Last week, media reported that 270,000 veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, the RCMP and their survivors between 2003 and 2010 have been affected by calculation errors on disability pensions to the tune of $165-million. Some of the most vulnerable veterans are affected, and about 120,000 of those affected have died.
Federal Retirees president Jean-Guy Soulière immediately wrote to Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan on behalf of our members – read it here.
The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman discovered the issue when reviewing calculations for the indexing on monthly disability pensions. Ombudsman Guy Parent and his team found that the basic provincial tax credit was not factored into provincial income tax calculations for a period of approximately eight years – and while the correct calculation was inexplicably resumed in 2011, repayments have not yet been made.
“The fact that this persisted for eight years and wasn’t immediately made right with the veterans who are owed this money is disturbing and signals other concerns that I noted in my letter to Minister O’Regan and which I look forward to discussing with him when we next meet,” said Soulière.
Minister O’Regan worked quickly to announce the department has secured funds to issue retroactive payments. Due to the number of people affected by the issue the government expects to start issuing payments by 2020.
“While we’re encouraged by the government’s commitment to do the right thing and pay veterans what is owed to them, and we recognize this issue began before Minister O’Regan’s tenure, we’re looking to him for continued leadership in doing the right thing for veterans,” continued Soulière. “Veterans Affairs must absolutely prioritize this, particularly for low-income veterans and survivors to ensure they receive the money owed to them as soon as possible.”
The National Association of Federal Retirees (Federal Retirees) is the largest national advocacy organization representing active and retired members, as well as their partners and survivors, of the federal public service, Canadian Armed Forces, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and retired federally appointed judges. With 176,000 members including over 60,000 veterans and their families, the Association has advocated for improvements to the financial security, health and well-being of our members and all Canadians for more than 50 years.