Veterans Ombud Releases Report: Full and Fair Payment of Pain and Suffering Compensation

Ottawa ON

March 22, 2024, Ottawa, ON – Veterans Ombud Colonel (Ret’d) Nishika Jardine released a report today on the unfairness inherent in Veterans Affairs Canada’s (VAC) Pain and Suffering Compensation (PSC) benefit. The PSC benefit compensates Veterans for disabilities related to their service. How VAC pays the PSC benefit directly affects what happens to Veterans’ compensation when they die. 

The Office of the Veterans Ombud (OVO) launched a systemic review upon receiving a complaint from the family of a Veteran who died shortly after VAC had rendered a favourable Pain and Suffering Compensation (PSC) decision, but before the Veteran was able to elect to receive the benefit as a lump sum. 

In accordance with VAC legislation, no member of this Veteran’s family or estate could apply to receive the remaining value of the lump sum because they were neither the surviving spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child of the late Veteran. 

“This limitation creates a systemic unfairness for single Veterans without dependent children who die without choosing the PSC lump sum payment,” said the Veterans Ombud. “It may be more likely to affect Veterans whose family members and loved ones fall outside of those relationships defined by legislation – legislation that takes the traditional nuclear family as its model and may privilege heterosexual men.” 

The Veterans Ombud recommended that Veterans Affairs Canada resolve the unfairness, potentially through a legislative provision that automatically deems Veterans to have elected the lump sum the day before their death. This would allow the lump sum, minus any monthly amounts that had already been issued, to be paid out to the estate. Additionally, the Veterans Ombud recommended that until the unfairness is addressed, Veterans must receive clear and detailed information explaining what happens if they die without electing the lump sum.  

While I acknowledge that VAC corrected the unfairness for this particular family, there are other families who have been similarly affected by the PSC payment model. That is why the OVO launched this systemic review and is releasing this report today.” – Veterans Ombud Colonel (Ret’d) Nishika Jardine 

The Office of the Veterans Ombud reviews complaints, and challenges the policies and decisions of Veterans Affairs Canada where we find individual or systemic unfairness. We strive to be an independent and respected voice for fairness and a champion for the well-being of Veterans and their families. 

Link to report:

Media Relations Contact: 
Lucille Hodgins 
Tel: 613-617-7205

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