Author Topic: SISIP LTD Class Action settled (and follow-up on claw-back)  (Read 238264 times)

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Offline battleaxe

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2007, 20:09:31 »
but I also see former members who are drawing LTD pensions and claiming to be disabled working full time and then complaining their benefits are being clawed back by SISIP. If you can work full time, why should you be drawing the benefits in the first place. These LTD SISIP benefits are called (loss of wage benefits) and were designed for those of us who can't work any longer in a full time capacity. If everyone claiming this benefit did this, but weren't penalized, the money would quickly quickly dry up.


Thanks for the reply, but I need some clarification on this one...

My understanding is this...

If a released member is on SISIP and working full time, their wages are clawed back (rightfully so) by SISIP- as any and all wages are considered taxable income. Actually, only 50% of earned wages are clawed back - up until the point that the total income (LTD plus earnings) is equal to the salary upon release. This gives people an incentive to return to work- they can earn more than the 75% offered by SISIP.

But...no recipient of SISIP is able to exceed their post-release salary/wages and still receive any money from SISIP. 

They can remain under the protection of SISIP LTD for the first two years after release- just in case new employment opportunities don't work out. This added job protection is a needed benefit to counteract the fact that the CF does not accommodate for disability (ie. leaves members to find own post- release employment) and that CF members cannot draw EI. It gives a security blanket for two years so that released members can get their feet solidly back on the ground and into new employment after release.

So, while released members may be in the SISIP program, it does not necessarily mean that they are profiting from it or taking advantage.

The SISIP LTD program doesn't seem, to me, like a system that is easy to take advantage of or profit from.

Also, when you say that they are "then complaining their benefits are being clawed back by SISIP"- do you mean the VAC benefits that are clawed back?

I have often said that the worst thing the military ever did was to offer a disability pension/award to people who were still able to serve full time.  That policy created strife within the workplace and confusion for everyone. I feel that any and all compensation for service related injuries is best offered upon release- when disabilities and injuries affect future employability and quality of life (my opinion only).

But- if VAC is going to offer disability awards to members still able to serve and work full time- and call it a non-taxable/non-income benefit- then I feel that veterans under SISIP have every right to complain that the very same awards, for them, are considered income- whether they happen to be working or not.

That is my understanding.  Hope I'm not too far off base.

Bren

Offline battleaxe

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2007, 20:26:35 »

Any taxable income that comes my way will be clawed back by the insurance provider.

The sticky point here being that VAC disability awards are non-taxable and not supposed to be considered income. 
That's the gist, I think, behind the suit Manuge has launched.  Another point he is basing his suit on- that only those payments awarded prior to 2006 (the monthly payments) are subject to clawback.  Currently- with the new lump sum awards- there are no claw backs at all. (How on earth would they figure that out?)

Anyway, I agree with you that all you can do is to keep fighting...and that many of the situations that come up about employment issues and benefits are not unique to the military. It's hard to compare all the different variations in workplaces and policies, though.  Sometimes that best you can do is fight for those that affect you personally.

Hope it all works out well for you,

Bren

Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2007, 03:36:57 »
Let me clarify, VAC benefits are not clawed back, these are a non taxable allowance not and income. But because there is no longer monthly pension awards being given, the member's lump sum award, whatever it may be is still tax free and not subject to any clawback.

 SISIP benefits are different and come under (loss of wage category) which are classified as income and taxable as income. This is not and award such as the new VAC charter pays out to disabled members. This benefit was designed to replace (lost of wage earnings) that a member can no longer make due to a disability.  If someone is able to work, the money they earn is then deducted from their monthly SISIP payment. But let me add, that the member's benefit never goes below 75% of his earnings before they left the military under the extended LTD benefit. But what people seem to forget is if one is unable to continue working, their SISIP benefit is once again topped backup to the maximum, unlike UI benefits as someone mentioned earlier, which once you use up your stamps, it's gone and with each withdrawal the amount gets smaller. No comparison.

Also for those members with 20+ years who are being medically released, will have their military pension (superannuation) fully indexed upon release. You don't have to wait until you turn 60 and this can add upto and additional 30% on your pension. More years served, higher the rank, higher the indexed amount. The formulas is still (years served + your age upon release= 85.) In my case I would have had to wait till I was 64 for full indexing.

I admit there is still much room for improvement, but these benefits were designed to give a member 75% of there past salary and are still much more generous than what is currently available through the private sector under the workmans compensation act.

I feel what is going on at the moment with these court cases and what not, is going to have a lasting repercussion down the road. It can only go one of two ways. Either they will completely revamp the system or they will discontinue the benefits all together, due to cost overruns and the treasury department has the final say on this. If it's the latter, wait and see, if it's the last, alot of people are going to be left on very thin ice with no income. So the few who weren't satisfied with what they received, spoiled it for the majority of us who actually needed it.

« Last Edit: August 08, 2007, 08:02:25 by retiredgrunt45 »
The first goal of any political party is to stay in power by whatever means possible. Their second goal is to fool us into believing that we should keep them in power.

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Offline battleaxe

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2007, 19:08:41 »
retiredgrunt45,

I think we both have the same basic concern- that the ones who truly require available benefits (those who are disabled and unable to work) are vulnerable because the system is currently so screwed up.
 
I still find myself at odds with some of the things you are saying, however, and being the stickler for detail that I am, wish to pursue this topic a bit farther.
I hope you take my comments for what they are- an attempt to clarify and learn.  I’m concerned you’ll think I’m just butting heads with you- and that is not my intention.

You say, “VAC benefits are not clawed back”. But...in the case of Manuge- whose VAC award comes in monthly payments-they are being clawed back. 
That is the basis for his lawsuit.
Currently, those who receive lump sum payments under the new Veteran’s Charter keep all of their VAC benefit- the payouts are not subject to claw back. There are still many, however, who receive the monthly payments, on SISIP LTD, who see their VAC benefit clawed back.
You say that there are no longer any monthly pension awards being given.
There are no new monthly payments being awarded, for sure, but this does not mean that many people on SISIP LTD do not still receive monthly payments, and lose them to SISIP, under the old system.

About SISIP- After two years, if you can work, you’re taken off of SISIP LTD- and from what I know, there’s no going back on it.
If, after two years, you are found to be disabled and unable to work, you are kept on SISIP LTD and offered fair income replacement.
The system, IMO, is quite fair.

Re: the Manuge lawsuit. 
You say that, “the few that weren’t satisfied with what they received, spoiled it for the rest of us who actually needed it.”
Who is to say that Manuge doesn’t need it? 
He’s disabled, released, unemployed, and unable to work. His VAC benefits are being clawed back, while he sees many other CF personnel/veterans, able bodied enough to continue full time employment, collecting theirs free and clear. 
He’s decided to fight an injustice that many have grumbled about for years.
I can’t fault him for that. 
While I do agree with you that there is abuse of the system and many frivolous lawsuits- I don’t believe that his fight is in either of these categories.  I think his fight is one of the valid ones.

Anyway, I’m writing another book.  When I get on this topic I tend to go on… sorry about that.

Bren


Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #29 on: August 15, 2007, 21:22:02 »
Hello Bren, My apologies, I didn't mean to come of as callous as it sounded. I didn't realize that he was under the old VA system.

 Number 1: I still don't understand some of the complexities of his case. Is he able to work? And if he is, why is the VA taking money way from him? To me it doesn't make sense. I see many other vets collecting VA pensions and working, but their pensions are not clawed back. If that is the case, then yes he should fight it.

Number 2: Is he on permanent SISIP benefits? If not, why was he not placed on permanent status if he's no longer able to work. To me it sounds rather odd. The VA just doesn't subtract money from a members pension, there must be other underlying circumstances.

I contacted my VA representative and was told that VAC does not take money from anyone's pension for any reason. Once you have been awarded a pension at a percentage the amount will never decrease. You can asked to be reassessed to have your pension increased, but never decreased. Something doesn't add up here.

I receive both SISIP LTD and a VAC monthly pension. Never has my VA pension ever been clawed back. I don't know it just doesn't add up. Unless of course he is looking for 100% of his past income. This to me would be the only way it would make any sense.

This is the way it's designed to work under the old plan.

 Superannuation (military pension) $XXX.XX number of dollars
 VAC monthly benefit                    $XXX.XX number of dollars
 Monthly SISIP pmt.                      $XXX.XX number of dollars
                                     Totals = 75% of your past salary (no more no less)

(SISIP makes up the difference between your superannuation and your VAC
 to bring you upto 75%.)
                                     
I'm baffled, until I can find out more info about this case.

The first goal of any political party is to stay in power by whatever means possible. Their second goal is to fool us into believing that we should keep them in power.

A politician is like a used car saleman, he'll promise you a "peach" and then turn around and sell you a "lemon"

"Politicians are like diapers, they have to be changed often because their usually full of crap.

Offline the 48th regulator

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2007, 22:55:02 »
I agree with you wholeheartedly,

However, I was told at the onset of my injuries, due to the fact that VAC was caring for me, SISSIP was not entitled to help.  After I was released I am being reassessed by SISSIP, as I was medically released, however;

Quote
I contacted my VA representative and was told that VAC does not take money from anyone's pension for any reason. Once you have been awarded a pension at a percentage the amount will never decrease. You can asked to be reassessed to have your pension increased, but never decreased. Something doesn't add up here.

This is incorrect, if your injuries are found to be improving, you may very well be trimmed down from your percentage allotted to you.  I was also told this by both VAC, and my Legion rep.  It is rare when it happens, but there is absolutely no legislation that blocks it from happening.

dileas

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Offline DBA

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2007, 05:43:30 »
Note that it's SISIP that claws back benefits not VAC. It's the type of insurance SISIP is and it is legal so I  am not sure how far the lawsuit will get. It tops up your monthly VAC benefits and income.

Thinking on this more it might be better to lobby for conversion of 50% (or some other %) of VAC monthly benefits into a lump sum payment for those who wish it. The lowered monthly VAC benefits would mean less clawed back by SISIP and the lump sum would provide for more financial flexibility. Paying off the house or buying products to make going back to work easier are both more likely with a lump sum vs monthly payments. Still if money going out ends up still less than money coming in a lump sum will only last so long and then the situation would be worse with the lower monthly payments.
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Offline Greymatters

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #32 on: August 19, 2007, 19:48:38 »
Men, your situation is no different than civilians... 

At the ripe old age of 52 I became very sick and was forced to retire at 55 due to my illness.  I went on LTD from my company's insurance provider. Not nice! Hounded to death by the insurance provided to apply for Canada Pension (Medical). I applied to get the insurance provider off my back. When I was accepted for CP Disability, the insurance provider clawed back every cent. 

This doesnt cover all workplace injuries for civilians though, which is different from the military system.  Many employees injured in the workplace are covered under Workers Compensation acts and receive immediate support and benefits.  Unfortunately the people coordinating the retraining programs arent all as smart as they should be, but every system has its flaws...

Edit - reread your posts and saw you already alluded to this...
« Last Edit: August 19, 2007, 19:56:17 by GreyMatter »

Offline Greymatters

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #33 on: August 19, 2007, 19:54:40 »
Superannuation (military pension) $XXX.XX number of dollars
 VAC monthly benefit                    $XXX.XX number of dollars
 Monthly SISIP pmt.                      $XXX.XX number of dollars
                                     Totals = 75% of your past salary (no more no less)

I think this demonstrates the point very clearly.  IMO, the VAC should not be included in the calculations, period.

Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #34 on: August 19, 2007, 20:23:31 »
Quote
Men, your situation is no different than civilians. As a soldier I was fully aware of my benefits or lack there of, when I joined. Yet, I stayed in. I left the military of sound body and sound mind(questionable). I was lucky to land a good job as a mechanic. At the ripe old age of 52 I became very sick and was forced to retire at 55 due to my illness.

I went on LTD from my company's insurance provider. Not nice! Hounded to death by the insurance provided to apply for Canada Pension (Medical). I applied to get the insurance provider off my back. When I was accepted for CP Disability, the insurance provider clawed back every cent.

Any taxable income that comes my way will be clawed back by the insurance provider. So your situation is not unique. My point of view on this is, I paid x number of dollars a month for LTD benefits which would be 80% of Take-Home, Tax Free. With the Claw-Back policy, the insurance provider is legally ripping me off of money that I paid for.

No matter how hard you fight for something, someone will always find a means to block your way. Most anyone can do is keep fighting.

 With this in mind, how far will this go in court? Seeing that both civilian and military sectors have basically the same problems, this goes well beyond the scope of any one particular case and I can't see the insurance industry changing their policies any time soon.
The first goal of any political party is to stay in power by whatever means possible. Their second goal is to fool us into believing that we should keep them in power.

A politician is like a used car saleman, he'll promise you a "peach" and then turn around and sell you a "lemon"

"Politicians are like diapers, they have to be changed often because their usually full of crap.

Offline DBA

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #35 on: August 21, 2007, 04:00:35 »
The policy is most likely written the other way around in that they will make up any shortfall up to the limits of your coverage. If you get money from other sources there is less of a shortfall so they pay out less. If yours is all clawed back then it's just the same as all those who pay premiums and never get hurt - they get no benefits besides peace of mind as to being covered if things were worse. Like if the injury was deemed outside normal coverage but is covered by the top up policy. As well top up policies I imagine have much lower premiums than more direct coverage.

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Offline battleaxe

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #36 on: August 21, 2007, 10:01:55 »
Hello Bren, My apologies, I didn't mean to come of as callous as it sounded. I didn't realize that he was under the old VA system.

 Number 1: I still don't understand some of the complexities of his case. Is he able to work? And if he is, why is the VA taking money way from him? To me it doesn't make sense. I see many other vets collecting VA pensions and working, but their pensions are not clawed back. If that is the case, then yes he should fight it.

Number 2: Is he on permanent SISIP benefits? If not, why was he not placed on permanent status if he's no longer able to work. To me it sounds rather odd. The VA just doesn't subtract money from a members pension, there must be other underlying circumstances.

I contacted my VA representative and was told that VAC does not take money from anyone's pension for any reason. Once you have been awarded a pension at a percentage the amount will never decrease. You can asked to be reassessed to have your pension increased, but never decreased. Something doesn't add up here.

I receive both SISIP LTD and a VAC monthly pension. Never has my VA pension ever been clawed back. I don't know it just doesn't add up. Unless of course he is looking for 100% of his past income. This to me would be the only way it would make any sense.

This is the way it's designed to work under the old plan.

 Superannuation (military pension) $XXX.XX number of dollars
 VAC monthly benefit                    $XXX.XX number of dollars
 Monthly SISIP pmt.                      $XXX.XX number of dollars
                                     Totals = 75% of your past salary (no more no less)

(SISIP makes up the difference between your superannuation and your VAC
 to bring you upto 75%.)
                                     
I'm baffled, until I can find out more info about this case.



I'll apologize about the length of this post upfront...I had to include a letter in the text of the post because I couldn't get it to post with the specific internet address for said letter. So anyway...sorry..and grab a coffee...


Just to clarify- it is SISIP clawing back VAC payments (as DBA just mentioned) - his VAC pension amount isn't being decreased.

Is he working right now? I can’t say that I’m as sure about that as I may have sounded earlier.  I had read an article that gave me that impression but can’t find it right now…I’m looking…and I’ll get back to you if I find it.

Most current info I have is from July 19- Chronicle Herald article- that states his lawsuit was launched to “regain about $10,000 in disability pension that was clawed back from him for two years while he trained for a new career after being released from the army in 2003”. (From this I get that he was under the old system of monthly VAC payments and that he was on SISIP when the claw backs occurred).

Truthfully though, his employment status should have no bearing on whether or not he receives his VAC award.  That should be his free and clear whether he works or not or is on LTD or not.

Using your equations, he is saying that:

Superannuation (military pension) + monthly SISIP payment= (should equal) 75% of past salary (no more, no less)

...and then you should receive your VAC pension amount on top of that.

Can I ask whether your VAC claim was accepted prior to October 2000?  I don’t want to get into personal info you’re not willing to get into- but I can’t see any other reason that your VAC wouldn’t be clawed back by SISIP.  Those of us who receive monthly VAC payments (for claims finalized after October 2000) receive monthly VAC payments but have an equal amount clawed back by SISIP.

There are different scenarios of payment/clawbacks/awards based on when VAC claims were initiated and approved- we may just be all talking about different situations here.

Is that what’s confusing me?

Anyway…the best I’ve ever seen the SISIP clawback 'scandal' explained is in the following letter from Yves Cote to then Minister of Defence Graham in 2003 which can be found at this link: http://www.ombudsman.forces.gc.ca- under "Letters and Statements":



Letter to the Minister of National Defence regarding recommendations included in the 2003 Special Report
October 26, 2005

The Honourable William Graham, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major-General George R. Pearkes Building
13th floor, North Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0K2

Dear Minister Graham:

I am writing with respect to the Special Report entitled Unfair Deductions From SISIP Payments to Former CF Members. As you may recall, my predecessor provided this report to former National Defence Minister John McCallum on August 27, 2003. On October 8, 2003, Minister McCallum wrote to the former Ombudsman, commenting that the report was “thoughtful and timely” and advising that he agreed with all of the recommendations it contained. The report was made public on October 30, 2003. On November 4, 2003, the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs (SCONDVA) unanimously passed a motion imploring “the Defence Minister and government to accept and enact the recommendations forthwith.”

While three of the report’s recommendations have been implemented, two remain outstanding. These concern the offsetting (deduction) of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) disability pensions awarded under the Pension Act, awarded as compensation for a disability resulting from military duty, from the amount paid out by SISIP Long Term Disability (LTD) as monthly income replacement benefits.

It might be useful to describe some of the rules, terms and conditions relevant to these recommendations.

The SISIP LTD plan guarantees CF members 75% of their previous salaries for up to two years if they are released, in particular, because of a service-related disability. Payments can continue to age 65 if the member remains disabled.

However, SISIP LTD does not necessarily pay the whole 75% itself; under the plan, any other source of income a member receives is taken into account and offset from the amount SISIP pays directly.

VAC disability pensions, even though they are not considered income but rather disability benefits aimed at compensating CF members for injuries suffered in the line of duty, are considered a source of income under the SISIP LTD formula. Therefore, they are taken into consideration when SISIP LTD determines how much it will pay out to disabled former CF members in income replacement benefits.

The Ombudsman’s report recommended that since VAC disability pensions are not income, they should not be considered as income when calculating SISIP LTD benefits. The report also recommended that individuals who had previously had their SISIP LTD benefits reduced be reimbursed retroactive to October 27, 2000. (This is the date on which all serving CF members became entitled to collect VAC disability pensions while still serving, regardless of where their injury occurred. Before that date, only those injured in a special duty area were entitled to collect the tax-free disability benefit while still serving and collecting a salary.)

Following my meeting with you on September 27, 2005, our General Counsel, Mary McFadyen, met with your Special Assistant, Brian O’Neil on October 5, 2005, taking the opportunity to explain why we think these recommendations should be implemented, and pointing out the inherent unfairness in considering a pension intended to compensate for a disability as a source of income deductible from SISIP LTD payments.

It is important to emphasize that the new Veterans Charter may correct this inequity, but this will happen only from the date of its coming into force (possibly April 2006) onward; my understanding is that the Charter will not have any retroactive effect. This means that former members not falling under the new Charter (i.e., those currently in the system and any others entering the system between now and the coming into force of the Charter) will continue to be subject to the rules under examination here. In other words, those who are collecting SISIP LTD payments and receiving VAC disability benefits under the Pension Act will continue to have their SISIP LTD payments reduced by the VAC disability benefits they receive.

To illustrate why I believe this is fundamentally unfair, I would like to use the following hypothetical examples.

Let us examine the situation of two Master Corporals serving in the same Army unit, both having eight years of service and both being injured in the same incident (before the coming into force of the Charter).

MCpl A suffers injuries that leave him permanently disabled, but the disability is not severe enough to prevent him from continuing to serve in the Regular Force. Let us assume he was assessed at suffering from a 20% incapacity, which results in a monthly VAC pension of approximately $400.00. This is a pension which, normally, he would receive tax-free for the rest of his life. Assume further that this member continues to serve for another twenty-five years, and eventually retires as a Master Warrant Officer. On retirement, he will be entitled to a full (superannuation) pension based, of course, on his salary in his last five years of service at a higher rank than when he was injured.

According to the regime now in place, this member will receive his VAC monthly pension in addition to his Regular Force pay from the time of his injury to the time of his retirement, and, when he retires, he will receive it in addition to his superannuation pension. In other words, he will always receive his (tax-free) VAC pension in addition to his other income.

Let’s now turn to MCpl B who was much less lucky. His injury was much more serious. In fact, it was so serious that he was released from the CF as medically unfit to serve. He applied for a VAC pension and was assessed at 70% incapacity. This entitles him to a VAC pension of approximately $1400.00 per month (assuming he was single and had no children). Let us examine his situation in more detail:

he lost his job;
his physical impairment is so serious that the likelihood of his finding a civilian job may be extremely limited;
because he had only eight years of service, he is not entitled to (superannuation) pension payments;
under SISIP LTD his income will, upon release from the CF, be reduced to 75% of his regular force salary; and
he will not be able to collect his VAC pension in addition to his SISIP LTD benefits; on the contrary, the value of that pension will be offset from his SISIP payments.
The two examples I have just used – and I believe they are not farfetched – demonstrate why, in my view, there is a fundamental element of unfairness in the present system which leads to real and serious inequities. It is this very unfairness that the two recommendations that have not been implemented are meant to redress.

I believe that a strong case can be made that VAC pension payments should not be considered as income replacement as such, but rather as compensation for the consequences flowing from disabilities suffered (e.g., loss of enjoyment of life, loss of career opportunities, continuing pain and suffering, etc.).

Incidentally, I presume that the changes made in 2000 to allow Regular Force members to collect their regular pay and their VAC pensions were based on a similar rationale, i.e., that the VAC disability payments are not income replacement but rather that they are intended, as I just indicated, to act as compensation for losses other than losses of income.

If this is correct, and if one assumes that the primary purpose of SISIP LTD is to act as income replacement, then it seems to me that it would be logical – indeed, imperative – that a change should be made to prevent VAC pension payments from being offset from SISIP LTD benefits. Otherwise, the system will only be seen as condoning treatment that is significantly unfair and inequitable to those who, like MCpl B, are most disabled and who suffer most.

Because the situations that soldiers like MCpl B find themselves in result directly from their millitary service, from their service to their country, I believe they deserve better. They ought to be treated with care, compassion and generosity. They ought to be treated in a manner that is substantially similar to that of soldiers who are able to continue serving their country, in spite of the injuries they have suffered.

Given that this point was raised when we met, I would also add that, during the Office’s investigation of this matter, SISIP President, Pierre Lemay, advised us that removing Pension Act disability payments from the formula for determining SISIP LTD payments would cost approximately $5 million per year. We have not independently verified this. I will only say that if Mr Lemay is right, it does not appear that the money required to correct this serious inequity is disproportionate.

I understand that you have received advice from the Department on this matter, and will soon be making a decision. As you know, the role of an Ombudsman does not end after making recommendations. It continues afterwards to ensure that, to the extent possible, those recommendations are acted upon by the organization. As the recommendations in this Report have been accepted by your predecessor, the Honourable John McCallum, and also endorsed by the Honourable David Pratt, when he was Chairman of SCONDVA, I would urge you to consider giving effect to them.

As you know, there is considerable interest in this matter. The Royal Canadian Legion strongly supports these recommendations and we receive constant inquiries from serving and former CF members, as well as from members of Parliament and the public, as to whether or not the recommendations will be implemented.

I believe strongly that this inequity should be corrected. I feel a responsibility to update my constituents on this matter, and given the passage of time, I consider it imperative that I do so at the earliest opportunity. I would therefore suggest this matter be addressed on a priority basis.

I thank you for your thoughtful consideration of these recommendations and I look forward to what I hope will be a positive response from you.

Yours truly,

Yves Côté, Q.C.
Ombudsman


Hope it helps to clarify...and you might take note of the date- October 2005.  Manuge is fighting a fight that the Ombudsman recognized should be fought almost 2 years ago.  Sad?
 
Bren

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #37 on: August 21, 2007, 10:37:23 »
Well,

Yesterday, I spoke with my case worker from SISIP/Manulife and I was told that I must submit copies of all my pay stubs, dating from the time of my medical release.  Then based on my Salary from my civilian employer, and the percentage I was awarded from VAC (I received my pension prior to the new charter) a decision will be made with regads what SISIP will cover me.

After that decision is made, I will be taxed on the total.

I made the comment, that, really there would be no use going forward as I see a total of zero being awarded to me.  She just nervously giggled.

Oh well, strike two with SISIP, I should have expected as much.

I would really like to see that legality of how they have this contract, and how the bid process went into it.

dileas

tess
I know that I’m not perfect and that I don’t claim to be, so before you point your fingers make sure your hands are clean.

Offline battleaxe

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #38 on: August 21, 2007, 11:23:52 »


After that decision is made, I will be taxed on the total.


OK, and I had never thought about this aspect of it until you wrote the above sentence, does that mean that we (those of us who have our monthly VAC payments clawed back by SISIP) are ultimately paying income tax on what is supposed to be a non-taxable benefit?

I can't wrap my mind around how that would work?

Anybody?

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #39 on: August 21, 2007, 11:28:31 »
Apparently, if we are to be given SISIP payments to offset loss of income, in their infinite wisdom, it therefore becomes "taxable Income".

A second tier of clawback.

Just lovely.

dileas

tess
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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #40 on: August 21, 2007, 16:29:57 »
To muddy the waters a little more, yes you can have claims under both the old and the new charters. It depends on the date of claim file. Some interesting interpretations of which covers what going on. Next the EI folks will not claw back Temp Loss Earning Benefits if your are on medical EI. BUT VAC will claw back medical EI payments. I arranged a conference call between the head of EI here in Alberta with myself and VAC in Charletown. ( I suspect judging by grammatical nuances used the EI towards the VAC, he was former service). VAC used some very specific word choices when the new benefit plan was formulated. Somewhere around here I have a letter from EI confirming their position on the issue.

Tess,
don't feel bad. My advocate got my file mixed up with someone else's. The apology letter is worth framing or a figure 11.

edit to add:

three of us here in Calgary approached Mr Rob Anders MP.'s ( Chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs Canada) back in May about the possibilities of a sit down in August.  MPs do not always meet with there constituents when back on home turf. ;)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 16:35:10 by 3rd Herd »
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Offline Greymatters

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #41 on: August 21, 2007, 16:37:35 »
Apparently, if we are to be given SISIP payments to offset loss of income, in their infinite wisdom, it therefore becomes "taxable Income". A second tier of clawback.

I found that annoying as well...

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #42 on: August 27, 2007, 05:20:28 »
Quote
Well,

Yesterday, I spoke with my case worker from SISIP/Manulife and I was told that I must submit copies of all my pay stubs, dating from the time of my medical release.  Then based on my Salary from my civilian employer, and the percentage I was awarded from VAC (I received my pension prior to the new charter) a decision will be made with regads what SISIP will cover me.

After that decision is made, I will be taxed on the total.

I made the comment, that, really there would be no use going forward as I see a total of zero being awarded to me.  She just nervously giggled.

Oh well, strike two with SISIP, I should have expected as much.

I would really like to see that legality of how they have this contract, and how the bid process went into it.

dileas

If you can work, why should you be able to draw LTD SISIP benefits in the first place? These benefits were designed for people who "can't work" and have no other source of income, if that were the case the SISIP program would go bankrupt in a hurry. Sorry you can't have your cake and eat it also. The argument that "it's not fair" is rubbish. The system works and for the people who disagree, haven't taken the time to actually research why and how it works and for whom. Don't bash the program, it works quiet well for those of us who ended up in wheelchairs.

Do you think workmans comp, will continue to pay you if you return to work? NO. And good luck trying get it.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quote
Can I ask whether your VAC claim was accepted prior to October 2000?  I don’t want to get into personal info you’re not willing to get into- but I can’t see any other reason that your VAC wouldn’t be clawed back by SISIP.  Those of us who receive monthly VAC payments (for claims finalized after October 2000) receive monthly VAC payments but have an equal amount clawed back by SISIP.

There are different scenarios of payment/clawbacks/awards based on when VAC claims were initiated and approved- we may just be all talking about different situations here.

Is that what’s confusing me?

To answer your question, yes i was receiving VAC, while still serving, starting in 1999. Upon my release in 2001, I was sent for retraining by SISIP for two years at the school of my choice. My monthly SISIP payment was clawed back by the amount of my VAC pension, but I was still receiving 75% of my past salary + the cost of my education, which added up to $14,000.00, including, books and equipment. This is the way it's designed to work. After my condition became much worse and it became apparent that i couldn't work, I was placed on LTD SISIP.

I really don't know were this person is planning on going with this, but if that is the case, he will not get very far. All one has to do is look and read your SISIP policy and it's right there in black and white. If this were the case, there would be many of us who felt the same and sued for lost monies. It looks to me that he is trying to get something he was never in tiltled to in the first place under the existing policy guidelines. If he was able to return to work, he shouldn't be drawing SISIP.

Like I stated previously, it doesn't add up. unless he's looking for 100%. But this will never happen.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 06:12:33 by retiredgrunt45 »
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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #43 on: August 27, 2007, 09:01:38 »
Quote
If you can work, why should you be able to draw LTD SISIP benefits in the first place? These benefits were designed for people who "can't work" and have no other source of income, if that were the case the SISIP program would go bankrupt in a hurry. Sorry you can't have your cake and eat it also. The argument that "it's not fair" is rubbish. The system works and for the people who disagree, haven't taken the time to actually research why and how it works and for whom. Don't bash the program, it works quiet well for those of us who ended up in wheelchairs.

Do you think workmans comp, will continue to pay you if you return to work? NO. And good luck trying get it.


Hmm,

So maybe my definition is askew.  Because of the fact that I appear to have my faculties in order, exonerates me making an opinion with regards to compensation by SISIP.  Although I have incurred life long injuries (Hearing Loss, Blindness, Constant head and Muscular pain, psychological, etc), by your reasoning, I have to wait until I am totally incapacitated before I am able to offer an opinion.

Explain to me this, when I was injured I received absolutely zero from SISIP, even when I was put on light duties for close to 3 years, which affected my career and income.  Now after my medical release, I am being assessed based on my civilian employment?  How do they gauge that?  Do they look at my type of employment, years at the job, and assess that I have been held back from possible promotions due to my injuries?  Do they factor that in?  No they look at the face value of my pay stub and claw back.

We are forced to sign up for an insurance program (Literally, or we would not have received our contract to go overseas), pay into it, then receive absolutely nothing when something does happen.  Wouldn't you agree that this practice is odd and unfair?  It is downright illegal, in my opinion!

dileas

tess


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Offline karl28

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #44 on: August 27, 2007, 09:15:21 »
I think that in my opinion if CF members are being forced to pay into this insurance plan and there are some CF members who do not receive any benefits after they have been injured than they should be able to at least get the money back that they paid into the program .

Offline George Wallace

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #45 on: August 27, 2007, 09:57:08 »
I think that in my opinion if CF members are being forced to pay into this insurance plan and there are some CF members who do not receive any benefits after they have been injured than they should be able to at least get the money back that they paid into the program .

 ???

Excuse me! 

Reread what you just wrote and then ask yourself if any Insurance Company in Canada, or the world, would have a Policy stating members who do not receive any benefits after they have been injured should be able to at least get the money back that they paid into the program.

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Offline retiredgrunt45

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #46 on: August 27, 2007, 10:11:44 »
Tess I was also turned down the first time I applied for LTD after the initial two years, I went out and found a very good specialist in my case an orthopedic surgeon, who took on my case and we fought for six months to get me reinstated on LTD. SISIP in turn sent me to another specialist of their choosing, as a second opinion and upon receiving the same results from their doctor, reinstated me.

So you see, we don't all automatically get LTD, even the ones of us who are worse off. But again these checks and balances are placed there for a reason. If you feel you should be on LTD, fight for it, find a doctor who will listen to your concerns and back it up with hard medical fact and you'll be surprised what can happen.

As for the ones who say that paying into it should be optional, it was at one time prior the early 80's. But I'm very glad now that I opted to pay into it voluntarily starting in 1979. For the ones who opted not to and ended up getting injured, those are the ones who are much worse of than the rest of us.
The first goal of any political party is to stay in power by whatever means possible. Their second goal is to fool us into believing that we should keep them in power.

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"Politicians are like diapers, they have to be changed often because their usually full of crap.

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2007, 10:22:23 »
That is what I am getting at,

To get anything we must fight for it?  We are sent to fight for our country's foreign policy, then come back and fight the state run insurance company for compensation when we are injured?

Although I know that we must fight for it, but I question why should injured Soldiers have to do that?  The government forces us to take the insurance policy that has very strict parameters to be compensated, maybe we should stand up and let the public know of such disgusting practices!

dileas

tess
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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #48 on: August 30, 2007, 11:44:11 »
If you can work, why should you be able to draw LTD SISIP benefits in the first place? These benefits were designed for people who "can't work" and have no other source of income, if that were the case the SISIP program would go bankrupt in a hurry. Sorry you can't have your cake and eat it also. The argument that "it's not fair" is rubbish. The system works and for the people who disagree, haven't taken the time to actually research why and how it works and for whom. Don't bash the program, it works quiet well for those of us who ended up in wheelchairs.

To answer your question, yes i was receiving VAC, while still serving, starting in 1999. Upon my release in 2001, I was sent for retraining by SISIP for two years at the school of my choice. My monthly SISIP payment was clawed back by the amount of my VAC pension, but I was still receiving 75% of my past salary + the cost of my education, which added up to $14,000.00, including, books and equipment. This is the way it's designed to work. After my condition became much worse and it became apparent that i couldn't work, I was placed on LTD SISIP.

I really don't know were this person is planning on going with this, but if that is the case, he will not get very far. All one has to do is look and read your SISIP policy and it's right there in black and white. If this were the case, there would be many of us who felt the same and sued for lost monies. It looks to me that he is trying to get something he was never in tiltled to in the first place under the existing policy guidelines. If he was able to return to work, he shouldn't be drawing SISIP.

Like I stated previously, it doesn't add up. unless he's looking for 100%. But this will never happen.

Me again,

SISIP does cooperate with people who can and do work. 

I now work part time out of home, and send in my earnings- my SISIP payments are offset accordingly.  Because, however, I can't hope (at this point) to make even close to what I was earning upon release- or even 75% of that- SISIP still offfers financial support. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I've found that my case managers think well outside the box.  I'm very appreciative, actually.

That doesn't mean I think they should be getting my VAC award, though.

You stated above that you received your VAC award over and above your full pay and benefits while you were still serving. This is because your VAC award was, in those circumstances, considered independent of your financial situation.  It was your personal award for the disability you suffered in the course of your duties- it was considered a bonus (not really a good word, but I can't think of another) for your sacrifice.  It was not considered income.

Why, upon release and upon entering the SISIP program, and when you needed the money more, was your VAC integrated into your financial situation and considered income?

There will always be comparisons made to other policies and programs for other government workers in seeking fairness for veterans.  I do it all the time. You've made comparisons to Worker's Comp.
The only comparison I have to make when considering the suit Manuge has launched is the comparison between veterans on SISIP and still serving members.  If I compare a still serving, able-to-work member who is receiving a full salary plus his VAC to a medically released, unable-to-work member receiving 75% salary without the benefit of his VAC - I have to say I understand the basis for the suit.

You say that ,"he is trying to get something he was never entitled to in the first place under the existing policy guidelines". 

I get that.  I know what the policy states and what the entitlements are.

Manuge's suit is all about asking whether or not those existing policies are right and fair?

Based on that one comparison I just made- I think not. 

I'm not bashing SISIP - the VAC clawback is, IMO, a small flaw in an otherwise well run program.  My opinion only, of course. From reading other comments- I know that it is not considered in such a positive light by all who access the program.

There are people in many differing stages of this disabiity and release process. 

If I had commented on this two years ago- when I was dealing with the loss of my career and professional status, and we were selling our home in order to downsize, VAC was shutting me out, and life was a painful crap heap- my response would have been much different, and much more emotionally charged and...harsh.

I've had the time to calm down...and adapt...(maybe become a bit complacent) and, as I stated before, was in a pretty good situation (now that I'm thinking more clearly) to weather the storm that came my way. I still always like to look at things as others may see them, however, and do realize that, with the system being as whimsical and varied (unpredictable) as it is, not everyone is in the same place as me or has the same perceptions about the support they are receiving.

You say that "the argument that "it's not fair" is rubbish".  Your opinion- I respect that. 

My opinion, however, is that the unfairness that Manuge is fighting is the actual rubbish.  The fact that he is fighting a point that the Ombudsman dropped the ball on adds to the stench of it.

I wish Manuge well- the policies are not going to change unless someone fights them. I'll be keeping an eye out for ongoing information on his suit.

Bren



   

Offline Bigrex

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Re: SISIP LTD Class Action
« Reply #49 on: September 05, 2007, 22:17:44 »
Dennis Manuge is working, and is not currently on LTD, so he is not milking the system, only seeking the money that was deducted during the 24 months he was covered. The lawsuit was only started after the government failed to act on the recommendations of two DND Ombudsmen , and only after several years and an utter failure for the NVC to retroactively correct the policy, unfortunately a time limit had to be place on it, so the ombudsmen chose back to when serving members started being able to receive VAC pension while still serving. Also some have argued that all insurance plans are the same, but they aren't, the public service and politicians insurance plans do not deduct pension act payments from their LTD payments. Pension act monthly payments are not income, I believe it even states it in the act, thus making it tax free, therefor it was illegal for SISIP to include it in their formula as income in the first place, but the MND at the time, as the initial policy holder didn't care, and I highly doubt Veterans Affairs  were consulted beforehand. Also an insurance company, that I had no choice but to pay into, shouldn't penalize members because they were injured on the job, were farther along in their career, or both. A disability is a disability and benefits should be the same for everyone. As a Spec 1 Cpl with 15 years of service and awarded a VAC pension before Apr 2006, I make $3500 per month (75%), of which SISIP only pays $611.00 after taxes. But a member released this year with less than 10 years in, they would get their return of contributions, Severance pay, the SISIP payments of $3500 per month, possibly until 65 plus their disability award, sometimes well over $100,000.00.  And since I can no longer work, that is all I will ever get, and will only be increased by a maximum of 2% each year, even if the national index is much higher.  Meaning if my VAC pension gets indexed by 7% like 2 tears ago, and my superannuation goes up by 3%, it only means less for SISIP to pay, as we cannot make more than a 2% increase in money per year, as it is dictated by SISIP. With the numbers I used, as an example of 2008 rates, if indexing was separate, my next years monthly income would be $3732.00, but using SISIPs method, it would only be $3645.00, a difference of 87 dollars per month, or $1044.00 for the year. Obviously the SISIP program needs to be completely revamped for the betterment of disabled veterans, but it will only happen if they are forced to change, after all this is our money in their pockets, and they don't want to give it away willingly. This is the unfairness that that is being addressed in the lawsuit.