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VAC wait times

BinRat55

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Yea, I hear you on that one. I noted in a post further back in this thread that I couldn't understand why there was a co-worker of mine who was assessed and actually paid out (over a month ago now) and I couldn't understand why... guess I got my answer!!

No, the reason I went through the RCL was that they came highly recommended for assistance, and again, my fault for not doing my homework. I thought it would be quicker actually! I was told that once the paperwork (application) was accepted by the RCL, it was faxed directly to "Department A" essentially skipping a step. I was told I would go to step 2 the very day RCL faxed my paperwork to VAC.

Silly me - my applications were never faxed to VAC. I did, however, receive ALL my paperwork in my home mailbox from the RCL within days...
 

AirDet

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I've been following this thread for a while but had nothing positive to add before today.

I applied for 3 disability benefits at the end of July. Today a rep from VAC called me to inform me that after a review of my documents she found a 4th I should apply for. She asked a few questions and did it right then.

After hearing lots of horror stories my expectations were low. Imagine how impressed I am now after this diligent and caring VAC worker made my day.

She said my file was complete and she was sending it off to the decision making level today. Of course there is no guarantee of a good initial outcome but it's great they engaged me.

If anyone is interested I'll post the outcome in the next "16 weeks".
 

BinRat55

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AirDet said:
I've been following this thread for a while but had nothing positive to add before today.

I applied for 3 disability benefits at the end of July. Today a rep from VAC called me to inform me that after a review of my documents she found a 4th I should apply for. She asked a few questions and did it right then.

After hearing lots of horror stories my expectations were low. Imagine how impressed I am now after this diligent and caring VAC worker made my day.

She said my file was complete and she was sending it off to the decision making level today. Of course there is no guarantee of a good initial outcome but it's great they engaged me.

If anyone is interested I'll post the outcome in the next "16 weeks".

They did the same for me many years ago with my amputation. I had submitted a claim (they took my toe!!) and at some point during the process (I was very new to it back then) I too received a phone call. "We noticed that you developed A B and C due to your amputation. Can we add this to your claim?" I was quite impressed with the thoroughness of it all. But it gets even better - a year or so later I received a favorable decision and was awarded a couple grand (back then to me that was a lot of money!) Some months passed by and I received yet another call - "We noticed during a file review that you have children. If you can provide copies of their birth certificates, you may be entitled to a stipend for them as well." I did just that, and wouldn't you know it - about 3 months later I received another cheque for over a thousand!

I honestly believe that VAC does get a raw deal by us. Now, I am not "lumping" everyone here and in DND in that "us" statement by any means, but even I am guilty of getting angered by the process and who is there to blame? I have to blame some one right? VAC. All in all, they are bound by policies and rules as are we. I am pretty sure there isn't a room in Charlottetown where they toss our files in and say "that will be looked at next month - let's all go for beers..."
 

blackberet17

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The Department (i.e., first level adjudicators) have changed some procedures in the last while, in light of..."expressed concerns". Clients are contacted directly (which they stopped doing a few years ago) to determine if the client has any further information and to let them know what more is needed to complete the file, and to be a little more proactive.

Overall - and what a lot of people don't know - is as a whole, Department and VRAB's two levels (Review and Appeal) equates to roughly 86% total favourability rate. It may even be higher lately, as the new proactive approach has led to more (greater in number) favourable decisions. I've heard decisions which are more complex and require greater resources and time expenditure are denied at the first level, which the client can then take to VRAB (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, considering the oral testimony a client can provide at the VRAB level).
 

BinRat55

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So, in light of my not-so-happy experience with the Legion, I had to go back to square one a few weeks ago. I ask once more to anyone on this board who would want to share - I understand the wait time is a bit shorter for an initial decision regarding PTSD / OSI. I have heard as fast as 6 weeks for some. I know (I think I know) that if initially favorable, 10% is generally the norm, then several months later a recheck / review is completed.

Is this the case for some / most / all / none? Feedback please!
 

AirDet

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Well, Binrat, I can't speak to what I have not seen. My experience has been positive so far. The couple of VAC employees I've had contact with have treated me with respect and compassion. I hope the rest of my brothers here are treated the same.
 

Towards_the_gap

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BinRat55 said:
So, in light of my not-so-happy experience with the Legion, I had to go back to square one a few weeks ago. I ask once more to anyone on this board who would want to share - I understand the wait time is a bit shorter for an initial decision regarding PTSD / OSI. I have heard as fast as 6 weeks for some. I know (I think I know) that if initially favorable, 10% is generally the norm, then several months later a recheck / review is completed.

Is this the case for some / most / all / none? Feedback please!

In my limited experience, yes... 10% as an initial assessment/acknowledgement, a further review at 6 months.

I think I can confim what blackberet17 is telling us, having had 2 disability awards, 3 years apart. First one, in 2012, took ages, well beyond the 'service standard' for what was ostensibly a cut and dry case (plenty of CF98's and witness statements, full diagnoses by numerable medical professionals). Bit of paperwork shows up, DA gets paid out, and from there it's 'off ya go, go figure out how to treat yourself' with me stumbling around between medical professionals and submitting the odd travel claim.

Next one, this summer, was bang on 16 weeks (albeit with a little call to the ombudsmans office at the 16 week mark). I was informed of the decision by telephone as detailed earlier in the thread, and the case manager has been terrific.

Despite all the bad press, I don't think people go to work at VAC to be miserly, insensitive a**holes...they are, on the whole, there to help, and I am grateful for what they do and have done. In fact, I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed at how nervous they are sometimes dealing face to face with a 'vet', I can only imagine some of the vitriol they receive from some of their more difficult cases (warranted or not).
 

BinRat55

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Towards_the_gap said:
Despite all the bad press, I don't think people go to work at VAC to be miserly, insensitive a**holes...they are, on the whole, there to help, and I am grateful for what they do and have done. In fact, I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed at how nervous they are sometimes dealing face to face with a 'vet', I can only imagine some of the vitriol they receive from some of their more difficult cases (warranted or not).

Agreed. As a Supply Tech who has worked on the front counter at Clothing Stores, I know a bit of what it's like to have to tell others "no" or "not yet" - a ton of people think that the person on the phone at VAC (like at the front counter) is the the one making the rules!
 

Towards_the_gap

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And  I'd imagine there is, or will be soon, a lot of that but instead of 'what's my decision', it will be 'wheres my monthly pension!'

I don't envy the VAC folks and the herculean task they will be faced with should the Liberals come through with their 'back to the pensions' promise. I'll bet there were a few secretly wishing for a conservative win just to avoid the headache!

A bit of a segue here, but anyone want to speculate how that will be introduced, if at all?
 

BinRat55

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If I were to speculate, I would say probably much like the way it was "un-introduced"! There would be a grace period - all applications in process would fall into the lump sum pool, for 12 months of new applications maybe a choice would be offered and then after that, full-on monthly pension. Lump sums gone (with possibly a few minor exceptions). I still receive a monthly pension I was granted many years ago.

That being said, what if they were to offer both? Akin to the "Transfer Amount" - member is awarded a pension at, say, 25%. A monthly payment would work out to $472.00. Member can take a transfer amount instead, thus writing off on monthly payments at a discounted rate (instead of receiving the $472.00, member who is 40 years old) takes the lump sum payment of (yrs in months remaining to reach 55 X award X 65%) roughly $55,000. Savings to Canada - $25,000!
 

The Bread Guy

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For the record, here's what's been promised on payments:
We will give veterans more compensation, more choice, and more support in planning their financial future. -- We will re-establish lifelong pensions as an option for our injured veterans, and increase the value of the disability award. We will ensure that every injured veteran has access to financial advice and support so that they can determine the form of compensation that works best for them and their families ....
More details here.
 

captloadie

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Maybe we'll introduce some sort of buyback option on the lump sum payments, so members who received the lump some can return it and get a monthly payment. Kind of like we do for Reserve pensions  >:D
 

blackberet17

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One grey area is if monthly pensions are reinstated for all, including those who have received a lump-sum payment, those who have received the latter could find themselves in an overpayment situation.

The reinstatement is a bit of a headache, but as I've written about before, the monthly pensions are of greater benefit to a younger soldier with years of living with their disability(-ies) ahead of them, then an older veteran who may find a more immediate use for the large sum payment immediately.

In any case, the reinstatement would require a change in legislation, or a significant re-write of the existing Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act.

It will not be a "quick fix".
 

Towards_the_gap

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captloadie said:
Maybe we'll introduce some sort of buyback option on the lump sum payments, so members who received the lump some can return it and get a monthly payment. Kind of like we do for Reserve pensions  >:D

I just had a mental image of a fleet of shiny pickup trucks and RV's and fishing boats being unceremoniously dumped in the parking lots of VAC offices across the country, with the ownerships signed off and shoved through the mail box!
 

Occam

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I'm more inclined to believe it would be much simpler than what's been described.

For the folks caught in the middle who have already received lump sum awards, it's fairly easy to figure out what they would have received had they been granted monthly disability pensions from the eligibility date forward.  From that, it's also fairly easy to figure out how long it would take to cancel out/pay back what has been given via the disability award.  Monthly pension payments could be suspended (if necessary) until the amount of the disability award has been "repaid", at which time monthly pension payments would start.

Zero up-front costs to switch the affected people over.
 

Jed

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Occam said:
I'm more inclined to believe it would be much simpler than what's been described.

For the folks caught in the middle who have already received lump sum awards, it's fairly easy to figure out what they would have received had they been granted monthly disability pensions from the eligibility date forward.  From that, it's also fairly easy to figure out how long it would take to cancel out/pay back what has been given via the disability award.  Monthly pension payments could be suspended (if necessary) until the amount of the disability award has been "repaid", at which time monthly pension payments would start.

Zero up-front costs to switch the affected people over.

I'd vote for that clause,  :)
 

Occam

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Jed said:
I'd vote for that clause,  :)

Seems straightforward, no?  I've racked my brain trying to think of some reason why it wouldn't work, but I've come up with nothing.

It would put Pension Act recipients, Lump Sum recipients, and recipients under whatever new system comes out on an equal footing.
 

Wookilar

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Sounds reasonable to this Fin O.

If DND can figure out how much ex-wives get from pensions not yet awarded then surely VAC can figure out the math.
 

Towards_the_gap

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Jed said:
I'd vote for that clause,  :)

Gets my vote as well. With perhaps an option to 'buy back' said time if you happen to have kept ahold/invested the lump sum (ha I know right!) and therefore start the pension payments sooner.
 

captloadie

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It would be a simple way to go about it, but would it resolved the issue that is being raised? If the reason to go back to a monthly pension is so veterans have access to a constant cash flow, implementing this measure will not help those who accepted a lump sum in the near term. For instance, lets say a member was awarded a lump sum payout of 125k in 2010. If the equivalent monthly payout was $1000/mth, it would take 12.5 years to pay back, so the member would see nothing until 2022. How is this change, realistically, going to help the member in the near term?

That's why I believe some sort of interest free buy back scheme would be in their best interest. A 25% recovery rate, would see the same debt recovered over a 40 year period, and give the veteran the monthly cash flow needed.
 
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