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Injured veterans to get choice over pensions or lump-sum payments

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Re: Injured veterans to get choice over pensions or lump-sum payments

Post by Guest on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 18:09

Yes , I agree with all of you...expect more from our MVA in the coming days as the House sits , I believe next Monday.

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Re: Injured veterans to get choice over pensions or lump-sum payments

Post by Riddick on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 17:55

Although it is nice to hear something positive vs negative/neutral.......the big thing is.........about flippin' time we got a little feedback/communication and with a little substance to boot!!

I think if we are quick to cry foul we should also be as quick to give credit when credit is do......if we want more communication then a little honey is better than vinegar.

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Re: Injured veterans to get choice over pensions or lump-sum payments

Post by Rifleman on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 17:54

Yep and yep

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Re: Injured veterans to get choice over pensions or lump-sum payments

Post by Guest on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 17:34

great stuff pinger thank you for that. far more positive than ANYTHING we have hered thus far .

propat

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Injured veterans to get choice over pensions or lump-sum payments

Post by pinger on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 16:32

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/injured-veterans-to-get-choice-over-pensions-or-lump-sum-payments

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr says his department is drawing up plans to offer injured ex-soldiers the choice of lump-sum payments or lifetime pensions when they leave the military, despite the government’s tight fiscal situation.

“We made commitments to our veterans to offer the lump sum or lifetime pension option,” he said. “We are putting my department through the paces of coming up with real, viable plans to allow veterans that choice, to allow them to make a clear decision (by) understanding the financial ramifications.”

The treatment of veterans became a hot-button issued under the Conservative government. Among the grievances some veterans raised was the Tories’ decision to close nine Veterans Affairs offices, lay off hundreds of frontline staff, and do away with disability pensions.

In an interview with the Citizen this week, Hehr said the Liberal government has an obligation to make good on promises from last year’s election to address the concerns of those who have served in uniform.

“It’s no secret the Conservatives fumbled this file 47 ways to Sunday,” he said. “And we campaigned on doing better. We courted the veteran vote. We courted Canadians’ vote on that commitment, and I have an aggressive mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau outlining those responsibilities.”

These include reintroducing lifetime pensions, which were abolished when the Conservatives implemented the New Veterans Charter, a system of benefits for those who had served and were injured after the Korean War.

Focused on getting veterans into the workforce, the charter replaced pensions with a lump-sum payment for injuries and career training. But modern-day veterans, including many who served in Afghanistan, blasted it as unfair. They said the lump sums offered them less support than the previous system.

During the election, the Liberals promised to reintroduce lifelong pensions as an option for those injured while in uniform. But they also promised to increase training opportunities and top up the salaries of those who pursue a civilian career. Hehr said the department is working on both aspects.

“We’re going to be implementing those options for men and women who served in the military to go back to school to complete a four-year degree or go to a trade school if they’d like to build their lives, should that be an option they wish to pursue,” he said.

“So we want to put together a package that works for veterans that understand financial-making decisions and how to get veterans a clear choice as to what’s going to be best for them and their families going forward.”

Hehr emphasized the importance of veterans fully understanding the pros and cons of each option. But he said it’s ultimately up to individuals to decide what works best for them.

“We are going to make a clear option for military men and women who can decide for themselves which stream they wish to choose. And we have to trust to a certain extent that people are going to make a wise choice in this,” he said.

The Liberal platform budgeted $325 million this year, and $1.25 billion over the next four years, in extra spending on veterans’ issues. But that plan was drawn up before the slumping price of oil and the sagging dollar began wrecking havoc on the economy – and the federal government’s anticipated revenues.

Asked whether the government can still afford to move on all its promises, including reintroducing the pensions, Hehr said he stands by its promise to support those who have served in uniform “with care, compassion and respect.”

Hehr did not say when the pensions would be reintroduced, but there’s reason to believe they will be included in this year’s federal budget.

Six disabled Afghan veterans brought a class-action lawsuit against the Conservative government in 2012, alleging that they were being treated unfairly compared to those who fought in the world wars and Korea, because they weren’t able to receive disability pensions.

The two sides agreed before the federal election to put the case on hold until May, 2016 to see whether any changes in the interim would address the veterans’ concerns. A representative for the group said last week they had not yet heard from the Liberals.

While the Conservative government was criticized for its treatment of veterans, many advocates have also accused the department of having an insurance-company mentality that made it difficult for veterans to get the benefits they need.

Hehr instead blamed deep cuts to staff under the Conservatives for many of the problems. The Conservatives’ cut of about 900 positions at Veterans Affairs represented about 23 per cent of its workforce.

“The public service has been inundated with doing difficult work on stringent timelines without the manpower to do so.”

Hehr said the government has hired about 150 of a planned 400 new employees to make up for the cuts at Veterans Affairs, though he wouldn’t say if the government would replace all 900 who were laid off.

“We have to evaluate this,” he said. “But it’s a movement in the correct direction. Of course, we’re going to look at how this process goes and how we’re serving veterans, and we think it’s a good start.”
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