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Senior war veterans miss out on possible benefits

If you served overseas during the Second World War or during the Korean War, then you should call Veterans Affairs (1-866-522-2122).  This applies to both male and female veterans.  It is estimated that only 40 per cent of the veterans who qualify for benefits are receiving them.  Even if you did not qualify before, you might qualify now.  If during the Second World War you were in the military but you did go overseas, you too may be eligible for benefits.  When you call the toll free number listed above, your call is documented and assigned the most appropriate Veterans Affairs staff person.  If you do qualify for benefits then they may be retroactive to the date of your call.  If you do not qualify then the date of your call is still recorded and may be used if eligibility requirements change in the future.

The Veterans Affairs staff will review your past service records to help establish program eligibility. The staff at Veterans Affairs Canada, whether on the phone at their call centres or in the local office, will be happy to assist you through the application process and provide information on all of our possible programs.  This will certainly decrease your stress levels and confusion.  The programs are entitlement based with some also being income based, such as the War Veterans Allowance. Just having served our country during war years does not automatically qualify you for the programs and services.  Some programs are the War Veterans Allowance, Veterans Independence Program and the Veterans Disability Pension.  Through the Veterans Independence Program your housekeeping and grounds may be maintained to allow you to stay in your home longer.  When a veteran dies, the Veterans Disability Pension will transfer to the spouse along with the Veterans Independence program for the remainder of her or his life.  Through this program there are other benefits such as assistance to cover transportation to medical appointments, as well as some dental work, eye glasses, massage, physiotherapy and more.
None of these benefits are taxable.

Physical injuries sustained while in the service could include hearing loss, breathing disorders and even cancer.  The injuries must have been reported while you were in active service. However, it is possible that your medical condition may not appear for years after serving in the war.  Such conditions may include anxiety attacks and nightmares, lung disorders for Navy members, and some cancers for Korean War members.  In a number of cases these conditions may entitle you to benefits.
If a senior is not able to call Veterans Affairs himself, then the caregiver should call, with the veteran present.  A caregiver is anyone who is providing necessary care the seniors require to remain in their homes.

By, Sharen Marteny, CSA

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