Canada
Changes meant to reduce paperwork for veterans

Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie

MARYAM SHAH | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO – Veterans who have up until now received housekeeping and maintenance reimbursements will receive biannual cheques starting Jan. 1.

Eve Adams -- parliamentary secretary to Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney -- announced the change to the Veterans Independence Program (VIP) Thursday morning at a Toronto Royal Canadian Legion branch. She says the change is part of improving the action plan launched in October to aid veterans in the transition to civilian life.

"Here's a real-life example of how it used to be: Last year a veteran who had his house cleaned and the snow removed from his driveway submitted a total of 40 receipts to the department of veterans affairs for processing. In turn, the department of veterans affairs would cut a cheque for each one of those 40 receipts and send the cheque to the veteran" Adams said.

Cutting the red tape saves taxpayers money and is a more effective for the more than 100,000 veterans in the program, she said.

"Veterans told me quite clearly that they preferred to stay in their homes and age with dignity in our communities as long as possible," Adams said.

Veterans already enrolled in the program will receive the sum of money they were reimbursed last year.
Philip Griffin, 83, said the change makes sense as long vets don't end up getting shortchanged.

He wondered how Veterans Affairs will make up for the difference if the cost of hiring someone to cut grass or shovel snow goes up in 2013.

In response, Adams said veterans may call the department regarding adjustment in expenses.

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