March 11, 1968 (27th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Norman Edward Fawcett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Fawcett:

Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to hold up the minister's estimates. Like many other hon. members I feel that the increase in pensions is long overdue, and I welcome it.
I wish to bring one or two matters to the minister's attention. One is the interminable delay that some people experience in trying to have their appeals heard. I shall not go into great detail and I shall cite only one case as an example. It is the case of a veteran who was receiving a disability pension and who died approximately two years ago. Because it was alleged that his disability was only two-fifths attributable to war service his wife was not entitled to a war pension. Following his death strong evidence came to light contesting the allegation that his disability was two-fifths attributable to his war service and supporting strongly the widow's claim for a pension. I will not go into details about the case since it is being processed. I shall merely say that from my reading of the evidence there is a strong case for paying the widow a pension. She appealed the previous decision some months ago and despite numerous telephone calls and letters I understand that the appeal will not be heard until May or June.
[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)
The widow is faced with a real problem. She has a child attending a secondary school. He will finish school this year and she wants to send him to a university. Although she does not at present need financial assistance she is obliged to conserve the little money she has in order to hold on to her home. Her resources are not enough to permit her to further the education of her child without assistance and she is anxious to know where she stands so far as the child is concerned. In all fairness I do not understand why there should be such a delay in handling appeals after all the evidence has been turned in. In cases of this kind, widows are placed in an extremely unenviable position.
I have been involved in another similar case. The appeal was finally decided in the widow's favour after the case had been under consideration for almost five years. Such delays appear to be unnecessary and when they do occur the provision for 12 months

March 11, 1968
Supply-Veterans Affairs retroactive pay is insufficient. Something should be done to expedite the handling of appeals in cases such as those I have mentioned.

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