Budget 2017 Addresses Veterans Ombudsman’s Recommendations
Ottawa, ON - March 24, 2017
New Benefits for Veterans and their Families
Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent is cautiously optimistic about Budget 2017, which contains eight new or enhanced benefits for Veterans and their families. Now halfway through its mandate, the Government is taking steps to ensure that Veterans and their families receive the support they need and deserve.
“I am pleased that the Government is taking my recommendations seriously and is moving forward on several of them,” said Mr. Parent. Several of the announcements, including the elimination of the time-limit for spouses and survivors to access vocational rehabilitation, expanding access to the Military Family Resource Centers, improved outreach to families, closing the seam for transitioning members, and a benefit for caregivers, directly address recommendations made by the Ombudsman.
Mr. Parent was pleased to see additional support being provided directly to the caregivers of ill and injured Veterans through the new Caregiver Recognition Benefit and is looking forward to seeing the details of how this benefit and the other new benefits announced will be implemented. The new Education and Training Benefit, for example, has the potential to provide significant support to releasing members, including Reservists, who wish to further their education after their service.
There remains, however, an unfairness experienced by New Veterans Charter Veterans, currently not eligible for reimbursement of their treatment expenses while waiting for a decision to be rendered in their case, and this must be addressed. Mr. Parent would also have preferred to see access to Military Family Resource Centres provided to all Veterans, not just those medically releasing.
Mr. Parent commented: “I’d like to see also an overhaul of how services are being delivered to Veterans and their families. It is about reducing wait times for benefits so that the entire experience is more transparent and responsive to their needs.”
“Once the details and an action plan become available, my office will assess the impact of Budget 2017 to determine if it meets the needs of our Veterans and their families, and we will share our findings with the Veterans’ community,” he concluded.
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