Guy Parent finds badly wounded soldiers not getting disability cheques

Aug 19, 2014

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 concluded that those who are receiving the permanent impairment allowance, along with a recently introduced supplement, are only awarded the lowest grade of the benefit.

The criteria used by federal bureaucrats to evaluate disability do not match the intent of the allowance, and the guidelines are too restrictive, the report said.

It doesn’t make sense to set aside cash to deal with a problem and then not spend it, Parent said. “You can flood programs with money, but of you don’t broaden the access, then you haven’t accomplished anything.”

It’s a pattern with the current government, he said, noting how the Conservatives poured funding into the burial program for impoverished ex-soldiers in 2013, but took a year to ease the eligibility criteria so people could actually qualify.

“The evidence presented in the report clearly demonstrates that many severely impaired veterans are either not receiving these benefits or may be receiving them at a grade level that is too low,” the ombudsman said.

“This is unfair and needs to be corrected.”

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, he added.

Findings under review

In a statement, Veteran Affairs Minister Julian Fantino said the findings of the ombudsman’s latest report will be considered as the government prepares its response to a Commons committee review, which has recommended a series of improvements to the legislation governing veterans benefits.

“I have asked officials at Veterans Affairs to ensure that they consider the recommendations found in the veterans ombudsman’s PIA report as well as consult his office in the development of solutions to improve the New Veterans Charter,” Fantino said.

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.

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.

The department went a step further and released a chart at the end of July that shows the maximum benefits soldiers of different ranks could qualify for under existing legislation — a “misleading” display that could raise “false expectations” among veterans, Parent said.

The latest report also noted that when a veteran dies, the spouse automatically loses the allowance, creating financial hardship for the family. Under the old Pension Act system, the widow or widower continued to receive support.

The permanent impairment allowance is a taxable benefit awarded to disabled soldiers in three grade levels as compensation for lost future earnings. The Harper government introduced a supplement to the allowance in 2011.

In some respects, that supplement contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of applications.

According to figures released by Veterans Affairs in June, some 521 ex-soldiers are deemed to be the most critically injured, but the vast majority of them — 92 per cent — receive the lowest grade of allowance support.

The ombudsman’s report estimates Canada has a total of 1,911 severely wounded soldiers, 924 of whom receive no allowance at all.

Ron Cundell, of the web site VeteranVoice.info, said the latest review doesn’t tell ex-soldiers anything they don’t know already.

“It’s a shame,” Cundell said. “The (office of the veterans ombudsman) reports are proving what the veteran community has known for a long time. Veterans Affairs is not treating veterans fairly.”

One of the best comments.

This also applies to most countries not just Canada.

 

Strange world this western world, give a man a helmet and a rifle, send him to a strange country, feed him some army rations, pay him as little as possible, send him home and try to forget about him, healthy or wounded.
Give a man a helmet and a football, fly him all over your own country, put him up in luxury hotels, feed him steaks and champagne, pay him more then his agent asks for, put his name and picture on the front pages of everything from magazines to breakfast cereal box, if he gets hurt provide him with his own private doctor and full staff, retire him in a mansion with full compensation and staff and talk about him for years at every sports program.

Seems Harper has followed what the US does to it’s Veterans. As little as possible or nothing.

More times then not these young men and women are sent to wars that are fabricated so weapons manufactures, banks, oil companies etc make profit.

ISIS in Syria are freedom fighters, but in Iraq they are the bad guys.

John McCain happens to be friends of those ISIS terrorists.

ISIS brags about links to US Senator John McCain

The US and the Harper Regime also support the Ukrainian Government,

which is killing people in Eastern Ukraine,

Both also support Israel who is killing people in Gaza.

Both supported the killing of people in Libya.

Both support the killing of Syrians.

All of the above are fabricated, wars based on Lies.

Those so called freedom fighters in Libya, Syria are Terrorist funded by the US.

The US started the war in the Ukraine. That is typical of the US however, they have been starting wars for years.

The main stream media is a disgrace. They push the propaganda and lies produced by the Governments.

Like the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. All lies.

Those so called freedom fighter remind me of Death Squads.

Well we all know, who trains them, now don’t we?

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200,000 War Veterans homeless in US

January 16 2009
Glantz: ‘We’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics’

200,000 war veterans homeless in US

300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans file disability claims with US federal government.

PACIFICA

For six years of war in Iraq, the Bush administration has done absolutely nothing to take care of the hundreds of thousands of wounded veterans coming home, said Aaron Glantz, a journalist who has been covering the stories of US military vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
“We’ve had people brought into the VA, turned away, who have committed suicide after coming back from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We’ve had people redeployed to Iraq, even after they were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans coming home with traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage.

We have 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who have filed disability claims with the federal government,” Glantz told Democracy Now! on Thursday.
“In many cases, there is no medical services at all, because remember that many people serving in Iraq and Afghanistan come from rural communities where the VA doesn’t even have a hospital,” he explained.
There are 200,000 homeless war veterans in the United States.
“On every night, 200,000 people who have put on the uniform and served this country sleep homeless on the streets,” said Glantz.
“Imagine that you come home from Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental wound, or traumatic brain injury, physical brain damage often caused by a roadside bomb. The first thing that you have to do just to get in the door at the VA is to fill out a twenty-six-page form where you substantiate exactly how you were wounded, where you get letters of support from your battle buddies, from your commanders. You subpoena your own Army records, often with the help of your congressperson. And you present to the VA a gigantic claim folder, which they then sit on for an extended period of time. And that’s just to get in the door.

So we take our veterans when they’re most wounded and most vulnerable and exploit them by making them fill out a mound of paperwork just to get in the door,” noted Glantz.
“If you served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and you come home and you say that you have PTSD, that the VA should assume that you got that in the war, not from a auto accident, not from some experience growing up, but perhaps your experience seeing your buddies killed or your experience killing an innocent civilian, that those might be the incidences that caused you to develop a post-traumatic stress disorder,” he explained.
But some problems date back way back to 1991.
“We are seventeen years after the Persian Gulf War of 1991, and veterans of that war are still fighting to get disability compensation and healthcare. And for the last seventeen years, up until about two months ago, the VA had said that Gulf War syndrome simply didn’t exist, and they called it ‘undiagnosed illness’. And one problem with that is if you call it undiagnosed illness, then there’s no way to treat it, because you’re pretty much throwing up your hands,” said Glantz.
“I think another question that we should be asking is, what is the ‘Gulf War illness’ of the war that we’re involved in right now?

Is it our troops’ exposure to depleted uranium, for example?

Is it our troops—the pills that our troops were forced to take before they went into this war?

Might those things have long-term effects on our Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans?

Shouldn’t we get ahead of the curve this time and not wait until seventeen years after the war to begin to look at how to treat and compensate people who served in it?” Asked Glantz.
“We can’t forget about the 1.8 million Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who are coming back into our communities. And if we don’t deal with this now, we’re going to be looking at an increase in those statistics.”

Source

Well maybe the new president will take care of them.

Bush did everything including “cutting their health care” to help them. He helped as many as possible onto the streets. George was extremely helpful.

Nothing like being thrown in the trash, after serving your country.

Just another part of the Bush legacy.

Vietnam war vets were also treated badly. Many of them also ended up homeless.

The US has never taken good care of those who served.

They should be ashamed of this considering, these people put their lives on the line, to serve their country. But that is the American way. Has been for years.  Will it change with the new President,  maybe, maybe not.  They never really cared enough before to change anything so why would they now?  War Vets are disposable, as far as the US government is concerned. Like a Dixie Cup. Just throw them away, after they have served their purpose.

This is of course a “Human Rights Violation” under “UN LAW”.

Traumatic brain injuries the signature wound of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq

Gov’t Study Concludes “Gulf War Syndrome” is Legitimate Condition, Affects 1 in 4 Vets

Canadian Forces not tracking incidence of brain injuries, hearing loss

HALIFAX, N.S. — The Canadian Forces is not tracking how many of its soldiers are suffering from service-related hearing loss and traumatic brain trauma, two of the so-called signature injuries of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Defence Department doesn’t have the systems working or in place to record the number of people returning from tours overseas who have identified hearing loss or brain injuries, giving them little sense as to the extent of what are thought to be rising problems in the ranks.

Unlike the British and American militaries, which have better means of tracking conditions affecting their troops, the Canadian Forces has yet to implement computerized programs that can digitally compile information and point to any trends for certain injuries.

“We have no way to systematically collect that data,” Steve Tsekrekos, an occupational medicine specialist with Force Health Protection, said from Ottawa.

“There’s much room for improvement compared to what we’re currently doing. It’s a question of continually to push that this is an issue that we need to address.”

Forces members are examined for a variety of possible injuries in theatre and when they return from a deployment, but the data in most cases is contained in a paper record that goes into individual files.

It’s also up to soldiers to indicate in questionnaires if they suspect they have sustained certain injuries.

To test for hearing loss at home, military doctors have to rely on antiquated 1970s-vintage audiometres for which replacement parts are not being made and can produce only a paper document.

The absence of any condensed data on injuries has left the Forces without a global, detailed picture of the injuries affecting soldiers serving in environments characterized by bomb blasts, gunfire and loud equipment.

“The usefulness of that sort of data is to provide us with a track record as to changes in the patterns of injuries or illnesses,” says Bryan Garber, a deployment health specialist with the Canadian Forces health services group in Ottawa.

“We don’t actually have any current numbers on the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury in the Canadian Forces population serving in Afghanistan.”

Statistics and studies coming out of the U.S. indicate one in four soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan have damaged hearing, caused largely by blasts from improvised explosive devices, suicide bomb explosions and prolonged exposure to noisy vehicles.

According to Veterans Affairs Canada, close to 320 military personnel who served in Afghanistan since 2001 are now receiving disability benefits linked to hearing loss.

Of the total number of Canadian veterans receiving benefits, roughly half are due to a hearing impairment.

“There are a lot we do in the military that are very damaging to hearing and that has always been so,” said Maj. Sandra West, a base surgeon at the Ottawa military clinic who spent seven months in Afghanistan earlier this year.

“It’s very hard to protect your hearing all the time just because of the sorts of things we do.”

In 2001, Veterans Affairs had 37,374 clients in receipt of treatment benefits for their hearing loss with total expenditures of $22.6 million.

By this March, that number had risen to 47,347 clients at a cost of $38.5 million.

“This is a huge problem,” said Tsekrekos. “Hearing loss is the biggest occupational health issue in the Canadian Forces.”

More than seven years after troops have been on the ground in Afghanistan, the Forces are in the process of trying to implement systems to collect data on brain injuries and hearing loss.

Tsekrekos says they plan on introducing new computerized audiometres possibly in the next few years that will create a digital record and help produce a Force-wide picture of hearing loss.

The military is also implementing a system to collect information on brain injuries used by the United States called the Joint Theatre Trauma Registry. Garber said the system should be up and running sometime next year.

He estimates that the numbers of troops indicating mild traumatic brain injuries could range up to 20 per cent, but that most wouldn’t likely have long-term problems.

“It should be providing more stable statistics on the incidence of this and what the recovery looks like,” he said.

A recent study by the U.S. RAND Corp. found that 320,000 former serving members sustained mild traumatic brain injuries, but that the majority had no persistent symptoms.

Garber said reports on brain injuries among international troops have overstated the extent of the problem and fail to explain that the bulk of people who experience mild brain injuries recover spontaneously within weeks or months.

Source

Elusive threats boost PTSD risk in Afghanistan