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Showing the Average Citizen the difference - NVC vs Pension Act

prairefire

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It is my belief that the general public does not clearly grasp the real and actual difference between the New Veteran's Charter and the former Pension Act. The Department of Veteran's Affairs continues to confuse the issues with their spin on the facts and other so called New Program's that are available under the New Veteran's Charter. 

When I talk about this issue with my neighbors and friends they think that this is an issue that relates mainly to “war veterans from Afghanistan” and they are under the assumption that that is the only issue.  I also believe, but I do not have enough direct evidence to support this opinion, that the Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) has not been helpful in making the issues more clear.

At a recent get together at a Legion I was listening to two executive members (veterans sons who never served but run the place like their own personal fiefdom) who thought the NVC was just great because their fathers had recently received rather large lump sum payments for hearing loss (one at 20% and the other at 30% from what I was able to overhear). This is a very clear indication of the different perspective of someone in their twenty's or thirty's to someone in their sixth or seventh decade of life on the NVC. (I happen to know that one of these elderly vets is in a nursing home and my less charitable side wonders if the son can hardly wait to spend his Father's pension award.)

Those that serve in any Branch or MOC know that many of the injuries in the Canadian Armed Forces are not from combat but from daily training, noncombat deployment injuries, and all manner of other activities such as flood and fire fighting, traffic accidents etc. These injuries cause permanent impairment that has a quality of life impact that can be minor or major and may often result in a pensionable injury. 

As part of the obligations of service we undertake extensive training that even while conducted correctly, with proper safeguards can be fundamentally dangerous. The sounds of jet engines, demolitions training, rifle ranges, black out driving, basic parachute training, clearance diver, the list is extensive and comprehensive. As a military we train for all contingencies and as much as we put in place programs to mitigate risk, injuries will happen. It happened to me and it has happened to many others.

This is my actual experience with the New Veteran's Charter and the former Pension Act and provides a very clear and specific example of the difference in benefits under both programs.

In the 1980’s I was on basic para doing a full equipment night drop into DZ Buxton at CFB Edmonton. This was the last drop to be done for me to receive my coveted jump wings. Temperature was -20C, overcast and a light wind less than 10kph. The DZ was snow packed and covered with a light fall of fresh snow. Upon exiting the aircraft I carried out all the standard drills and had a good opening and was feeling elated. As I approached the ground the wind started gusting higher and stirring up the fresh snow. I released my rucksack and prepared for landing. I felt my rucksack hit the ground followed by me and found my left leg in a wheel rut that was just wide enough for my boot to get stuck and unable to roll properly the wind grabbed my chute and stretched me like an accordion until I was able to hit the quick releases. Ten minutes later I am gathering up my chute and limping off the DZ barely able to walk.

Over the next 5 years I was in and out of treatment until I left the Forces with a permanent limp and damage to my back and left leg and severe sciatica and hearing loss (separate incident). 

When I applied for a pension for my back I was granted a 20% 5/5ths pension. I did not apply for hearing loss because it was just a minor inconvenience at that time and the ringing in my ears, which I now know is tinnitus, was just something I put up with. Ignorance is rarely bliss.

Because my back injury is covered under the old Pension Act I will receive over my lifetime in direct pension benefits using the 2013 DVA Disability Pension benefit table as a base figure
45 years X 12months X $518.68 Basic benefit over 45 years is  $280,087.20
45 years X 12 months X 119.98 Married Benefit over 45 years is $70,027.20
18 years X 12 months X (67.44+49.28) Life Time child benefit is   $25,211.52
Total DVA Pension Benefit over 45 years                                 $375,325.92
New Veterans Charter Payment @ 20% (If applied to me)                                $59,717.59
Net Additional Benefit over 45 years of Pension Act over NVC  $315,608.33
  *2013 Dollars - not adjusted for CPI

I am now processing a claim for Hearing Loss and Tinnitus. Based on the examinations to date the most I can hope for is a 20% maximum though I think it more likely that if approved I will receive 10% for hearing and 5% for tinnitus.

Under the old Pension Act my monthly base pension would go from $528.68 to $907.69. I am currently 55 years old and can reasonably expect to live to 78 and receive an additional $102,698.64 on top of the $375K show above.

Under the NVC I will receive a lump sum settlement of $44,788.20. The Department of Veterans Affairs will save $57,910.44. This is just one example of the saving that the NVC is truly about. How many other thousands of CAF members will receive a similar type of settlement?

I think it is important that more accurate information about the true cost to the veteran versus the cost savings to the government be provided to the media and the public.


I have attached a PDF of the actual calculations if anyone is interested.
 

Jed

Army.ca Veteran
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However; it appears to me that the Public does not want to hear these facts. And, the RCL is currently by and large, the public without enough first hand military ethos to give a tinker's dam.
 

captloadie

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One also has to remember that joe public is going to compare his own situation to ours. The public can likely live with giving an Afghan vet who has a visible impairment a monthly pension, or in the case of the NVC, a large lump sum payout. I don't believe the same support would be garnered for someone injured during training, or from repetitive motion/exposure injuries. I can see the factory worker, automotive mechanic, mover, etc. balking at the fact that CF members feel entitled to a monthly pension for being injured on the job, when they can't get the same luxury (in most cases). We aren't at war anymore, and that sympathy, especially during a time of economic downturn, isn't there.
 

Fishbone Jones

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prairefire said:
Under the NVC I will receive a lump sum settlement of $44,788.20. The Department of Veterans Affairs will save $57,910.44. This is just one example of the saving that the NVC is truly about. How many other thousands of CAF members will receive a similar type of settlement?

Good luck with that. The guys I know that put in for their hearing and tinnitus, under the new plan, have been receiving an average of about $24,000.

Right now, under the old plan, I'm getting $324 and change for my hearing and tinnitus. I've had one reassement so far, I think I've got one or two more jumps for when it deteriorates more and that'll max me out for hearing.
 

prairefire

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Recceguy you may be right about that. It seems that hearing loss is one of those conditions where everone has to fight the system for recognition and then the awards always eem to be lower than anticipated. I hope that you are wrong but realistically you are probably right. :salute:
 

Teager

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I think the most detailed and best comparison of the NVC vs the old system and workers compensation can be found at the equitas society.

The position paper on The Reduction of The Canadian Forces Members' Disability Benefits can be found below.

http://equitassociety.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/position_paper_NVC_final_april_2012-b.pdf

Everything is very complex and the issues injured/ill have are complex. I find it very difficult to explain the problems of the NVC to any civi. I guess the best example I have used for a civi when explaining the lump sum vs pension amount is the Cash For Life lottery scratch tickets. If you win the cash for life your given two options. You can receive a lump sum cash amount or recieve $1000 a week for life. Now it comes down to age if your still young the $1000 a week is going to get you more cash. A senior may opt for the lump sum amount. I'm sure there is the odd fool who has been young and choose the lump sum.

Usually when I use this example it makes it very easy to understand the lump sum issues.
 

prairefire

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Teager: you are correct in what you have said. The example I am making is that for a large number military members who receive injuries, but are not medically  released the Pension Act is very much better than the NVC. A large number of former members of the CAF have a type of injury, that may be pensionable and affect thier quality of life, they are otherwise gainfully employed. They may suffer daily/weekly episodes of pain and discomfort, may not be able to ski or snowboard, may be a little bit slower in thier pursuit of the good life :sarcasm:but they will not be eligible for most of the benefits of the NVC. For most of these people ( and I am one of them) the NVC screws us. I have never liked getting screwed unless I get kissed first...............

I am glad that my back injury is pensioned under the Pension Act and saddened that my Hearing/Tinnitus is under the NVC.

As you alluded to many former military members are likely to prefer the lump sum payments if they are in their 60's or 70's. If you are in good health and younger the Pension pay out will always be more beneficial.
 

Teager

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Prairefire I understand your point and know a few people in that position. Due to my injuries my time in the CAF are numbered. I still get screwed even upon a medical release. I got my lump sum and other than 75% of my salary which will be the bare minimum since I am a reservist I also have the choice of the 2 years of school. Other than that I'm not entitled to any other benefits other than maybe the VIP program when I am older. As for school they don't seem to understand people who have families and bills to pay. School MIGHT get you a better job but what am I suppose to do in the mean time? The majority of my lump sum went into paying for my home. I guess I'm suppose to sell my home and support my family that way. So that leaves one other option and that's to find a job that pays enough to have a quality of life.

Ranted a bit there but overall what I think the majority is saying is a return of the pension system for all. In an ideal world they could give the choice of lump sum or pension or make a cut off point for the pension. For example if your 65 or older you receive a lump sum anyone under that age gets pensioned. That way younger guys won't screw themselves by choosing a lump sum just so they can buy that new car cash. Ultimately I believe there will be more changes to the NVC in the future wheather there good or bad we'll just have to wait and see and cross that bridge when it comes.
 

Gronk

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I was under the impression that once you are pensioned under the Pension Act, all further claims would covered by the Pension Act.
 

blackberet17

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Gronk: negative. Any NEW claims will fall under the NVC. Even if the medical condition you are applying for is a consequence (or the result of) a condition which is pensioned under the Pension Act, the new condition will still fall under the NVC.
 

blackberet17

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Also, here's a link to another way of explaining the difference between the Pension Act and NVC I wrote a while back:

http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/106421/post-1179188.html#msg1179188
 

krustyrl

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As a sidenote/FYI, I am currently on SISIP LTD. According to my CM at VAC, VAC picks up when SISIP expires after the 24mos if you need it and/or qualify.

New changes are that VAC no longer has the education benefit part of it. If you (like myself) are at the moment, unable to continue furthering your education with the SISIP LTD for whatever reason, well it vanishes after SISIP LTD expires.
VAC used to allow you 24mos if you were unable to take advantage of re-training during SISIP LTD.

Rather disappointed I am. 
 
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