Wednesday November 17, 2010
More Help For Veterans
Over $2B plunked into Enhanced Charter fund
Submitted by Ministry of Veterans Affairs/ Handout photo
oday, the Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), tabled changes to the New Veterans Charter to significantly improve financial support for injured Canadian Forces members and Veterans.
“In tabling these legislative changes today, we are writing a new chapter to the New Veterans Charter. These changes, totaling two billion dollars, will greatly improve the quality of life of our Veterans. Our government is determined to see that our Veterans and their families receive all the care, the services and the financial support they need and deserve,” said Minister Blackburn.
Improved monthly benefits
First, by amending regulations, the government will establish a minimum pre-tax income of $40,000 a year for Veterans who can no longer work and for those who are in rehabilitation.
The Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act, introduced in the House of Commons today, increases monthly financial support for injured Veterans who are no longer able to work. If passed, this Act will:
expand eligibility for monthly allowances for seriously injured Veterans (up to $1,609 per month, for life).
introduce an additional $1,000 monthly supplement to help our most seriously injured or ill Veterans.
Flexible options for the Disability Award
Create new options for Canadian Forces members and Veterans who would prefer to receive the existing lump sum Disability Award as either an annual payment over any number of years or as a combination of a partial lump-sum payment and annual instalments.“We have heard the concerns of Veterans and their families about the challenges of managing a large sum of money. They will now be able to spread their payment out over a number of years of their choice. As well, it is important to remember that the lump sum does not replace the monthly disability pension. The lump sum is an immediate recognition of suffering and pain that is added to the financial benefits mentioned above and other services available under the New Veterans Charter. If the legislation is adopted, on top of the lump sum Disability Award, our most seriously injured Veterans who are no longer able to work will receive at least $58,000 per year,” added Minister Blackburn.
With today’s announcement, Veterans who receive a Disability Award will have the choice between:
annual payments spread out over the number of years of their choice (with interest);
part of the award as a lump sum and the rest as annual payments over the number of years of their choice (with interest); or
a single lump sum payment.
Furthermore, at any time, Veterans who so choose may change their minds and receive the remaining amount as a lump-sum payment.
Dominion President, Mrs. Patricia Varga, of The Royal Canadian Legion stated, “This Bill, as a first step, makes great strides in improving the New Veterans Charter and encompasses many of the recommendations made by the New Veterans Charter Advisory Group and the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. The Legion considers that further improvements are needed to the Charter on which we look forward to continue the ongoing dialogue with Minister Blackburn.”
“With this Bill, we applaud the Government for keeping its promise that the New Veterans Charter is truly a living document,” said RayKokkonen, President of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association. “Naturally, we are pleased to have had a role in this matter and that our advice and recommendations have been heard. Advocating for significantly increasing the financial support to our severely wounded Veterans, to allow them live with dignity, is a top priority for our organization. Accordingly, we are very glad to see this challenging issue being addressed. We will continue cooperating closely with Minister Blackburn on other matters related to the Charter to ensure that the ongoing and emerging needs of our Veterans and their families are met.”
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