Rachel Blaney

NDP Critic for Veterans criticizes VAC for cutting income

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney wrote to Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay about his department’s troubling treatment of Canadian veterans following reports that former service men and women were given little notice they’d be cut off from receiving income they count on to support themselves and their families.

“The government is cutting veterans’ income with almost no warning and asking them to prove all over again that they’re eligible for what they’ve already been receiving,” said Blaney, NDP Critic for Veterans. “What the heck is going on at Veterans Affairs Canada? How could someone possibly be granted this income without the department having a written confirmation that they’re eligible? And why is the government putting the onus on injured veterans to correct the issue? I hope the minister agrees that this treatment of our veterans is completely unacceptable.”

The Diminished Earning Capacity (DEC) income many veterans rely on to pay bills and keep a roof over their heads was suddenly taken away from some veterans who were told by Veterans Affairs Canada that they are no longer eligible.

Blaney is particularly concerned that those receiving the DEC income are among the most seriously impacted by their service injuries, and now the government is causing them considerable unnecessary stress.

“The department is unquestionably causing veterans further emotional harm when they’re supposed to be the ones supporting our veterans,” said Blaney. “These people were seriously injured during their service, and now they’re unable to financially support themselves and their families. They were told that they would be compensated, and now the department is trying to renege on that commitment. It’s appalling, and I’m calling on the minister to guarantee Canadian veterans it will stop immediately.”

In response to this story, Cameron McNeill, press secretary to Minister of Veterans Affairs, Lawrence MacAulay, said, “The well-being and financial stability of our veterans is our top priority. While staff from the Minister’s office engage with Ms. Blaney’s office on individual cases, it would be inappropriate to comment on the specifics of any file. That said, it would be inaccurate to suggest that Veterans Affairs Canada is broadly cutting off income from veterans with a Diminished Earnings Capacity designation.

“The minister has worked closely with Ms. Blaney on a range of issues impacting our veterans and their families, and will continue to do so as we seek to improve the benefits and programs we provide to those who have served our country.”