The Royal Canadian Legion recently noted planned changes to regulations under the Veterans Well-being Act. We understand that overall, they will provide recognition, income support and stability for Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans experiencing a service-related illness. This appears to be a positive move.
Unfortunately, there’s something missing: details. The Legion is not in a position to tell the Veterans we serve, what the changes are exactly. We cannot give Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) a true assessment and whether the changes will truly benefit Veterans and their families. Why? We have not seen a draft of the regulations. This is very concerning, as we are well positioned to provide important advice.
A similar lack of detail exists in the wake of the Pension for Life plan announced last year. The sample scenarios presented to date by VAC focus on Veterans who are eligible to receive the highest amount of support. While we had heard of a formula and calculator to help individual Veterans determine eligibility, no such tool has been shared. Veterans deserve better and more timely information.
To be blunt, we find VAC policies to be extremely complex, despite our repeated advice to provide simple, clear communication so Veterans can understand the impact of any changes on their lives. While we had hoped that streamlining benefits would make life easier for them, we are hearing about increased confusion and anxiety.
The Legion is hopeful VAC will provide us – and others – with the new draft regulations as soon as possible so that we can help ensure any new benefits actually result in a positive outcome for Veterans.