Reimbursing benefits key unresolved issue for Veterans Affairs, says report card

Reimbursing benefits, accessing dental plans and designating death benefit beneficiaries are among the most important unresolved issues from a decade of recommendations by Veterans Affairs Canada ombudsman Guy Parent.

In a new report card grading the Canadian government’s response to recommendations made by his office to improve services and support for veterans and their families, Parent noted the government has addressed 46 out of 64 of his recommendations. “Since my 2017 status update, some progress has been made,” said Parent in a press release. “To date, the government has addressed, in some way, 46 of my recommendations, leaving 18 unresolved. That gives a final score of 46/64 or 72 per cent of recommendations actioned.”

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The most important unresolved recommendations, according to Parent, are:

  • Ensuring the reimbursement of treatment expenses under the Veterans Well-being Act is retroactive to the date of the original application, as it is under the pension act;
  • Providing the same access to the Treasury Board’s retiree dental plan that’s provided by Veterans Affairs Canada under the public service health-care plan; and
  • Permitting a single Canadian forces member without dependent children to designate a family member to apply for and receive their death benefit.

“I am committed to advocating for the fair treatment of all veterans and their families,” said Parent. “I work to ensure that adequate benefits are available, that they are sufficient to meet needs and that benefits are quickly and easily accessible. I will follow the government’s actions closely on the remaining recommendations and keep you informed.” 

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Additional unresolved recommendations include providing mental-health diagnosis and treatment benefits to veterans’ family members, and introducing financial support to subsidize assisted living options for veterans who can’t live in their own homes.