Note: This for CF1 Card Holders only and not available to currently serving CAF Members.
Few of us like to think about the end of our lives, and the pre-planning that should be done. There are many costly pitfalls and mistakes that we, and our loved ones can make as we approach the eventual end of our lives. In this first article in a series, that I have (tongue in cheek) called “The Dead End”, I will focus on the benefits often overlooked by Veterans, and their families. This big blind spot of available military benefits holds true especially for Regular Force Vets with short service, and for most Reserve Force Vets. – Why? – This awareness gap exists, because 75% of Reservists leave the CF before age 30, as do many Reg. Force Vets with only short service. – And so, many decades later, neither the Vets, nor their families, are usually aware of the military related benefits that still trail after their decades old service in uniform.
First of all, every Vet should have proof of Canadian military service (name, service number, rank and dates served), and have photo copies provided to whoever will likely look after them, as their future health declines. At the end of this article I will provide an address where Vets can apply (free of charge) for the replacement of their military discharge papers. It typically takes 3-4 months for these documents to be sent from Ottawa. So it is wise to make such request in writing more than a year, before special Nursing Home or death benefit assistance may be needed for the Veteran.
Three (3) service related reasons that Veterans often overlook are:
- As a Veteran’s health declines, there may be reason (severe illness, blindness, dementia, etc.) to want Nursing Home care, where admission is controlled by local Community Care Access Centres (CCAC’s), and wait lists typically range from 6 months to 15 months or longer, depending on the community. A small percentage of many Nursing Homes’ beds are reserved for Vets, where next of kin with proof of their person’s military service can claim a bed, and skip the long waiting line for admission.
- As a Vet is dying, or has just died most Ontario cemeteries have a Veterans’ section available, generally for cremations only, where the actual tiny plot can be purchased for about half the regular price. A recent example, here in Kitchener, where we live, was $650 for a Veteran and $1210 for others. Again, proof of military service was needed!
- Veterans’ Affairs Canada funds and maintains an often overlooked “Last Post Fund”, which is aimed at Veterans with modest means or assets, which would make it difficult to pay for a normal funeral. There are different qualification criteria for single Vets, as opposed to Vets with a spouse or children. The Last Post Fund is a wonderful and dignified program, and they pay up to about $7500 for a needy Veteran funeral. There is an option for the Last Post Fund to take charge of the whole funeral, or to reimburse the will’s Executor or family for actual funeral costs up to one year after the event.
Again, details of the Veteran’s Canadian Military Service should be available.
For detailed information go to: [email protected]
or telephone the Last Post Fund at 1-800-465-7113.
Any other questions?
Remember, our Veterans’ Concerns Committee (VCC) have wide-ranging breadths and depths of knowledge and experience. The VCC members are:
Valorie Flynn, Glen Moore, Alan Nanders (chair), Ron Saranic & Gary Stafford.
Let us know what your questions and concerns are.
Alan Nanders (Chair VCC)
Real Advantages for Veterans
Many thanks to our Veteran-minded M.P. Harold Albrecht for inviting former Service Personnel to this now Annual Luncheon at splendid Puddicombe’s in New Hamburg today, 10 July 2018. (I have fond memories of my former M.P. Stephen Woodworth hosting similar events in Kitchener Centre until 2015.)
As a fellow Veteran, I chair a Veterans’ Concerns Committee (V.C.C.) for my old unit (The Royal Regiment of Canada Association.) – With my background, as a retired Soldier, retired high school teacher, and Waterloo Regional Seniors Rep., there are advantages and benefits many of us Veterans often overlook:
1. Via Rail offers 25% off the lowest advertised train fares for Veterans (with proof) and spouses, children or even grand-children, as long as all travel together. Many other businesses, such as hotels, auto rentals and some chain stores often give from 10% to 20% or more “off” their regular rates.
2. Both Air Canada and West Jet allow CF Members and Veterans (with proof) to check either 3 or 4 pieces of luggage free of charge on any booked flight.
3. Our Grand River Transit (GRT) allows honourably discharged Veterans aged 65 or older and who live in Waterloo Region to apply for a (life-time) picture ID Veterans Pass for a one-time fee of only $5.
4. Also, and although we do not like to think about it, most public cemeteries in Waterloo Region offer greatly reduced (almost half-price) cremation burial lots for all who have served, and their spouses.
5. In all of the above examples, there is a common need to establish actual Veteran status. There are several ways to do this: An actual discharge certificate along with a photo ID, such as a driver’s licence or an Ontario Photo Card (strongly recommended for all Seniors, who are no longer drivers), these will do. You can also write to National Archives in Ottawa.-
But it may be easier to apply for a Canadian Forces “CF1” card , which will also identify a Veteran. You can apply for a CF1 card by calling 1-855-245-0330, or go on line: www.cf1fc.ca.
6. Please remember, a Veteran is anyone who has served and was honourably discharged. My friend Bernie, for example, served in the Militia from 1960 to 1962, and died recently at age 84. A very proud man, but not a rich man, Bernie had luckily ordered replacement military records from Ottawa about a decade ago. As a result Bernie joined the Legion, and got a free Grand River bus pass, which came in handy when he could no longer drive after age 80. He is buried in the Veterans’ section of Williamsburg Cemetery, and a claim was submitted to the “Last Post Fund”, subsidised by Veterans’ Affairs Canada to help cover his burial costs. – Thus Bernie’s last 10 years were made better and easier, because he had proof of being a Veteran!
7. Veterans should not overlook Veterans’ Affairs Canada for any service related health claims, even many years later. – After my own 70th birthday a hearing specialist M.D. in Kitchener determined that most of my hearing loss was due to noise trauma as a young adult. As my military records proved, I had served several summers as a Range Safety Officer at CF Bases in the 1960’s. Nobody then had thought of using “ear defenders.” – About 16 months after applying, Veterans’ Affairs offered me: free hearing aids and service for life, and a tax-free settlement, which bought me a nice new SUV.
And the list goes on, including specially reserved Veterans beds at some Nursing Homes, and other such benefits…. all for Veterans!
If you have questions feel free to contact me.
Best at: [email protected] – Or leave a message at 519-741-0005.
Regards to fellow Veterans!
10 July 2018
Hello Veterans’ Concerns Committee (RRegtC Association):
I just received my first copy of “SALUTE!”, a free and informative 20-page magazine (40 pages, if you count the French language flipside called “SALUT!”.) It is published by Veterans’ Affairs Canada, and is aimed at all Veterans, including us Reservists.
SALUTE! is informative and has both widely useful and more obscure bits of information. Beyond first person transition accounts and general tips on healthful living, the reader finds out, for example, that “psychiatric dogs” (for those with PTSD) are now tax deductible. Also, Veterans honourably discharged after 31 March 2006 with at least 6 years of service may apply for a maximum of $40,000 to cover university tuition and related living expenses. And the list goes on covering Veterans who took lump sum payments from VAC and who may still qualify for a lifetime pension starting in April 2019. There is even a special message for LGBTQ2 Veterans for any claims or concerns that they may have.
A common information toll-free number is 1-800-487-7797; or visit veterans.gc.ca
To subscribe to SALUTE! there are various options available.
Go online at: Veterans.gc.ca/salute. The phone number is 1-866-522-2122.
For some of our Veterans a large print or audio format of SALUTE! may be better.
Such formats can be ordered by email: VAC. Communications.
Any questions or concerns?
I can be reached at 519-573-2829 (in Kitchener) or at [email protected]
Alan J Nanders
Veterans’ Concerns Committee (VCC)
1. CF Personnel, Veterans and Suicide
a. Based on a well publicized StatsCan study of over 112,000 Regular Force Personnel who served after 1971 and were who were released by or before 2006, the suicide rate for male Veterans was 46% higher than for male Canadian civilians of similar ages. The same study also noted that suicide risks were even higher for younger male CF personnel and Veterans. – This may be noteworthy, considering that 75% of all Reservists, leave the Canadian Forces, by or before age 30.
(What we have to be careful about is not to fall into the trap that some media types have followed, who blithely connect CF membership with an increase in suicide. Period! – That type of logic is akin to suggesting that a lack of sunlight causes an increase in crime, because the majority of crimes are committed at night time.)
b. Granted, PTSD has been strongly associated with ongoing and severe health problems, including depression and thoughts of suicide among too many CF Personnel and Veterans. This fact presents an ongoing challenge for both the Canadian Forces and for Veterans’ Affairs Canada. But there are also many problems other than PTSD that afflict the over 600,000 living Canadians Veterans of both the Regular Force and of the Reserves. The trouble is, Veterans’ Affairs Canada has only ever heard from about 100,000 Veterans, who are actual VAC clients. The other half-million Veterans are unknown to VAC; and many suffer in silence and in unfortunate ignorance.
In order to better serve these 500,000 or so unknown Canadian Veterans, a free 24-hour helpline was established by Veterans’ Affairs Canada. – A call to 800-268-7708
(or to 800-567-5803 for the hearing impaired) will allow for a connection to a nearby mental health professional, and may trigger up to 20 free counselling sessions. Also access to a special Veterans’ Emergency Fund (announced in 2017) will be available as of April 2018.
For other Veteran related problems a trained Royal Canadian Legion Service Officer could be another good and free resource, even if the Veteran is not a Legion member.
Call 1-877-534-4666 for further information.
2. Friday Savings for Veterans at Canadian Tire Gas Bars. (3 cents per litre)
Every Friday gasoline purchases are 3 cents per litre cheaper at Canadian Tire gas bars. Serving Members show CF ID cards. Veterans can use CF1 cards.
(Also acceptable for Veterans are NDI 75, and VAC Health Benefit Card.)
3. If you have any other concerns or helpful suggestions, please contact any of the members of our Veterans’ Concerns Committee, or me personally.
Check out the Sat Nov 11 Pickle Barrel Free Two Course Meal Offer For Veterans and Active Military:
CF Appreciation Government Vacation Rewards:
CFOne Card Register and Contest: