The Minister of Veterans Affairs says the new Pension for Life package takes time to get right.
The Honourable Seamus O’Regan told the crowd at the Veterans Town Hall at the Travelodge on Thursday evening that the package is expected to come into effect on April 1, 2019.
Pension for Life combines financial recognition of pain and suffering, income replacement and a host of wellness services and programs to help veterans successfully transition to life after service.
O’Regan says the package comes up with more individualized solutions to complex problems, but it will take some time.
Walt Natynczyk, the former Chief of Defence, was on hand to explain Pension for Life and says this package combines the Pension Act and the New Veterans Charter.
O’Regan says their intention is to make the transition from service to becoming a veteran seamless.
He said with this new package, they will be doing all the heavy lifting as he called it.
O’Regan told those in attendance that they know the lump sum payment didn’t work and they know the whole system is complex.
Natynczyk says they were vehemently told what veterans didn’t want to see.
The Pension for Life package offers three new benefits.
The first is called the Pain and Suffering Compensation Benefit and replaces the disability award. It offers a monthly tax free payment for life up to $1,150.
This will be retroactive to 2006 under the Pension for Life.
The second benefit is an Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation Benefit which recognizes severe and permanent service related impairments. This will be in addition to the Pain and Suffering Compensation Benefit.
The third benefit is called the Income Replacement Benefit, which consolidates six benefits into one and will be paid at 90% of the veterans pre-release salary.
Currently, the Pension for Life package is working its way through the legislative process and needs to be made law by the government.
Natynczyk says once made law, the government has an obligation to follow through on it.
As of April 1, an education and training benefit and a career transition benefit came into effect for veterans.