Keep up the good work and all the best. Over the last 6 years, I have seen alot of courage in my clients that I work with in the home. They do not let their disability or illness get them down. The unfortunate thing for me, has been seeing them struggle to pay for medical supplies or equipment that they need. Thank for sharing with us here.. and all the best in your future work.
Paul, best of luck in the future. You have picked up a very large yet important torch to bear and fight for. I agree wholeheartedly about why certain members are released from the Forces and some stay, in some cases the decision should be reversed and those that stay should go. You are a strong and willing advocate for the enabled in today's military. Why shouldn't some of our wounded be trainers, instructors and teachers. What a wasted of a resource of information and experience.
On a personal note, your struggle and attitudes gave me the strength to make a career move after 20 years in, I was unsuccessful at completing it, but I needed something to "man up to" and take the head first and blind plunge into an OT. Thank you.
And as soon as the local bookstore can get ahold of your book, I intend to get it for myself for Christmas.
Per Ardua Ad Astra,
In regards to Rick Mercer's rant from the other day, I was contacted by Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole for a request for a telephone conversation about my file.
Here's my response:
Minister Erin O'Toole,
I have had many issues in my nine years as a wounded soldier and as a vet.
After returning in 2006, the Department of Defence (DoD) did amazing things and worked tiredly on the issue and where VAC (Veterans' Affairs) failed to deliver they stepped up. Upon my retirement "my file" of course went to VAC and to quote a great writer "and this is where my trouble began."
The legion wrote a piece about my struggles in the beginning called the "The Quiet Fight." I personally prefer that method but alas even that method is being taken from me. It would seem that if I fight for myself things may change for me, but not sadly for the 700,000 others.
I have had my wheelchair taken away from me twice. First while in hospital due to lack of payment when DOD and VAC were in argument about who pays.
The second was just last year when upon getting a new chair it was felt by VAC that I didn't get the appropriate paperwork -- which was a doctor's note saying "Due to transformal amputations, Paul Franklin needs a new wheelchair."
During the recent Manulife lawsuit, I was approved of a pension but was not to receive it until a doctor confirmed my limb loss. This is something that has to be done every year presumably until age 65.
My ex and I have separated and I obviously pay child support and help her out. Every year, VAC challenges that fact with an incredibly disturbing letter that implies that I am a dead beat, that asks if my child still lives, and what I do for them. In response, my ex has to write a horrible letter stating what I do.
She suffers horribly from secondary PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), a condition not widely recognized in 2006 and very misunderstood even today.
This is but a glimpse into what is laughingly called "my file" too which in reality is actually "my life."
As to my friend Rick and his rant the other day, I let him tell my story not for my benefit, but for all vets and their families that fight through this horror every day of their lives.
I fear that a conversation with me about "my file" may solve "my concerns" but not the concerns of the 700,000 others. Until we are treated by all parties with the respect, dignity, honour, and compassion we deserve, then I can't in good conscience take a phone call regarding my issues.
-- Paul Franklin, Mcpl (ret)
Amputee Coalition of Canada
Heros Hockey Challenge
An Edmonton veteran is asking the federal government to streamline its processes so veterans don’t have to fill out as many forms to prove permanent disability.
Mast.- Cpl. (Ret’d) Paul Franklin told Global News the pile of paperwork he has to fill out for different organizations on an annual basis is nearly a foot high.
Franklin retired in 2009 and the paperwork piled up.
“You’d think a simple form you have to fill out every year… no problem.”
But that’s not the case. The veteran said he has to go to the doctor and have him fill out pages of paperwork after being put through a series of physical tests. The amputee said he also has to fill out similar forms for different government departments and the insurance company Manulife.
It’s about more than just one person as well. Franklin wants all veterans with permanent disabilities not to have to fill out the forms again and again.
“They can send me a form that says ‘in the last year, has your medical condition changed?'” Franklin said, explaing that only if the answer is yes should someone have to go through the paperwork and doctor’s notes. If the answer is no, he wants it to be a simple process that just involves checking off a box, signing it and sending it in.
In 2015, the veteran went public with his story. The minister of veterans affairs at the time, Erin O’Toole, promised Franklin he would only have to fill out the forms every three years, but Franklin said he’s back to filling them out annually.
The Department of National Defence said the program in question is the Service Income Security Insurance Plan, where injured members are eligible to receive coverage. In a statement, a spokesperson told Global News part of Minister Sajjan’s mandate from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, is bridging the gap with Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure Canadian Forces members and veterans get the care they need.
“We are a new government with a new mandate and these issues won’t be solved overnight,” Sajjan’s press secretary, Jordan Owens, said in a statement.
When asked about the annual forms and streamlining the process, the Department of National Defence said it’s an opportunity for them to flag any changes to a veteran’s condition “without leaving ill and injured members in a situation where they need to go out of their way to track down someone within the bureaucracy in order to get the assistance they need.”
The Department of National Defence said an announcement would be coming soon regarding the issues faced by veterans when it comes to red tape.