Author Topic: SISIP offset/clawback will end as of July 1st 2012  (Read 5427 times)

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Canadian_Vet

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SISIP offset/clawback will end as of July 1st 2012
« on: June 15, 2012, 02:20:28 PM »
Dennis Manuge

Just spoke to Minister MacKay again this afternoon. The Minister again gave me a courtesy call to let me and the class (through me) that the SISIP offset/clawback will end as of July 1st 2012. The retroactive issue has not been addressed/resolved yet, so don't ask about that. Still being worked on.
Dennis Manuge

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/06/15/pol-cp-veterans-clawback-mackay.html

Disabled veterans pension clawback to end July 1

Class action ruling won't be appealed, feds could owe disabled veterans up to $600 million

The federal government will stop the clawback on pensions of disabled veterans starting on July 1, but it's still negotiating retroactive payments to those covered by a Federal Court ruling.
Dennis Manuge was the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit brought by disabled veterans against the federal government. On Friday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced an end to the clawback of veterans pensions, starting July 1. Dennis Manuge was the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit brought by disabled veterans against the federal government. On Friday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced an end to the clawback of veterans pensions, starting July 1. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced an end to the clawbacks in a statement on Friday, two weeks after the Harper government decided not to appeal a court ruling that sided with veterans.

A class-action lawsuit was filed in March 2007 on behalf of Dennis Manuge and 4,500 other disabled veterans whose long-term disability benefits are reduced by the amount of the monthly Veterans Affairs disability pension they receive.

MacKay called Manuge to tell him about the end to the deductions.

But the minister said in his statement that federal lawyers are still working to obtain a "mutually acceptable settlement" for repayment of benefits that have been clawed back, in some cases for decades.

It is unclear how much that will cost or how far back the payments will go.

Manuge, at point, estimated as much as $320 million was at stake.

But senior defence sources say the figure could run as high as $600 million, depending upon the negotiations.

MacKay said he wants a quick resolution so that soldiers and veterans are not left wondering.

"The care of our ill and injured personnel is my No. 1 priority and I am pleased that we have taken swift action on this file," he said in the statement.
Veterans charter changed rules

Among the matters under discussion is whether the benefit will be taxed.

Under the old system of pensions, veterans received some of their money tax-free, but since the introduction of the New Veterans Charter by the Conservative government in 2006, that has changed in some categories.

The Federal Court ruled the clawback was unfair under the Pension Act and violated the reasonable expectations of disabled vets.

Over the years, the issue has been a lightning rod, drawing condemnation from both the military ombudsman and a Senate committee, which described it as "profoundly unfair."

The policy that initiated the clawback dates to the late 1960s and was introduced by the chief of the defence staff at the time.

Manuge's lawyers argued that it was illegal, because the country's top military commander did not have the authority to make such a decision.

At the time MacKay announced an end to the practice, Veterans Affairs announced that it, too, would halt a clawback that had been applied to three of its disability awards.

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Moose

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Re: SISIP offset/clawback will end as of July 1st 2012
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 01:37:25 AM »
Previously posted on a different forum:

This is a positive step forward for those allowed to draw SISIP insurance however, you knew there would be an additional question; what about those wrongfully denied SISIP coverage and FORCED to beg from VAC for coverage under the Income Assistance Program? Will their claw-backs continue or will the same rules apply too the fortunate medically released members accepted on SISIP? I point out that VAC has continued to internally claw-back numerous benefits from their own programs. Will the SISIP claw-back decision positively affect those members denied fairness within VAC-IAP as well? I remain hopeful that one day equality will prevail.

Canadian_Vet

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Re: SISIP offset/clawback will end as of July 1st 2012
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 01:40:03 AM »
Mike Blais Rcr Cfds
Sit Rep. SISIP. Andre Bouchard, president of the SISIP program just called and we had a nice chat defining the issues as they stand. Let me summarize... The report is accurate in the sense that SISIP is addressing the personnel who are currently receiving benefits... and that there end month check from SISIP will NOT BE OFFSET!

So what happens to the rest of us?

First, do not be dismayed or impatient, there is no dark conspiracy, only the course of justice being served. Once the judge decides how far they are going to go back, those of us who have been clawed back to the point where received no income from SISIP, will be accorded retro activity and the claw back will cease. time frame, two-three months....
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CVA_Posting

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Class Action Negotiations for Disabled Canadian Forces Soldiers: Let?s Not Forget People in the Process Please

By Sean Bruyea

Defence Watch Guest Writer

Disabled Canadian Forces veterans and their families breathed a collective sigh of relief on May 29 when Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced the government would not be appealing a Federal Court decision that …

Source: Class Action Negotiations for Disabled Canadian Forces Soldiers: Let?s Not Forget People in the Process Please

By Sean Bruyea
Defence Watch Guest Writer
Disabled Canadian Forces veterans and their families breathed a collective sigh of relief on May 29 when Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced the government would not be appealing a Federal Court decision that said it was illegal to deduct pain and suffering payments from the veterans’ long-term disability (LTD) income.

This was quickly followed by an announcement from the minister two weeks later that beginning July 1, the illegal deductions would cease for all payments going forward.

However, as with far too many decisions by the federal government that affect Canada’s veterans, the devil is in the details. And the details show that Canada’s most disabled and unemployable CF veterans have been sidelined yet again. Government continues to effectively and illegally deduct pain and suffering payments from their LTD income.

It was hoped that Ottawa’s decision to not appeal ended a five-year court battle for Dennis Manuge, the lead plaintiff, and the initial 4,500 to 6,000 members who are all equally represented alongside Manuge in the class-action lawsuit. This hopefully also ends a nine-year battle for a number of these individuals who have been fighting a practice long before the court action against deductions that previous DND ombudsman André Marin condemned in 2003 and his successor Yves Côté labelled “profoundly” and “fundamentally unfair.”

Such strong words were used for good reason. Pain and suffering payments are indeed substantially different from lost income. The two have long been separated in workers’ compensation programs and insurance plans, including plans affecting the federal public servants who nevertheless ensured that pain and suffering payments were deducted from disabled Canadian Forces veterans’ long-term disability [LTD] income since as far back as 1976.

The courts are also adamant that pain and suffering payments are categorically different and the two cannot be mixed.
The LTD income for disabled CF members pays 75 per cent of a CF member’s release salary until age 65 if the member is unable to be suitably employed. This 75 per cent LTD income limit is a top-up which understandably deducts all other pension and disability income but also illegally deducted the pain and suffering payments.

By illegally confusing pain and suffering payments with income, the 75 per cent limit is easily exceeded for “the most seriously disabled CF members” noted Justice Robert Barnes in his May 1 ruling. The result is that the LTD policy is no longer obligated to pay anything. The “practical consequence” is to “extinguish the LTD coverage promised to [CF members]…with particularly harsh effect on the most seriously disabled CF members.”

The greater the disability, the greater the pain and suffering payment. As such, it has been the most disabled who, with the LTD extinguished, have watched while other less disabled members continue to collect their disability income cheques. The more seriously-disabled CF veterans are what are known as “zero-sum” clients. They are totally disabled and are put on the books but with zero dollars owing to them by the Canadian Forces LTD income plan.

On June 20, the LTD income cheques were deposited in many disabled veterans’ bank accounts for the first time without deducting pain and suffering payments. Meanwhile zero-sum clients looked helplessly on as once again they received nothing from the Canadian Forces LTD income plan. In effect, they therefore receive nothing from MacKay’s promise that the illegal deductions of pain and suffering payments “will not be deducted on any future cheques.”

The devilish detail in this announcement is that the most disabled had stopped receiving cheques perhaps last month, last year, or 10 years ago due to the illegal practice of including pain and suffering payments in the LTD income 75 per cent calculation. The “practical consequence” for the most seriously disabled is that they continue to suffer the illegal practice. There is no indication on the government’s part to start giving them a July, August, or any cheque for that matter. These highly-marginalized and vulnerable disabled CF veterans are now pawns in federal government negotiations.

These negotiations quickly stalled after the minister’s most recent announcement. They have since been restarted thankfully. However, zero-sum disabled veterans must wait yet again to see if government will stop the illegal practice which has a “particularly harsh effect” upon them and their families.

MacKay followed up his mid-June announcement with these words: “Our government’s strong action on this file is another example of our support for our men and women in uniform and our commitment to continue to meet the needs of those who need these benefits.”

Are disabled CF members, their families, and now Canadians to look at such words as empty platitudes which they have heard far too often when it comes to injured military and their families?

The reality is that MacKay and the Prime Minister can instruct that initiatives be taken immediately to restart the LTD income benefits for these zero-sum veterans. Why is this not happening? Is there an administrative laziness at work here or perhaps a compassion paralysis so common in the federal bureaucracy?
Whatever the reasons, the delays, and complex processes are once again placed ahead of real people enduring needless suffering for far too long. All the zero-sum clients are disabled because of their unconditional commitment in military service to Canadians and to the Canadian government.

It would be a pleasant and dignified change if Canada’s commitment to them was returned in kind, sooner rather than later.

Sean Bruyea is a columnist, graduate student in a masters of public ethics, and a former CF intelligence officer. He is also affected by the Federal Court decision.

Canadian_Vet

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SISIP Class Action Update July 23rd 2012
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2012, 07:29:12 PM »
SISIP Class Action Update July 23rd 2012


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