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Government needs a plan for backlog of veterans’ aid applications: ombudsman

Federal funding to help programs assisting veterans
WATCH: (From August 2019) Federal funding to help programs assisting veterans

Veterans ombudsman Craig Dalton says the federal government should clearly explain how it plans to eliminate a backlog that is keeping thousands of former service members waiting to find out if they qualify for benefits and aid.

READ MORE: Liberals left $105M meant for veterans unspent in last fiscal year

The number of unaddressed applications for disability benefits and other assistance continues to grow despite repeated government promises to fix the problem.

Most recently, Veterans Affairs Canada revealed that there were 44,000 applications waiting to be processed at the end of September, which was a 10 per cent increase from six months earlier.

Author’s research tells of 17,000 Jewish Canadian soldiers in WW II
Author’s research tells of 17,000 Jewish Canadian soldiers in WW II

Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay says eliminating the backlog is his top priority and the department is trying to move files along faster.

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Yet Dalton says the government has not laid out a clear plan that includes specific actions and targets.

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Dalton also says the government needs to invest more money and resources into tackling the backlog, which he worries is leaving some veterans at greater risk of financial and health problems.

Remembrance Day: Veterans Affairs minister addresses priorities for veterans care
Remembrance Day: Veterans Affairs minister addresses priorities for veterans care