One day, while attending church, I thought I recognized a military buddy who, like me, had recently retired from the Canadian Armed Forces. He was sitting in the pew in front of me and I leaned over to say hi and soon found out, after my third attempt to get his attention that he suffered from hearing loss. After I had finally got his attention and we started chatting, I asked him if he had submitted a disability claim for his hearing loss with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)?
His response, typical of many military veterans, is that he had not because the bureaucracy, forms and policies surrounding these kinds of disability claims were daunting and he simply could not be bothered. I offered to help and, within 8 weeks, VAC approved his disability claim and his hearing aids would now be covered by VAC because the hearing loss was deemed to be related to his military service. Receiving free hearing aids and treatment for someone on a fixed income is significant and he thanked me many times over – much more than I deserved.
My experience as an officer in the military coupled with my own disability claim and work as a service officer with the Legion afforded me the opportunity to understand the VAC disability claim process. It really feels good to be able to share my knowledge of the process and help fellow veterans .
Stories like the one I just mentioned are repeated dozens of times by veterans all across the country and these stories need to be collected and shared so that our veterans know that the federal government will answer their call much like they did when our country called upon them to serve their country. They just need a hand-up not a hand-out.
NB. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Royal Canadian Legion.