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Soldiers fighting for injury compensation.

It has been uncovered that Canadian soldiers are forced to use a poor, archaic system developed to adjudicate compensation claims for soldiers who have been injured on duty at home and abroad.

Soldiers face an uphill battle putting in a claim with Veterans Affairs and are forced to fight a convoluted quagmire of bureaucracy when seeking compensation.

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Military doctors are ordered not to share additional verbal or written information with VAC when a claim requires their input to clarify and augment the information on the medical file. This causes problems with the claim process and, in a great number of cases, the claim is denied and the soldier is forced to seek help from the Legion or the Bureau of Pensions Advocates.

Veterans Affairs has been handcuffed with this "soldier stressful" policy and will either deny the claim or pay out the minimum that is required, which is five per cent to 20 per cent in most cases. This has put much stress and strain on the injured soldier. Many simply accept the decision and carry on, believing the betrayal is standard practice and is unbeatable.

After launching numerous complaints to the ombudsmans for DND and VAC, it has become necessary to seek assistance from my member of Parliament and other government officials. Each believes there is a grave injustice in this process and supports my quest to get it fixed.

Military doctors are too busy to provide any additional information. But a doctor's first concern should be the soldier and the emotional stress this policy inflects on them, and by taking a few minutes to answer questions from VAC, it would help both mentally and physically in the soldier's recovery. Instead, soldiers are symbolically left to patch their own wounds, find their own cures, and dig their own graves when trying to prove their claims.

If doctors were ordered to provide information, it would save time, money, and stress on soldiers who have already given everything for their country* VAC currently suggests that soldiers seek outside medical advice from civilian doctors, but those doctors have no medical records or history on the soldier's injuries.

So much money wasted by ignoring a simple, economic, soldier-friendly solution to reinforce the "Support our Troops" slogan.

Editor's note: For more information on the disabled veteran's struggle, please read Sean Bruyea's commentary on page 12 of this issue.
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Title Annotation:POSTED IN: Letters to the editor
Author:Brentnall, Robin
Publication:Esprit de Corps
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 1, 2008
Words:396
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