Please see the following note from Peter Stoffer, MP regarding Bill C-58 and the three proposed new benefits for veterans and their families
Last month, the federal government introduced new legislation (Bill C-58) that will provide three new benefits for veterans and their families under the New Veterans Charter. This proposed legislation will only apply to Canadian Forces veterans. It will not apply to RCMP veterans and their families as they do not fall under the New Veterans Charter.
I have reviewed the bill and participated in a briefing session by VAC departmental officials. In brief, the proposed bill will help some veterans and their families but the federal government could do much, much, more. As the bill will be reviewed by the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, I encourage you to send me your thoughts on this proposed legislation. I have attached the bill to this email for your information.
Please see a short summary of the proposed new benefits:
Retirement Income Security Benefit
The proposed new Retirement Income Security Benefit would provide monthly income support payment beginning at age 65 for disabled Canadian Veterans who are receiving the Earnings Loss Benefit due to being totally and permanently incapacitated as a result of their service to Canada. The Retirement Income Security Benefit would ensure that an eligible Veteran's total annual income is at least 70% of what he or she received in Veterans Affairs Canada financial benefits before age 65. Monthly payments would be calculated on a case-by-case basis, taking into account how much the Veteran was receiving before age 65 and other sources of income he or she may have beyond age 65. Veterans survivors are also eligible for the benefit. Departmental calculations estimate that by 2020, approximately 5,800 Veterans and survivors would qualify for the Retirement Income Security Benefit upon turning 65.
Critical Injury Benefits
This benefit will provide a $70,000 tax free award to support the most severely injured and ill Canadian Forces members and veterans. Veterans are eligible for the payment from 2006 forward under the New Veterans Charter. The Veterans Affairs Minister has estimated that more than 100 veterans injured since 2006 will receive this payment. The initiative is expected to cost about $200,000 annually if the current deployment situation remains the same. This means that only about two or three people a year would qualify.
Family Caregiver Relief Benefit
The proposed new benefit will provide veterans with an annual tax-free grant of $7,238. This benefit would allow relief options for the caregiver at home such as covering the cost of having a professional caregiver come into the home or covering the cost for another family member or friend to travel to the veteran's home. The new benefit is expected to provide relief to approximately 350 spouses or caregivers of the most seriously ill and injured Veterans by 2020.
I will be pushing for changes to this proposed bill. Here are some of my thoughts:
• Increase the amount of the Retirement Income Security benefit from 70% to 100% of what the veteran received in VAC Financial benefits before age 65 to ensure the veteran's financial stability.
• Increase the family caregiver relief benefit. The current proposed amount of $7,238 per year is not enough, especially for those caregivers who have left their careers to take care of their veteran spouse. The amount of the family caregiver relief benefit should be similar to the attendant allowance available to those receiving a disability pension under the Pension Act.
• Provide an increase in the rates for the lump-sum disability award for ALL veterans along with the critical injury benefit.
I look forward to your feedback. As always, please include your phone number so I can call you personally.
Office of Peter Stoffer, MP | Bureau du député Peter Stoffer
Official Opposition Critic for Veterans Affairs | Le Porte-Parole de l'Opposition Officielle pour Les Anciens Combattants.
New Democratic Party | Nouveau Parti démocratique
2900 Hwy #2 Fall River, NS B2T 1W4
Phone: (902) 861-2311 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.