Veteran frustrated feds won’t pay for costs related to wife’s dementia

WATCH: John Micallef was told Veterans Affairs wouldn't cover his wife's costs because she didn't serve. Yet, convicted murderer Christopher Garnier's PTSD treatment is covered and he isn't a veteran either. Alicia Draus has more.

John Micallef served in the Navy for 33 years before he was forced to retire at the age of 55.

He is now 85-years-old and lives with his wife of 62 years, who was recently diagnosed with dementia.

“As long as I have life in me I’m not putting her in a senior’s home. I can look after her like I looked after her for the last 62 years that we’ve been married,” he said.

Tweet This

READ MORE: Murderer Christopher Garnier’s PTSD treatment being paid for by Veterans Affairs

But he admits he will need some help.

“If I want to leave her alone, I have to call health care workers, and they come in,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

The recent diagnosis also means frequent visits to doctors’ offices and hospitals. Right now, he is driving, but he will likely be giving up his licence soon and will need to take taxis to and from the hospital. He said all these things add up and so he turned to Veterans Affairs for financial support.

“They said because she was not in the service, she is not entitled. I’m not entitled for their help,” he said.

Tweet This

Micallef said he was angry when he heard that convicted-murderer Christopher Garnier, who is also not a veteran, is having treatments for PTSD covered because his father, who also suffers from PTSD, is a veteran.

“I’m sort of digusted with this thing, with this guy getting his treatment done,” Micallef said.

Tweet This

Veterans Affairs said it could not comment on a specific veteran’s case due to privacy reasons.

“Access for family members ‎of veterans to counselling and other services may be provided in circumstances where it is determined that these services will assist the veteran in achieving their rehabilitation goal,” the department said in a news release.

Tweet This
Story continues below advertisement

“After applying for benefits or services, benefits are determined on a case by case basis.”

Micallef said it is unfair and frustrating that Garnier is getting help, but his own wife is not even though she is his dependent.

“It’s making my life a lot harder than before,” said Micallef.

Tweet This

“Before, we’re doing everything together. Now I’m doing most of her work that she used to do, and you know, I can’t leave her alone,” he said.

READ MORE: Military veterans lose disability pension fight

Veterans Affairs also has a Veterans Independence Program, which “helps [veterans] remain independent and self-sufficient in [their] home.”

For Micallef, that means helping him with his wife.

“We definitely don’t want to sell the house. We definitely want to stay here. We’ve been here 40 years now.”

Global News Redesign Global News Redesign
A fresh new look for Global News is here, tell us what you think
Take a Survey