Veteran angered that not all vets are treated equally under pension program
A Maritime veteran says he’s outraged over the federal government's new “pension for life” program.
The paperwork the veteran has received from Veterans Affairs suggests not all veterans under the program are being treated equally.
Injured Canadian Forces veteran Medric Cousineau says his faith in the federal government to take care of Canada’s disabled veterans is shaken once again.
Late last month, he got a letter detailing his benefits under the new income replacement benefit program and says he couldn't believe what he saw.
“That everyone who shows up after the first of April 2019 is going to get less money,” Cousineau said.
Because Cousineau already receives benefits, he will get a “protected amount” under the new plan.
CTV News confirms that according to his letter, if Cousineau was an injured veteran entering the system as of April 1, his amount would be about $520 less.
“If we add 5,000 veterans to the rolls of the disabled, and we average five hundred dollars a month less in payments, that adds up to $30 million per annum,” Cousineau said. “This was not an accident.”
The federal government's pension for life program was announced in December 2017 after a Liberal election promise to reinstate lifelong disability pensions for veterans.
CTV News asked Veterans Affairs why a veteran entering the program as of April 1 would receive less.
An answer from the department reads in part:
“As part of the implementation of the income replacement benefit on April 1, provisions were put in place so that veterans who had entitlement to the previous financial benefits would have those benefits protected when transitioning to the income replacement benefit. … Comparing the level of support available to veterans is challenging, as the various plans over the years were designed for different outcomes that evolved over time.”
Cousineau and other veterans attended a public information session on the pension for life program last week. Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook MP Darrel Samson and a representative of Veterans Affairs Canada were also present.
Samson, a Liberal MP, told CTV News that if any veteran receives less that would be “unacceptable” and he has spoken to both the past and present ministers in charge of Veterans Affairs about this - to try to fix the situation.
Cousineau says this is another fight he's ready to take on in defence of all veterans --present and future.
He and other veterans say they want this issue addressed as soon as possible and he says they are willing to make it an issue in the upcoming federal election.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.