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“Significant changes and improvements are needed at Veterans Affairs Canada”, says NDP MP

While welcoming the new Minister of Veteran Affairs, North Island- Powell River MP Rachel Blaney says vets need more support.

In a letter sent to Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Blaney, the NDP’s critic for Veterans Affairs, says veterans deserve to be treated with respect for their efforts, and too many are being denied help.

She points out that this spring, former minister Lawrence Macaulay testified that 20 percent of applications for benefits are denied by the department.

“That’s one in five applications in which a Veteran does not receive support they have requested,” says Blaney. “Further committee testimony (ACVA, June 19) from the Chair of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board (VRAB), Christopher McNeil, indicated that 10% of VAC decisions are reviewed.”

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Another issue affecting the spouses of veterans is the Marriage-Over-60 clause, which says people who marry a veteran aged 60 and over do not automatically get a survivor pension if the veteran dies first, according to Blaney.

She adds that in some cases, the women affected by this clause have had to sell their homes and live in poverty on social assistance.

Blaney encourages Taylor to reflect on these policies in the current system of Veteran Affairs, and how they have impacted veterans.

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