Feds looking at longer deadlines for answering veterans' requests for service
Minister of Veterans Affairs Seamus O'Regan rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2018 2:40PM EDT
OTTAWA -- The federal government is looking to extend the amount of time that officials have to respond to veterans seeking various benefits and support for service-related injuries.
The move follows years of criticism for having consistently forced former service members to wait months longer than promised to access support -- or even find out whether they qualify.
It also comes despite the Trudeau Liberals having promised during the last election to make it easier for veterans to access services by hiring more staff.
The government says it wants to give veterans a more realistic idea of when they can expect to hear back from Veterans Affairs Canada when they apply for assistance.
Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that while veterans are currently told they can expect to know within 16 weeks whether they qualify for disability benefits, officials believe a more realistic time frame would be 20 to 30 weeks.
But the union representing Veterans Affairs employees says the solution isn't extending the timelines but investing in more staff to keep veterans from having to wait for support.