'I think they’re waiting for him to die': Veteran with vision loss denied benefits
A veteran from Halifax, who served for almost 30 years in the Canadian Forces, says the country isn’t returning the favour.
Now legally blind, Stanley Wight has been denied benefits to help, despite being able to prove his sight started to deteriorate while he was still in uniform.
Stanley Wight served Canada for nearly 30 years, working as a radar technician on aircraft for the Canadian Armed Forces.
Now at 85, he blames that work for his failing vision.
“Any radar that was working, I used to get in close enough to check that it was working properly. It would be radiation, in fact, I actually have, in my left-eye, a hole that has been burnt there,” says Wight.
According to documents that Wight’s son Stephen has gathered through access to information, three doctors diagnosed his father with early onset macular degeneration back in the 1980s, when he was still an active member of the Canadian Forces.
Despite that, the family says veteran affairs has denied their appeal for help, time and time again.
“I’m very upset with the military because I was diagnosed in the service with it, and I have three medical documents to prove it, but I don’t think when they went to the board that they even looked at them,” says Stanley Wight.
Stephen Wight, also a retired member, thought that finding one of those doctors that originally diagnosed Stanley might help.
“He responded ‘my diagnoses of early macular degeneration stands’,” recalls Wight.
Wight says they will try again with that new evidence, but he feels other documents have been overlooked, and the family has lost faith in the veterans' appeal process.
“I think they’re waiting for him to die so they don’t have to worry about this case,” says Stephen Wight.
In a statement to CTV News, Veterans Affairs Canada says they can’t comment on individual cases, but did confirm that a member must have a permanent disability and the disability must be related to their service in order to be eligible for disability benefits.
They also said that if an applicant has exhausted their appeal options, they have the right to apply to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review.
The Wight family says the benefit would help provide Stanley the care he needs to stay at home, and they are hoping the country that he served won’t forget about him now.