;
  • best possible health care;
  • fair compensation for pain and suffering;
  • a successful transition to a new job or to the best possible quality of life, if unable to work; and
  • informed Veteran-centric service delivery with timely decisions. 

Then I would design the benefits and administrative processes to achieve these outcomes. Without a clear understanding of Veteran outcomes, tinkering with existing benefits is a recipe for evolving complexity and disappointment. 

Read my full remarks from yesterday's appearance in front of the Senate Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Guy Parent
Veterans Ombudsman

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Comments

Kenneth said:

Dear Sir, I would ensure our Veterans had would have awards plus disability pensions. Veterans need to have an income that will not put them below 90% of their former income prior to leaving the Forces. Ensure veterans needs are met with excellent case managers who can appreciate and work with the emotional, physical and those with mental health issues. Personally, I feel left outside when trying to contact my case manager, is very difficult to get together with to lay out some kind of plan of action for me. So I would hope we could get that balanced out which know is hard to do. This would be a huge undertaking and I appreciate all that your office is trying to do. - Kenneth

June 29, 2016 6:33 PM

TTrooper Wareing said:

Further to my ongoing battle. ON MY CASE WITH VAC ON A DISABILITY VERTIGO WHICH WAS IDENTIFIED IN YEAR 2006 IN THAT CASE I THOUGHT I WAS COVERED WITH THE HEARING ,TINNITUS,AND PTSD BUT LATER ON FOUND THAT I WAS NOT COVERED FOR VERTIGO I AM AT PRESENT ON APPEAL WITH THE ADVOCATE OFFICE,AND AS REQUESTED WENT TO A NEUROLOGY DOCTOR WHO AFTER STUDYING MY HISTORY AND THE EVENTS ON HILL 355 OCT 1952 ON THE NEAR HIT BY A SUPPOSED 122 MM SHELL ON THE FRONT OF THE TANK OF WHICH I WAS IN A SLIT TRENCH THE PROTECTION WAS SAND BAGS OF DIRT,ETC.THE EVENTS FOLLOWING THE BATTLE ON 23 OCT 1952,WHILE I REMEMBER THE START OF THE BATTLE AROUND 6 P.M,I DO NOT REMEMBER THE REST OF THE BATTLE OR THE END.ACCORDING TO THE NEUROLGIST THE PREVIOUS NEAR HIT FOLLOWED BY THE INCOMMING SHELL BLASTS OF UP TO 1000 ROUNDS IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES WAS THE CAUSE OF MY HIDDEN WOUNDS RELATED TO THOSE EVENTS AND MY MEMORY LOSS.HOW CAN A SOLDIER,HOW CAN ONE GO TO A MASH UNIT WITH NO VISABLE WOUNDS,THEY ARE HIDDEN WHO EVER HEARD OF PTSD ETC AT THOSE YEARS FOLLOWING UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.MY PRESENT CASE IS NOT FOR THE MONEY,IT IS FOR THE CURRENT AND FUTURE MILITARY PEOPLE WHO COULD HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY BLAST EXPOSURE.THIS IS A QUESTION ON HONOR AND TRUTH AND FAIR PLAY FOR THOSE FOLLOWING ME,PLEASE DO NOT HIDE YOUR HIDDEN WOUNDS FOR THE IDEA THAT YOU WILL BE SHOWN TO BE WEAK AS A PERSON ,OR NOT DOING YOUR DUTY,I TRIED THAT AND NOW I PAY FOR IT.THE VERTIGO IS ONLY A SMALL ISSUE ON WHAT I NOW RECEIVE NOW FROM VAC,BUT PRINCIPLE JUSTICE AND HONOR IS THE POINT HERE.GOOD LUCK TO ALL THOSE WHO SERVE CANADA.

June 9, 2016 12:28 PM

TTrooper Wareing said:

Further to my ongoing battle. ON MY CASE WITH VAC ON A DISABILITY VERTIGO WHICH WAS IDENTIFIED IN YEAR 2006 IN THAT CASE I THOUGHT I WAS COVERED WITH THE HEARING ,TINNITUS,AND PTSD BUT LATER ON FOUND THAT I WAS NOT COVERED FOR VERTIGO I AM AT PRESENT ON APPEAL WITH THE ADVOCATE OFFICE,AND AS REQUESTED WENT TO A NEUROLOGY DOCTOR WHO AFTER STUDYING MY HISTORY AND THE EVENTS ON HILL 355 OCT 1952 ON THE NEAR HIT BY A SUPPOSED 122 MM SHELL ON THE FRONT OF THE TANK OF WHICH I WAS IN A SLIT TRENCH THE PROTECTION WAS SAND BAGS OF DIRT,ETC.THE EVENTS FOLLOWING THE BATTLE ON 23 OCT 1952,WHILE I REMEMBER THE START OF THE BATTLE AROUND 6 P.M,I DO NOT REMEMBER THE REST OF THE BATTLE OR THE END.ACCORDING TO THE NEUROLGIST THE PREVIOUS NEAR HIT FOLLOWED BY THE INCOMMING SHELL BASTS OF UP TO 1000 ROUNDS IN THE FIRST 10 MINUTES WAS THE CAUSE OF MY HIDDEN WOUNDS RELATED TO THOSE EVENTS AND MY MEMORY LOSS.HOW CAN A SOLDIER,HOW CAN ONE GO TO A MASH UNIT WITH NO VISABLE WOUNDS,THEY ARE HIDDEN WHO EVER HEARD OF PTSD ETC AT THOSE YEARS FOLLOWING UP TO THE PRESENT TIME.MY PRESENT CASE IS NOT FOR THE MONEY,IT IS FOR THE CURRENT AND FUTURE MILITARY PEOPLE WHO COULD HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY BLAST EXPOSURE.THIS IS A QUESTION ON HONOR AND TRUTH AND FAIR PLAY FOR THOSE FOLLOWING ME,PLEASE DO NOT HIDE YOUR HIDDEN WOUNDS FOR THE IDEA THAT YOU WILL BE SHOWN TO BE WEAK AS A PERSON ,OR NOT DOING YOUR DUTY,I TRIED THAT AND NOW I PAY FOR IT.THE VERTIGO IS ONLY A SMALL ISSUE ON WHAT I NOW RECEIVE NOW FROM VAC,BUT PRINCIPLE JUSTICE AND HONOR IS THE POINT HERE.GOOD LUCK TO ALL THOSE WHO SERVE CANADA.

June 9, 2016 12:27 PM

BRUCE WAREING said:

OTHER THAN MEDICAL FACTS SHOWN ON A VETERANS A FAIR REVIEW ON THE EFFECTS OF SHELL FIRE,LIKE A SITUATION OF THE EFFECTS OF A BLAST INJURY CAUSING CONCUSSION AND A MEMORY LOSS.A VETERAN SUBJECT TO THIS TYPE OF INJURY DOES NOT HAVE A WALK IN CLINIC TO GO TO AND THE REAL HIDDEN WOUND LAYS HIDDEN BY THE SOLDIER WHO DOES NOT EVEN REMEMBER THE LAST EVENTS AND DOES NOT WANT TO THINK OR HAVE THE MEDICAL ASSISTANCE AT THE TIME.VAC NEEDS MORE THAN JUST REVIEWING HIS POSSIBLE CONCUSSION HIDDEN INJURY FOR YEARS.IE PROOF OF VERTIGO.TRUST OF A POSSIBLE CAUSE.

March 31, 2016 7:46 PM

Daniel said:

Bonjour, je ne suis pas certain que mon premier texte est partis... un petit problème avec google Chrome. Je suis pensionner pour sspt depuis 2002. Vous avez parfaitement raison et l'approche approprié. Si j'avais eu à décider pour un montant forfaitaire ou une pension (que j'ai présentement) je ne suis pas certain que j'aurais pris la bonne décision à l'époque. On ne sais jamais comment la vie va faire les choses et dans mon cas je me serais ramassé dans un beau pétrin. Je voulais travailler et continuer ma vie à faire autres choses. La réalité c'est que je suis devenu en invalidé permanente à cause de mon SSPT. Ayant une pension militaire, une assurance invalidité (avec sissip) et la pension médicale je peux vivre sans le stress des factures de fin de mois. On ne sais jamais ce qui peut arriver et ceux qui pense à un montant forfaitaire non aucune idée dans quoi il s,embarque. C'est comme prendre une assurance, tu ne sais jamais si elle va servir ou si elle va servir. Lorsque tu en a besoin tu est très heureux de l'avoir pris. Je souhaite que la sécurité financière des vétérans et leur famille soit une réalité pour des générations à venir. On a déjà assé de soucis avec notre santé et le quotidien sans ajouter le côté financier. Au début avant de recevoir ces pensions et l'assurance il me manquait 100$ par mois pour arriver. J'ai fais appel à ma soeur pour m'aider à ce moment là. encore là, chanceux de l'avoir eux. Ma femme travaillait mais au salaire minimum, alors ce n'est pas le gros lot. J'attends et lie que maintenant il y a deux salaires dans les couples alors ils sont mieux! C'est encore penser pour les vétérans. Le bon salaire des un ne fais pas un bon salaire pour l'autre. Et lorsque toi tu ne fais plus de salaire sauf une pension à 21,000$, tu ne va pas loin avec ça. Sans oublié lorsqu'il y a des programmes écrits pour les vétérans, il se peut et cela arrive tout le temps, il y en a qui ne corresponderont pas exactement au programme. Dans ces cas-ci le vétérans est dans le trouble parce que les agents, gestionnaires de cas ne peuvent pas nous aider parce que cela n'est pas écrit. On nous aide pas on nous dit de faire appel. Tout cela est excessivement demandant dans notre situation psychologique. Et si personne d'autre n'est là pour t'aider tu ne reçois aucun service. Maintenant que j'approche des 65 ans je me demande ce qui va me rester comme revenu. On verra. Merci pour votre excellent travail. Continuons à travailler pour le bien-être des générations future de vétérans et leur famille.

February 25, 2016 8:36 PM

Office of the Veterans Ombudsman

Thank you Daniel for your comment and for sharing your experience with our readers. I have no doubt it will be of assistance to many. Rest assure that we will continue to work to achieve better support for Veterans and their families.

February 28, 2016 9:00 PM