27 February 2008
OTTAWA --- The Royal Canadian Legion is disappointed and very concerned with the budget announcement relating to the planned expansion of the Veterans Independence Program (VIP).
The VIP is a national home-care program that helps eligible veterans and their survivors remain healthy and independent in their own homes and communities. The planned expansion is intended to provide the same housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance benefits to eligible low-income or disabled survivors of certain traditional war service veterans.
“This planned expansion is spending money on survivors of deceased veterans and not on the living veterans who are in need of assistance,” says Legion Dominion President Jack Frost. “While we generally support an initiative to compensate needy and disabled survivors of those who died before 1981, we cannot accept that frail veterans, allied veterans now living in Canada and Canada service only veterans themselves are being excluded from assistance.”
“The needy, frail veteran who cannot afford the expense to hire a
contractor to tend to the basic maintenance items such as snow clearance, lawn cutting, window cleaning, etc., that the veteran himself was once able to do, must now face losing his home as he is forced into a long term care facility, possibly separated from his spouse, at great emotional cost” he continues.
“The Government would rather place him or her in a more expensive long term care facility than provide the basic VIP benefit,” he says. This is totally unacceptable and disregards the findings of the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Health Services Review, which has been ongoing since 2004, and the recommendations of the Gerontological Advisory Council in its report Keeping the Promise,” he says. “Instead of adopting a comprehensive approach based on needs, VAC is continuing to introduce patchwork, ad hoc measures which overestimate the financial costs associated with these so-called improvements.”
“We cannot support the type of action that denies government funding to frail veterans even though it may be going to survivors,” says Mr. Frost. “We are losing 70 veterans a day right now. An allocation of VIP to the frail and other groups of worthy veterans cannot wait any longer,” he concludes.
For further information please contact Bruce Poulin at Dominion Command, The Royal Canadian Legion, at (613) 591-3335 ext. 241 or by cell at (613) 292-8760.
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