Review Veterans Affairs Canada Denying Family Caregiver Relief Benefit to Eligible Veterans and Families
- Minister of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Ombudsman, Veterans Bill of Rights, Prime Minister of Canada
Eligible Veterans and their primary caregivers are being denied benefits by Veterans Affairs Canada. It was 2016 when a Veteran applied for the new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit soon to realize that he and his family would not be eligible for this benefit. They were not even given the opportunity to be considered for this benefit because of conflicting policies between the old and new charters. Not only this family, but several other families are being denied these benefits as well.
Veterans who received a disability pension and received a disability award do not qualify for the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit. In this case an individual must apply for the Attendance Allowance. In order to be qualified for the Attendance Allowance a Veteran must have received a disability pension (old charter) of at least 1% or more. The individual must have a physical disability which requires a need for assistance or supervision with bathing, dressing, toileting, mobility, feeding and medication administration. To be eligible an individual must require assistance or supervision for a least three of the conditions mentioned above. The Attendance Allowance was created solely for those with physical injuries and does not accommodate individuals with mental or cognitive conditions. So what happens to these Veterans who suffer from a mental or cognitive condition, and do not have a physical impairment. What happens to these Veterans who have a mental/cognitive condition, and a physical impairment, but the physical impairment does not meet the eligibility criteria for the Attendance Allowance. These Veterans will be denied both the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit and the Attendance Allowance. If you look at the Veterans Bill of Rights it states that a Veteran will “Be treated with respect, dignity, fairness and courtesy”. It is clear that these Veterans are not represented fairly, which questions the integrity of the "Bill" and how VAC views it.
The new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit (FCRB) provides eligible Veterans with a tax-free lump sum grant. This benefit ensures Veterans continue to get the support they need when their informal caregivers are temporarily unavailable. It allows an informal caregiver to take time off and recharge or attend to their own health and well-being, while the Veteran's needs are still being provided for in his or her absence. In order to be eligible for the FCRB an individual must have received a disability award (new charter) of at least 1% or more and not have been awarded a disability pension. The FCRB was created to provide necessary care of an individual who is in need of such support due to a physical, mental and/or cognitive condition. The FCRB is very much the same as the Attendance Allowance, however unlike the Attendance Allowance the FCRB also covers individuals who also have a cognitive and mental conditions.
for the protection, confidentiality and privacy of this Veteran we have replaced their name and rank.
In 2004 Corporal Harry had sustained a foot injury in a training accident and was awarded a disability pension under the old charter for 2%.. In 2013 Corporal Harry received a disability award for 55% under the new charter for having PTSD consequential from a special duty area. Although Harry met the eligibility requirements when he applied for the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit, he was denied. Veteran Affairs Canada told Harry that he did not qualify for the FCRB because he had received a disability pension in 2004. Veterans Affairs suggested that he may apply for the Attendance Allowance but was advised that this allowance was only intended for individuals with physical impairments not mental or cognitive conditions. Harry decided to apply anyway, he thought maybe they would take special consideration in his case because he didn't qualify for the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit. Unfortunately he was wrong and was denied the allowance because his physical injury in 2004 was not significant enough to meet the eligibility criteria for the allowance. Due to Corporal Harrys mental and cognitive condition, him and his family would have been eligible to apply for the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit if Harry not received a disability pension in 2004.
Veterans Affairs Canada certainly draws a fine line between the old charter and new charter when it comes to disability payouts and awards, so why is VAC not drawing the same line between the Attendance Allowance and Family Caregiver Relief Benefit. Hypothetically speaking; if VAC has grandfathered these Veterans under the old charter for collecting Allowances, then why aren't they grandfathered for collecting disability pensions as well; The vary same pensions Veterans are Battling in court today. The policy needs to be changed to accommodate these Veterans and their families. Veterans Affairs Canada should determine which program he/she would benefit from, not deny them for both.
Veterans like Corporal Harry who are involved in this situation are clearly being discriminated by Veterans Affairs Canada. These Veterans are not treated equally, do not have the same opportunities as other Veterans, and stigmatized for their mental and cognitive conditions. Veteran Affairs Canada has also violated the "Veterans Bill of Rights" by treating these Veterans unfairly. It's really an unfortunate situation for these Veterans. They deserve the same opportunity as everyone else.
We have contacted the Veterans Ombudsman’s office about this issue. Unfortunately at this time there is not enough cases to move forward. We have created this petition on behalf of Veterans and their families to raise awareness with the effort to encourage change in this flawed policy. Please help by signing and sharing this petition. Also we invite you to visit our Facebook page and share your thoughts, stories or experiences.
We the undersigned call Veterans Affairs Canada to amend the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit (FCRB) policy to accommodate those Veterans who have received a disability award and disability pension.
The Review Veterans Affairs Canada Denying Family Caregiver Relief Benefit to Eligible Veterans and Families petition to Minister of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Ombudsman, Veterans Bill of Rights, Prime Minister of Canada was written by Veterans 3B Support Group and is in the category Government at GoPetition.