Tory changes to veterans disability claims 'fall short': ombudsman

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

OTTAWA - The veterans ombudsman says he's disappointed with the Harper government's response to his call to treat ex-soldiers and members of RCMP fairly when they apply for disability benefits.

Guy Parent's latest report says veterans should not be left at the mercy of government institutions when they submit claims and the federal government should stop keeping applicants in the dark over the medical records used to decide those claims.

Soon after the report was tabled Monday, Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney responded with a series of changes, including more consultation with applicants whose claims are in jeopardy of being denied.

Parent, in a blog post Tuesday, said the changes "fall short of ensuring procedural fairness" to veterans.

The minister promised veterans that if an adjudicator is about to deny an application, the adjudicator will contact the individual ahead of time and offer a chance to submit more information.

But Parent says he's not sure a telephone call is an adequate substitute to receiving a copy of the evidence.