Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Trooper on Wed 26 Feb 2014, 18:13

Anneteak, you are a fighter, and a good wife to your husband for doing what you have done.
Your fight will not only address your husbands situation, taking the time to write your concerns, will without a doubt also reflect the concerns of Veterans in General.
So thank you for taking the time to address these issues.
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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Trooper on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 20:01

If the NDP would win the next election, Peter Stoffer would do wonders for Veterans in this country. He is truly dedicated in helping Veterans.
Just my thoughts.
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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Guest on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 21:15

Very true! But I also believe the Liberals will also, as written in there new pledge to honour veterans and families. I know the liberal past but if we stay in the pass we never move forward. We all thought the CONS would be there for us but its just cut cut cut and it will never stop because whether anyone wants to believe it or not the CONS hate with a passion any social programs and that includes programs for the disabled, poor , seniors and veterans. They only support the rich.

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 21:29

Hey Trooper, I heartily agree!  Normally, when I hear a politician speaking, I check to see if their lips are moving (so I can tell if they're lying) and then I check to find out just what the benefit is for them in what they're saying.  In the case of Peter Stoffer, however, I firmly believe that we have that oddest of critters, a sincere and honest politician.  He sincerely cares about veterans and he honestly works on their behalf.  It certainly would be nice to have him as MVA.

Right now, we have an MVA who really likes the position but doesn't want to do the job.  Not so sincere, and he should feel ashamed when cashing a paycheque that is compensation for work done.  It would also be great to have a government that is not run by egotists who somehow feel that Canada is a free and sovereign nation because of something they've done.

On a really sad note, I was upset, to put it mildly, to hear that we lost another veteran to PTSD this week (see CBC news.ca).  This on the heels of nine VAC offices being closed because 'there aren't enough veterans using them.'  If the government would stop using their 3D program to Deny claims, Delay the appeals and waiting for the veterans to either Die or just go away,  Arrow    there would be more veterans accessing those same offices.  We are likely losing more veterans to PTSD than we lost on deployment.  We know there are more suicides than just the ones reported as there are 'unexplained accidents' and the military still can't be bothered to complete the boards of inquiry on so many that occurred in the past ten or so years.  In the meantime, there is no board of inquiry concerning the suicides of those who no longer actively serve.

I know, I'm ranting again.

I know it's too early to hear from Ottawa yet, but I've been informed that my e-mail to Mr. H will probably result in the MVA being called on to explain why he couldn't be bothered to cut this off at the pass by actually replying to Eric's September 8th message to him.  Again, he believes that MVA is a position and not a job.

Navrat, I think the Liberals might also be able to do the job; but when I wrote to the MVA last March and copied both the Liberal VA critic and Peter Stoffer, Peter Stoffer was the only one who got back to me, and he phoned the very next morning!  Mr. Karygiannis, the Liberal critic, did get back to me this week after I e-mailed all the MPs last week though.  I do like what I'm hearing from them, but Peter has been out there working for veterans for years.  I'm going to wait to see what the platforms are when the next election comes around and check out the local Liberal and NDP candidates too.  However, if I lived in Stoffer's riding, it would be a no brainer, I'd vote for him.

Good night!

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Guest on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 22:00

I would vote for Stoffer hands down but anything is better than Harper at this point. I heard Justin might give the Veterans a free Mary Jane ration, lol, I would rather see the government rake in the tax dollars from pot then seeing the money as it does now go into the hands of biker gangs and criminals!

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Thu 27 Feb 2014, 23:43

I'm sure that there would be some mellower vets if Justin gets his way; but of course, we wouldn't inhale Wink

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 15:40

Well, somebody finally replied.  I guess the plumber's method does work Smile This e-mail arrived this afternoon.

Dear Ms. Magill:

I would like to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail addressed to the Prime Minister.

Please be assured that your comments regarding your husband's care and your dealings with the department of Veterans Affairs Canada have been reviewed.

As a copy of your correspondence has already been sent to the Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, I am certain that the Minister will also have appreciated being made aware of your continuing interest in this matter.

Thank you for taking the time to write.


M. Bourque
Executive Correspondence Officer
 for the Prime Minister's Office

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Trooper on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 20:14

Anneteak, that is good that they claim that it has been reviewed, does this mean that they will give you the outcome of the review sometimes in the future ?
If some sort of positive action is implemented by what they have reviewed, than that will be even better.
So let's hope they fix this, for your husband's sake.
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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Mon 03 Mar 2014, 22:54

This e-mail is so disingenuous; I can't begin to explain what Bourque meant by " I am certain that the Minister will also have appreciated being made aware of your continuing interest in this matter."  

The e-mail itself seems to mean is that it's been tossed it back to Fantino.  I doubt anything will come of it, as he's been backpeddling on this since Sept 8th. I don't think we'll get any action on it until Eric brings it to the Ombudsman when he comes home in April.  But in the meantime, I've made sure that a lot of people know just what happened here; and I think the local office will be less likely to want to bring on a firestorm of criticism right up to the PMO by taking anything more away from Eric.

On the upside, I picked Eric up at Bellwood on Saturday as he had a day pass.  I can't get over how much better he is in only 3 1/2 weeks!  I haven't seen him like this in about two decades.  He finds some of the 'rules' annoying but feels so much better than when he went in on Feb 5th that the rules are a minor nuisance.  I am sure that when he gets home, he'll be able to deal with VAC a lot better than I can.  He seems to be over the anger; I'm no where near that point.

But mostly, we're looking forward to getting out fishing on the Bay of Quinte.  There are walleye, bass and crappie just waiting to be hooked. Laughing

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by pinger on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 19:21

Hello Anneteak,

   My hats off to you. You have intestinal fortitude to put it... tactfully  Smile  . Keep the faith and don't let them grind you down, I happen to know how they can. Been dealing with VAC since the 80's. Case managers can be sincere or apathetic, but usually the latter in my experience, same old song and proverbial carrot dance. You have to outsmart them.
  You were Adm ? Keep records very very well, get photocopies of everything, that way you can send the DVA their pulp and paperwork back at them when it serves you and your hubby the best.
  Sounds like you've been through hell. Stay well.

  Pinger
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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Tue 04 Mar 2014, 20:49

Thanks Pinger. "don't let them grind you down".  Can I ever relate to being ground down.  There's been times during the past decade or so that I was ready to pack my marriage and everything else in and run away.  Whenever I think of dealing with VAC, I think of the Colorado River grinding down granite to make the Grand Canyon.  The Colorado River has nothing on VAC!  

Yes, I was a Corporal Adm 831 Reg Force and ADMO (Lt) Reserve.  I also have a degree in Psychology and Law & Justice, so I learned long ago to document, document, document. When I finally decided that I couldn't deal with VAC any more after that accusation by someone in the local office, I handed my husband about a foot high pile of paperwork and demanded that he find a way to deal with it himself as I was finished.  He had to actively seek treatment for his PTSD and it was finally diagnosed last fall.  VA had sent him to one of their doctors years ago, and after a short conversation with Eric, he informed VA that his mental health was fine- no PTSD. Duh, does anyone else not trust the doctors VA sends you to?  I actually had one tell me years ago, when Eric was dragged in, always in time for a January road trip, that he was being reassessed annually so that the could determine if there was any improvement so they could lower his pension.

Someone (or two) in the local office started this latest ball of #&%$(*$U#(*& going last winter, and I really had a hard time dealing with the personal attack.  When both Eric and I asked to speak with his CM (also a veteran), we were told he would get the message.  When he never contacted us back, we believed that he was part of that *$#*($*&(#* too.  Finally, he contacted us in September of last year and he seemed to be honestly astounded at what had gone on.  He swore to both of us that he never received a contact request from either of us.  That's what was initially so hard to cope with as we had both trusted him.  I'm pleased to say now that we believe he never got the contact requests and he's been really good about reassessing Eric's condition, etc.. not that he could influence the manager's actions.

Now I can't wait to find out how the MVA will explain this whole mess, if he even tries.  In the meantime, Eric will be going forward after rehab to the Ombudsman with this schmozzle and a loss of $$$$ when he was given an initial 5% pension for Dengue Fever Syndrome (which, according to the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta does not exist) and finally three years later he got an actual diagnosis of Reactive Arthritis, triggered by an illness while he was in Haiti.  Long story short, we feel they owe him about 60% pension for those three years but someone, we don't know who, when or why changed the code on the appeal boards ruling to read that the RA was "subsequent" to his pensionable illness instead of the actual diagnosis of his pensionable illness.  We've been told that we cannot appeal that even though VAC cannot/will not tell us who changed the code, when it was changed or even why it was changed. So this and other stuff that I couldn't find time to deal with will all go to the Ombudsman.

Then again, we are lucky.  I did document and I know how to raise a bit of hell.

Thanks, all of you, for your support; I wish I'd known you were here years ago.

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Mon 10 Mar 2014, 17:07

I just got some good news a few minutes ago.  I guess my e-mail to the Prime Minister yesterday got some results. I e-mailed a copy of my Facebook post from yesterday to both the PM and MVA. The post follows:

FYI  The following has been posted on the Facebook Page of Linda Magill


It has now been a full six months since Eric sent an e-mail message to
Julian Fantino, the Minister of Veterans Affairs and his Parliamentary
Secretary, Eve Adams.

In his message, Eric stated:

"We are sick, tired and extremely frustrated with Veterans’ Affairs, its
policies and a number of its personnel. We also feel that contacting its
Minister is also a waste of time, but I’m sending this so you’ll know why I’m
upset and contacting the press. Dealing with VA at the best of times is not
easy; but when it’s circling the wagons it’s almost impossible.

The average Canadian would be appalled at the way Veterans and their
families are treated by this bureaucracy.

I don’t expect you to interfere with an appeal, but I do want you to know
that what you hear in Ottawa isn’t necessarily what is actually going on in
the Districts.

I also feel I have to vent, at this time, about the way that I and other
veterans have to find out about benefits. We normally have to find out about
benefits through other parties, including VA staffers (who may or may not
tell us all that we may be entitled to), as it is almost impossible to find
out what we might be entitled to on that maze, the VA website. Webpages loop
back to the page before it when you try to find out the dollar range of
allowances and more information on allowances you might be entitled to. I
recall seeing tables that indicate a dollar range allowed for ‘housekeeping”,
“fireplace” and “furnace” within the VIP allowance; I had stumbled onto it
but could not find it using keywords a few minutes later. So many of us only
know what VA tells us we could be entitled too, and we certainly are never
told the ranges. So when we’re told we can appeal, we don’t know if there
are other allowances available to us or if we’re receiving a sum that
represents 5% of an available allowance, i.e., attendant’s allowance, or
95%. So much for being informed."

Since Eric sent that message, he's spoken to a "Conflict Resolution Officer"
from the MVA's office, who called him and gave him misinformation and tried
to get Eric to accept her phone call as a "response from the Minister". Eric
refused to do so.

His appeal, a copy of which was sent to the MVA, was mailed on September 9,
2013. He finally got a reply to his appeal in mid-February, dated Feb 6,
2014, only FIVE MONTHS after it was mailed, that gave him a 'win' but cost
him over a year's worth of the benefits VAC took away from him, but which
VAC also seems to agree that he's entitled to (see earlier post).

In early February, Mr. Peter Stoffer, Veterans Affairs critic for the NDP,
delivered a letter to the MVA that outlined my concerns about the treatment
that Eric and I had received from the VAC. Mr. Fantino couldn't be bothered
even then to respond to Eric's message.

On February 26, I e-mailed the Prime Minister, Mr. Harper, about Mr.
Fantino's lack of response. A response from the PM's Office that stated:

"I would like to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail addressed to the Prime
Minister.

Please be assured that your comments regarding your husband's care and your
dealings with the department of Veterans Affairs Canada have been reviewed.

As a copy of your correspondence has already been sent to the Honourable
Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, I am certain that the Minister
will also have appreciated being made aware of your continuing interest in
this matter.

Thank you for taking the time to write. "

I cannot begin to imagine what the writer meant by the statement that he/she
was "certain that the Minister will also have appreciated being made aware
of your continuing interest in this matter."

Duh, so far, he hasn't appreciated it enough to respond to either Eric or
myself.

On February 28, Mr. Stoffer sent a letter to the MVA asking him to take the
time to read our correspondence which, according to Mr. Stoffer, "provides
incredible insight into the barriers and the bureaucracy that veterans and
their families face in trying to obtain assistance from the Department." He
went on to ask the MVA to respond directly to our concerns.

Still no answer.

Does it take an Act of Parliament to get a response to a veteran from the
Minister of Veterans Affairs?

I do know that he doesn't seem to know what a veteran is, as he has been
noted as referring to himself as one when he's never served in any armed
forces.

I would like to note that Eric is doing very well in his treatment for PTSD
and is very anxious to take VAC and the MVA to task for the mistreatment
that veterans receive from the very bureaucracy that exists to help them.
Rather than a fractured family with broken veterans heading it, this is
going to be a strong family headed by two strong veterans. We will continue
to fight for our rights and those of other veterans and spouses who cannot
carry this on for themselves.

This Facebook page is devoted to this cause.

Eric's VA Case Manager called me late this afternoon and told me that the PMO's office told him to tell me that a bit of information on Eric's appeal response was, unfortunately, omitted.  He will, in fact, be getting his Personal Care allowance backdated until the date it was removed last year.  

Gee, letters to  Fantino and my last e-mail to the PMO didn't rate a response, but my telling them that the whole thing was laid out for everyone to see on my Facebook page seems to have struck a nerve!  Also, I just noted that I got an "anonymous" person check out my LinkedIn page as well.  Oh, it's so great to have someone to share this with who really does understand!!!!!

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Trooper on Mon 10 Mar 2014, 19:14

Well getting his Personal Care allowance backdated , is definitely a good thing, you show great strength and determination, I applaud you for that.

Keep up the good work, as I am certain your letters reflects, them at least looking into your husbands needs, and perhaps even contributing in him getting his,
Personal Care allowance backdated.
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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Dove96 on Tue 11 Mar 2014, 18:59

You are awesome. Thank you for your continued fight. Your eloquence and determination is inspiring.

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Re: Veterans Affairs is Waging a War of Attrition Against Veterans

Post by Anneteak on Tue 11 Mar 2014, 19:51

Thanks guys.  I'm afraid I'm not awesome though, just Peru'd Oscar.

Peter Stoffer told me that it was something just to get the first response from the PMO's office; did he ever laugh when I told him that the Case Manager got a call from the PMO and told to give me the story about the "missing" sentence.  I'm really interested in seeing how they're going to put it into the previous response so that it looks like it was always supposed to be there  Very Happy 

Last night, I realized that the only thing that changed between last year and yesterday's result was the fact that I took the fight to social media; so I have purchased the web domain www.WarOfAttrition.ca; I've decided to use it to help other veterans take their fight to social media as well.  I know there are many who are having a hard time dealing with VA who could use a little help writing a letter of appeal or getting their story 'out there'.  I know the Legion does help a lot of veterans, but many, like Eric and I have never been members.  If any of you guys have any ideas on how to do this; I'll take all the advice I can get.

I'll share the letter with the 'missing' sentence with you when we receive it.

PS If any of you are on Facebook, check out the group: Rock The Hill 2014! (It's also on my page). Rob Gallant, 2nd CAV FE and some others are arranging a day of protest on Parliament Hill on June 4th.  Although it's 2nd CAV guys starting it, it's for all vets and everyone is encouraged to take part.  They need to get an idea of numbers within the next week to see if they should go forward with this now or if it will have to wait another year.

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