Department is unfairly penalizing veteran
NDP Critic for Aging and Seniors Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) wants to know why the department of Health and Community Services is denying an 89-year old veteran a subsidy she is entitled to for assistance in living in a long-term care facility.
“Nobody else – including the province’s own department of Finance – considers the benefit under discussion to be income,” says Rogers. “The department should correct the situation immediately and adhere to the appropriate policy.”
The veteran’s family contacted the NDP caucus office to discuss the
Health and Community Services policy which says the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) benefit the woman receives counts as income when determining whether she is eligible for a subsidy.
The VIP covers such expenses as grounds maintenance, housekeeping and personal care. “Neither the department of Veterans Affairs nor Revenue Canada considers this allowance as income,” says Rogers. “A staff member from our office even contacted the provincial Department of Finance, and was told the VIP is not considered income. Why on earth is Health and Community Services insisting on this ridiculous policy?”
The amount of this particular veteran’s VIP is just enough to make her ineligible for a Health and Community Services-administered supplement, which is not allocated on a sliding scale.
“I am shocked that the Department of Health is blindly insisting on denying an 89-year-old woman the much-need supplement when so many other organizations say they are wrong,” says Rogers. “They could look at their own policy manual, they could ask the Canada Revenue Agency, they could consider the legal opinion the veteran’s family sought.
“Nobody expects government to be perfect. When they make a mistake, they should be prepared to say so and move on to improve a situation.”