Class action lawsuit alleges miscalculation of veterans’ disability pensions

Koskie Minsky LLP launched a class action lawsuit on Friday on behalf of all veterans who were in receipt of disability pensions or disability awards between 2002 and 2010 from Veteran Affairs Canada.

The statement of claim alleges the attorney general, acting through Veteran Affairs Canada, miscalculated the disability pensions and disability awards of veterans during these years. As a result of this error, veterans haven’t received the full amount of benefits they’re entitled to, as well as interest on those benefits, according to Koskie Minsky.

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

The claim alleges the attorney general breached its fiduciary duties, contractual obligations and was negligent in the administration of disability pensions and disability awards.

The lawsuit follows an accounting indexation error by Veterans Affairs Canada, which was uncovered by the office of the veterans ombudsmen in November 2018. The error, which could total around $165 million for the period of 2003 and 2010, when it analyzed the math behind the implementation of a change to the disability award. When examining Veterans Affairs’ worksheets, the office of the ombudsman noticed that, for a number of years, the provincial basic tax credit wasn’t factored into the calculation of provincial income tax as it was supposed to be, resulting in lower payments for veterans.

“When the ombudsman brought this to our attention in 2018, we did a detailed review and worked to secure up to $165 million for those retroactive payments,” said Jody Wilson-Raybould, minister of Veterans Affairs, in a statement. “As this is before the courts, I cannot comment any further, however we are committed to ensuring those affected receive the compensation to which they are rightly entitled.”

Read: Veterans owed $165 million due to accounting error in disability pensions