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Government to unveil new initiatives for veterans, caregivers Tuesday

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Re: Government to unveil new initiatives for veterans, caregivers Tuesday

Post by pinger on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 16:04

I am so very happy for her and Claude today... pinger.
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Government to unveil new initiatives for veterans, caregivers Tuesday

Post by Guest on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 06:52

The Harper Government is taking more steps to heal wounds with Canada’s veterans by unveiling two new benefits, CTV News has learned.
Tomorrow, using the backdrop of a navy dockyard in Vancouver, Erin O’Toole will announce the creation of new benefits for caregivers of severely ill or injured veterans.
“The Family Caregiver Relief Benefit” will provide approximately $5,000 a year to “informal” caregivers, such as spouses, parents or adult children, who provide around-the-clock care to a wounded soldier or veteran.

To date, informal caregivers have not received any assistance or official recognition from Veterans Affairs Canada, which has been a source of frustration for family members of wounded veterans who have had to leave their jobs to care for them.
Jenny Migneault quit her full-time job last year to care for her husband, Sgt. Claude Rainville, a veteran who suffers physical injuries and debilitating PTSD.
“I am very proud of (the proposed benefit) because I feel we, as spouses, were heard”, she told CTV's Richard Madan from her rural Quebec home.
Migneault made national headlines last May, when she chased then-Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino out of a House of Commons committee meeting, demanding answers about the lack of support for veterans’ caregivers.
“Mr. Fantino, I’m just a vet’s spouse,” Migneault yelled at Fantino as he walked away. “You’re forgetting us, once more. We’re nothing to you.”
The incident was the beginning of the end of Fantino's stint as veterans affairs minister. He was demoted to a junior cabinet role in January and replaced by O'Toole, who has been working to mend relations with veterans groups ever since.

Since then, Migneault says “hundreds” of other military spouses shared similar stories with her. She hopes Veterans Affairs will not make it tough to access the benefit.
“We need to stop justifying to everybody how much pain we are in. So let’s make (the process) easy and accessible,” she said.
More vets eligible for life-long support
The government will also expand of the number of veterans eligible for the “Permanent Impairment Allowance.” The PIA is a life-long monthly financial benefit for veterans whose employment potential and career advancement have been limited by a permanent service-related injury or illness.
The expansion will lift some restrictions for the PIA requirements, making the benefit available to hundreds of more veterans. The allowance, originally introduced in 2006, provides up to $2,800 a month to veterans who cannot work.
But Military Minds founder Chris Dupee -- an Afghan veteran himself -- is skeptical of the expanded benefit, since Veterans Affairs recently denied his request for a knee replacement.
“What red tape, what hoops do I have to jump through to get these benefits, and what about all the injured troops that have had enough and can’t deal with it?” he said.
The Conservatives have been scrambling to repair their damaged relationship with veterans groups ahead of an election, expected in October.
Within the past week, three campaign-style promises have been made to veterans:
Retirement benefits increased to seriously injured soldiers beginning at age 65
Reservists benefits increased on equal terms with regular Canadian Forces Members

Both of Tuesday's changes were recommended in last year's parliamentary review of the New Veterans Charter, and are expected to take effect after next month’s budget.


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