Thursday, August 19, 2010

Screwing our veterans since 2006

On the list of recently fired Veterans Ombudsman Col. Pat Stogran’s complaints was Ottawa’s decision to institute lump sum payments for injured soldiers.

FAIR : "For almost a century prior to April 2006, Canada honoured the non-fatal sacrifices suffered by our men and women in uniform with a lifelong tax-free disability pension. Since April 1, 2006, injured soldiers, including most non-fatal casualties from Afghanistan receive a one-time lump sum amount to compensate for their lifelong injuries."

So what kind of money are we talking with that lump sum?
Via David Pugliese we learn that 19 year old Cpl. Martin Renaud lost both legs below the knee to an IED in Afghanistan. His lump sum for "pain and suffering" was $250,000, nearly the maximum amount.
The old charter guaranteed monthly pension payments for life that increased if a condition worsened. Under the new charter, disabled veterans who follow a rehabilitation program will receive a lump payment and a monthly cheque representing 75 per cent of their "pre-release" salary until they find a job in civilian life.
If they are too injured to work, they receive 75 per cent of their salary until age 65
As noted by a commenter there : if Renaud lives to be 80, that $250,000 works out to about $4000 a year or $ 341.53 a month. Or $11 a day. Or three coffees a day. For a lifetime of pain and suffering.
But Veterans Affairs Minister Jean Pierre Blackburn assures us that veterans are happy with the lumpsum payment plan:

"Our survey indicates that the lump sum award is the preferred option for 69 percent of those veterans who have received this benefit. This shows us that the changes that were made in 2006 were the right thing to do."
About Blackburn's 69% approval rating on his survey ...
Back to retired Canadian Forces Intelligence Officer Sean Bruyea at FAIR :

"...only 11% of the lump sum recipients completed the survey and not one of the more than 100,000 veterans who receive the lifelong disability pension were contacted.
The average lump sum paid out to injured soldiers over the past five years has been less than $40,000."

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