Advertisement

Fewer veterans have applied for disability during COVID-19, sparking accessibility concerns

Click to play video 'Many veterans don’t feel adequately recognized or supported: expert' Many veterans don’t feel adequately recognized or supported: expert
WATCH ABOVE: Many veterans don’t feel adequately recognized or supported: expert – Oct 23, 2020

The federal government is being criticized for not doing enough to help disabled veterans as new figures appear to confirm fears COVID-19 is making it more difficult for them to apply for assistance.

The figures from Veterans Affairs Canada show about 8,000 veterans applied for disability benefits during the first three full months of the pandemic, which was about half the normal number.

Read more: Career caravan offers Canadian military veterans opportunity to learn skills in software, cyber security

The sharp drop in the number of applications helped the department make a dent in the backlog of more than 40,000 requests for federal assistance waiting to be processed.

Yet the department also acknowledges at least part of the decline is likely because the pandemic made it harder for veterans to get the necessary information to apply, such as doctor’s assessments.

Story continues below advertisement

That is exactly what Brian Forbes, chairman of the National Council of Veterans Associations, has been warning about since the spring.

Forbes, whose organization represents more than 60 veterans groups in Canada, says he is frustrated because the government has not moved to address the problem despite knowing about it for months, and that now is the time to act.

Click to play video 'Veterans will be granted free parking year round in Vancouver' Veterans will be granted free parking year round in Vancouver
Veterans will be granted free parking year round in Vancouver – Oct 22, 2020