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Michel Drapeau Law Office

Michel Drapeau Law Office provides a wide range of services focused on federal law with emphasis on Military Law, Freedom of Information (access) and Privacy Law, Wills and Estates Law and Human Rights Law.

Le cabinet juridique Michel Drapeau propose une vaste gamme de services et se spécialise en droit fédéral canadien, notamment les droits militaire, la sécurité publique, ainsi que les droits de la personne, incluant les questions visant le harcèlement et les pratiques discriminatoires ainsi qu'en accès à l'information, le droit à la vie privée.

How our country is failing our veterans (Part I)

By Kevin Berry

November 2011

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The disincentive to work creates even greater problems for Veterans suffering from PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression. Whenever I mentioned the possibility of working, the suggestion was countered with negative questions from VAC: "Is that a good idea?" "Are you sure you're ready for that?" etc. VAC even threatened to remove me permanently from the ELB program if I began working. So I sat at home and drank. The loss of the social interaction from my work led to my own PTSD-related anti-social behaviors growing worse.

The extremely annoying thing in my case is that although the events that caused my PTSD happened prior to 2006, because I didn’t seek help until 2009, I fall under the New Veterans Charter. Had I fallen under the old Pension Act, I would be receiving a monthly award for the rest of my life. That is not to say that the issue is purely about money, but when I went to Afghanistan, I thought the Pension Act was in place to protect me. PTSD is notorious – it can take years to manifest and be recognized, and in the early years of the Afghanistan mission there was far less comprehensive screening for Operational Stress Injuries for those returning from theatre.

As time went on, my drinking problem worsened. After Afghanistan I had become a regular drinker, but I would only drink heavily on my days off from work, usually 2-3 days per week. Now, off work, at home and receiving ELB, I had 7-days a week that I filled with drinking and smoking. In my case, the conditions created by the ELB program inadvertently exacerbated my psychological, substance abuse and financial problems. I was used to making far more money than what VAC was compensating me, yet I was now incurring significant debt to support my substance abuse habit that was exacerbated by the conditions laid out by the ELB program.

My personal life was unraveling. The drinking and debt were constant sources of conflict for me and my fiancé. We ended our engagement in December of 2010 and split up. I couch-surfed for the next month until I found a place to live with my best friend. The drinking continued, sometimes up to two-dozen beers a night. I continued down this destructive path until May 9th, 2011, when I finally got into a Substance Treatment facility paid for by VAC. By this time I weighed 326lbs.

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