OTTAWA – A new report by Canada’s veterans watchdog says nearly half of the country’s most severely disabled ex-soldiers are not receiving a government allowance intended to compensate them for their physical and mental wounds.
Veterans ombudsman Guy Parent also says those who are receiving the permanent impairment allowance, along with a recently introduced supplement, are only awarded the lowest grade of the benefit.
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Parent says the criteria used by federal bureaucrats to evaluate disability do not match the intent of the allowance, and that the guidelines are too restrictive.
He says his investigators could find no evidence that Veterans Affairs adjudicators consider the effect of an enduring injury on an individual’s long-term employment and career prospects.
In defending itself against criticism that veterans are being short-changed, the Harper government has been quick to point to the allowance and the supplement as a sign of its generosity.
Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino told a House of Commons committee last spring that some permanently disabled soldiers receive more than $10,000 per month, but figures from his own department show that only four individuals in the entire country receive that much.