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VAC wait times

PuckChaser

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Jarnhamar said:
From what I've been able to gather, even before the bat apocalypse there was a back long in the system for various reasons.
-Mbrs releasing from the CAF submit a dozen claims at once that all have to be processed.
-Mbrs joining the CAF finish basic training or their trade course and start submitting VAC claims for those savage basic training courses
-Mbrs who want extra money put claims in to vac for injuries they think they should be compensated for.
-Mbrs put in fraudulent claims or very tenuous claims
-Mbrs who doesn't submit the proper paperwork
-Mbrs who submit illegible paperwork and need to be contacted and start over.

So whats the solution? You've basically outlined 99% of the reasons people apply for VAC benefits. We don't have people losing legs in combat anymore, those are the easy ones. The paperwork stuff isn't excusable, if you want your money be accessible and accurate.

A lot of the folks in BMQ and DP1s are putting claims in early because us old folks are telling them to because we were too stupid/proud to do it ourselves and regret it. Its a lot easier to put in a timely claim after an injury and have it reassessed (or at least document that it was service connected) then to file 25 claims on the way out the door. I applied for a reassessment a week before COVID-19 shut things down and have a new assessment pending so I'm kind of testing the timelines in both systems side by side. Obviously anything is going to be delayed but it'll be interesting to see what's completed first.
 

TCM621

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Jarnhamar said:
There's a whole bunch of factors that come in to play with VAC claims and the complexity of the claim is obviously going to extend wait times.

I was helping a guy with a claim, he applied in December for tinnitus. He was assessed by a specialist in January and had 20 grand popped into his account end of March (after the world exploded). Lots of the cases I hear about seem pretty straight forward.

From what I've been able to gather, even before the bat apocalypse there was a back long in the system for various reasons.
-Mbrs releasing from the CAF submit a dozen claims at once that all have to be processed.
-Mbrs joining the CAF finish basic training or their trade course and start submitting VAC claims for those savage basic training courses
-Mbrs who want extra money put claims in to vac for injuries they think they should be compensated for.
-Mbrs put in fraudulent claims or very tenuous claims
-Mbrs who doesn't submit the proper paperwork
-Mbrs who submit illegible paperwork and need to be contacted and start over.

A huge issue I'm told from the VAC people are the mbrs who essentially hide out and require extra effort to contact and track down. Good ol "I'm not giving the chain of command my phone number!"


With luck maybe the government will actually order VAC to just approve everyone, but that's a lot of money. It's not all lump sum payouts. I know of a service couple out west making more money from monthly VAC payments than their monthly pay.

So it must be the members fault? I don't file unless I have all the documents, I never just hope it's in my file. I cross every t and dot every i yet it still takes more than a year. The one claim I had that required more information from me was essentially because I couldn't get the Doc and VAC to get on the same page in terms of how they wanted the wording.

If VAC hadn't planned to deal with a certain amount of fraud, they failed in their risk management plan. If they did plan to see a surge in claims after Afghanistan, they failed to accurately assess the situation. As for the huge amount of members who "hide out" I have literally never met anyone who has done anything like that. Most people I know contact VAC proactively asking for updates.

I'm so sick of this "blame the victims" approach. Everything you mention is likely either overblown or the kind of thing they should have anticipated. If it is more than 10‰ of the cases, I'd be very surprised. The plain fact is that there is no legitimate reason for VAC to be more than a year behind. We have heard for literally years how VAC is adding more staff but apparently they can't add enough staff to even halt the back log from getting worse. It's disgraceful and hopefully it will bite them in the ass at some point.
 

Jarnhamar

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PuckChaser said:
So whats the solution?
I'm not sure. My personal dealings with VAC for myself and trying to help others out has been nothing short of awesome and super fast. Other people suffer endless wait times and get so stressed they're ready to jump off a bridge. Very much a bureaucracy.

I might be wrong but I think one of the negative aspects of speeding up service e.g the idea about just accepting/approving common claims *might* result in VAC becoming a sort of Money Mart.

A lot of the folks in BMQ and DP1s are putting claims in early because us old folks are telling them to because we were too stupid/proud to do it ourselves and regret it.

Its a lot easier to put in a timely claim after an injury and have it reassessed (or at least document that it was service connected) then to file 25 claims on the way out the door.

No disagreement here. We tell people to be smarter than us and submitting claims in a timely manner and not 25 at the end of a career helps mitigate the backlog. It's a good thing. Same time I'm still a bit biased and when I see someone coming off their trade course and submitting 3, 4 ,5 claims with a pocket full of golden chits I think a certain way. Not my money though.
 

Jarnhamar

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Tcm621 said:
So it must be the members fault?
I don't think it's always the members fault. I'm certain VAC screws up too. I should have included that caveat in my other post.

I don't file unless I have all the documents, I never just hope it's in my file. I cross every t and dot every i yet it still takes more than a year. The one claim I had that required more information from me was essentially because I couldn't get the Doc and VAC to get on the same page in terms of how they wanted the wording.

Great example of the system not working.

As for the huge amount of members who "hide out" I have literally never met anyone who has done anything like that. Most people I know contact VAC proactively asking for updates.
Fair enough, bad wording on my part. Hide out was my conjecture (though I have seen that) but members change their cell number or contact info and don't contact VAC to update them. From what I understand VAC can't (or isn't supposed to?) call someones unit and leave a message to contact them because of privacy issues.

I'm so sick of this "blame the victims" approach. Everything you mention is likely either overblown or the kind of thing they should have anticipated.
Quite possible. I don't work at vac and just basing an opinion off my experience with them and in conversations with them.
 

PuckChaser

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Jarnhamar said:
We tell people to be smarter than us and submitting claims in a timely manner and not 25 at the end of a career helps mitigate the backlog. It's a good thing. Same time I'm still a bit biased and when I see someone coming off their trade course and submitting 3, 4 ,5 claims with a pocket full of golden chits I think a certain way. Not my money though.

Yep, agree completely, but those outliers who are probably trying to scam the system are ruining it for the rest of us. There are a ton of legitimate injuries occurring on BMQ and DP1. Part of it has to link to physical fitness. Do we start denying claims because someone who didn't even get Bronze on their PT test strained their back on a ruck march? I'd hate to see one guy who is legitimately injured lose a claim because we're scared of the 1% scamming. We have a huge mental health challenge in the CAF (the suicide issue is not getting better) but yet we're still not properly screening mental health at the Recruiting Center. As my officer term of the day, we really need to do a holistic look at the CAF approach to injury (physical and mental) prevention from the minute someone steps into the Recruiting Center until they get their DWD 25+ years later. If we can get a high percentage solution that gives every opportunity for people to be healthy and stay healthy, then maybe we can stop VAC from being an insurance company with "Deny First, then appeal" as its mission statement.
 

garb811

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PuckChaser said:
Yep, agree completely, but those outliers who are probably trying to scam the system are ruining it for the rest of us. There are a ton of legitimate injuries occurring on BMQ and DP1. Part of it has to link to physical fitness. Do we start denying claims because someone who didn't even get Bronze on their PT test strained their back on a ruck march? I'd hate to see one guy who is legitimately injured lose a claim because we're scared of the 1% scamming. We have a huge mental health challenge in the CAF (the suicide issue is not getting better) but yet we're still not properly screening mental health at the Recruiting Center. As my officer term of the day, we really need to do a holistic look at the CAF approach to injury (physical and mental) prevention from the minute someone steps into the Recruiting Center until they get their DWD 25+ years later. If we can get a high percentage solution that gives every opportunity for people to be healthy and stay healthy, then maybe we can stop VAC from being an insurance company with "Deny First, then appeal" as its mission statement.
Mental health screening at the recruiting center is only ever going to weed out the honest people. People who want to fly under the radar, will.  It's just like your post deployment mental health check-in; its up to you to self-identify because 30 minutes talking to a random social worker/psychologist running through a checklist doesn't bring anything to the surface that the interviewee doesn't want to disclose.
 

TCM621

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PuckChaser said:
Yep, agree completely, but those outliers who are probably trying to scam the system are ruining it for the rest of us. There are a ton of legitimate injuries occurring on BMQ and DP1. Part of it has to link to physical fitness. Do we start denying claims because someone who didn't even get Bronze on their PT test strained their back on a ruck march? I'd hate to see one guy who is legitimately injured lose a claim because we're scared of the 1% scamming. We have a huge mental health challenge in the CAF (the suicide issue is not getting better) but yet we're still not properly screening mental health at the Recruiting Center. As my officer term of the day, we really need to do a holistic look at the CAF approach to injury (physical and mental) prevention from the minute someone steps into the Recruiting Center until they get their DWD 25+ years later. If we can get a high percentage solution that gives every opportunity for people to be healthy and stay healthy, then maybe we can stop VAC from being an insurance company with "Deny First, then appeal" as its mission statement.

As soon as we started accepting people wiithout ensuring they were in good shape first, we guaranteed an increase in injuries during the initial courses. It is so obvious I'm wouldn't be surprised if they completely missed or ignored it. The fact is that unlike 50 years ago, the average Canadian is not robust enough to handle the level of physicality required just to pass basic. Even the fit ones often are gym fit but unused to hard labour. We either need to refuse to let them in unless they have a minimum level of fitness or accept that there will be injuries and staff VAC accordingly. The problem is the they are two different ministries with 2 different Ministers, 2 different DMs and all the bureaucracy that goes with it.

 

PuckChaser

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garb811 said:
Mental health screening at the recruiting center is only ever going to weed out the honest people. People who want to fly under the radar, will.  It's just like your post deployment mental health check-in; its up to you to self-identify because 30 minutes talking to a random social worker/psychologist running through a checklist doesn't bring anything to the surface that the interviewee doesn't want to disclose.

I see what you're trying to say, but that logic implies we shouldn't even bother doing medical screenings because someone could hide a serious medical condition that isn't picked up by the standard MO/PA checklist for a Pt1/Pt2 exam. If we at least put the effort into screening people for mental health/personality disorders we can put hand on heart and say we at least did some screening before throwing them into a huge culture shock and extremely stressful environment.

TCM621: I concur. The biggest travesty to the recruiting process that was done to save time/cost was the removal of the FORCE test for all applicants. Instead of addressing staffing/red tape issues they chopped at the low hanging fruit.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=PuckChaser] If we can get a high percentage solution that gives every opportunity for people to be healthy and stay healthy, then maybe we can stop VAC from being an insurance company
[/quote]

We could ban sports. Seriously.
 

PuckChaser

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Jarnhamar said:
We could ban sports. Seriously.

Because morale and physical fitness isn't low enough already? Those same people are going to go play in civvie leagues if military leagues aren't around, and speaking specifically to hockey the CAF is FAR more player safety conscious than a downtown beer league.

I know you're anedotally seeing a lot of people hurt in sports, but I'd really say you'd need some hard numbers before going down that road. You only notice more when a "sports guy" is hurt because he's usually the one not on chit every 2nd week and is now a change in the parade state. The dude who's constantly on chit is where I'd like to see us target our time/effort.
 

Jarnhamar

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PuckChaser said:
Because morale and physical fitness isn't low enough already? Those same people are going to go play in civvie leagues if military leagues aren't around, and speaking specifically to hockey the CAF is FAR more player safety conscious than a downtown beer league.

I know you're anedotally seeing a lot of people hurt in sports, but I'd really say you'd need some hard numbers before going down that road. You only notice more when a "sports guy" is hurt because he's usually the one not on chit every 2nd week and is now a change in the parade state. The dude who's constantly on chit is where I'd like to see us target our time/effort.

I know this won't be a popular opinion  :nod:

There are a lot of people who's morale drops when they're forced to play sports they don't want to play. Well maybe not drops, but they don't like sports. Some of them at all. I'd rather run 15kms than play half an hour of sports, for example.

There's a team building component to it sure, I think it's less than people give it credit for. There's a lot of injuries.

It's not the "sports guys" getting hurt that I notice (or big picture worry about). It's everyone else who are forced (or if you don't like that word, told to) play sports and get hurt. We have both seen lot of people get hurt playing sports and I'm going to guess there are quite a few medical releases that happened due to sports injuries.

I don't consider playing casual sports beneficial in terms of physical fitness. Floor hockey now and then for 40 minutes (but really maybe half that if you're subbing in unless you don't have big teams). It's more fun and morale for people who enjoy it.

I'd be curious to see the number of release's we've had stemming from sports injuries. Maybe I'm off line and it's low.
 

daftandbarmy

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Jarnhamar said:
I know this won't be a popular opinion  :nod:

There are a lot of people who's morale drops when they're forced to play sports they don't want to play. Well maybe not drops, but they don't like sports. Some of them at all. I'd rather run 15kms than play half an hour of sports, for example.

There's a team building component to it sure, I think it's less than people give it credit for. There's a lot of injuries.

It's not the "sports guys" getting hurt that I notice (or big picture worry about). It's everyone else who are forced (or if you don't like that word, told to) play sports and get hurt. We have both seen lot of people get hurt playing sports and I'm going to guess there are quite a few medical releases that happened due to sports injuries.

I don't consider playing casual sports beneficial in terms of physical fitness. Floor hockey now and then for 40 minutes (but really maybe half that if you're subbing in unless you don't have big teams). It's more fun and morale for people who enjoy it.

I'd be curious to see the number of release's we've had stemming from sports injuries. Maybe I'm off line and it's low.

I agree. We had more, and more serious injuries incurred by troops playing soccer waiting to jump into an airborne exercise than were ever injured in the jump itself. Some numbers from the US Army:


Sports and physical training injury hospitalizations in the army.

INTRODUCTION:

Injuries are the leading health problem in the military services. Sports and physical training activities are an area in which a substantial number of injuries can occur. Although athletic injuries are not often investigated in military populations, the Armed Forces database provides a unique opportunity to investigate sports injuries.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10736548
 

meday875

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I put in for reassessment last year, in October. It’s was more than three months before I received the package to even have a medical professional fill it out. Every time I asked about it, I was told that putting together a reassessment package was complicated due to having to have specific member medical information, then got standard forms for the actual application. So take the “Average” wait time, and add at least three months, and this was before the pandemic.

I have another application in, that was filled out improperly by a physician when I first released (as I didn’t have a family doctor I had to go to anyone willing to fill it out) and then when I finally had a good family doctor, was told to reapply but as a new application, not an appeal, and I asked specifically. So I did. And about a year later I get a call, they’re going to approve it, yay, then somewhere in the conversation she reads my file (I guess this hadn’t already been part of the year long processing of the application) and realizes that it should have been an appeal. FML. So, I filed for an appeal. Six months later I final hear from the appeals people, they tell me departmental review, should be simple especially since it would have been an easy approval if it had been done right the first go around. Average wait times on departmental review were just decreased to 42 weeks, I’m at 43... for the departmental review of an application I initially submitted in 2015. And this is a simple application, no complexities and was basically approved at one point. Five years for an injury that was documented while I served.

So although they are updating the wait times and saying that there are no extra issues with them working from home, I simply don’t believe it. But if someone has had an application finished recently, please tell me. It’d be comforting to know that they actually are being done.
 

Firebird

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I am in the same boat. Submitted my reassessment in 2016. Was told to resubmit as a new application and so I did. Application was later Suspended by VAC for lack of info from doctor. I had to resubmit and I am now at 74 weeks since it reached Step 3. Wait times say it is an average of 56 weeks.
 

Harley52

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I hate to disappoint everybody but I am presently waiting at 107 weeks for a new application and still waiting with no end in sight. 
 

Firebird

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I wish someone could explain why it takes some applications so long to be completed. I understand that some are complicated and require more information. Once an application reaches step 3 that is supposed to indicate that they have collected all of the information and it  is at decision making level. Why are some applications at 107 weeks, some at 74 and the average is supposedly 56 weeks. Again if all of the information is there then what causes the big difference when cases are decided upon. VAC has never answered this question when I have asked.
 

Rifleman62

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Incompetence (inability to do something successfully; ineptitude).
 
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stellarpanther

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I just got off the phone with VAC to request an update even though I didn't expect to hear my file was adjudicated yet as it's only been 8 months and I was right.  The good news since I want to think positive is that they did tell me that there has been no delay in processing applications as they are all working from home and the files are all electronic. To go a bit negative, I could probably call back, speak to someone else and be given a different answer.




 
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