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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 8/1/2002 4:12:22 AM EST
My Brother-in-law, Bruce Henwood, has contacted me regarding US Military benefits. I was in the USMC, but that was 12 years ago and I'm sure things have changed. He is challenging the Government of Canada on disability benefits and is needing the following: 1) what the US Military provides for its injured soldiers (example: what sort of compensation is paid for loss of limb or sight). 2) In addition, is this insurance that the soldier pays for? Or are the costs split between DOD and the member? Or are the costs to provide such insurance or compensation completely covered by the military? 3) Needs photocopies of whatever dismemberment insurance paperwork/policy that the soldier has regarding this. 4) Any other applicable paperwork and/or contacts that you may have available. Please contact me directly if you can help. The newspaper article below is long, but gives some background info. thanks, Dan brownhen@ix.netcom.com July 28, 2002 Holes in military insurance must be plugged By PETER WORTHINGTON -- Toronto Sun The most damning indictment of our government's handling of the military is not equipment and weaponry that's older than most soldiers, but the treatment of those critically injured in the service of their country. When Maj. Bruce Henwood lost both legs to an anti-tank mine while peacekeeping in Croatia in 1995 with the Lord Strathconas, he was shocked to learn the insurance plan he and all members of the Armed Forces must pay into, is not insurance against injury, but a guaranteed income plan. Unlike the British military's insurance plan, Canada's mandatory, low-cost Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) awards no compensation for critical injuries, but guarantees a wounded soldier 75% of his pay - providing pension and medical disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs don't add up to that percentage. In Henwood's case, 23 years in the army meant a pension equalling 46% of his pay. When medical disability payments were added, the total was more than 75%, so his SISIP "insurance" meant nothing for his career ending, life-altering injury. Sgt. Lorne Ford of the Princess Pats, who lost an eye when an American bomb was accidentally dropped on his regiment in Afghanistan, is waiting to see if the shattered nerves in his foot reconnect, or if it will have to be amputated. He doesn't know what SISIP will do for him. "I want to talk to them about my options, but so far I've heard nothing," he said by phone from Edmonton. With 13 years service, he'd like to stay in the army - "infantry if possible, but I'll see what happens." Sgt. Ford should know within a month whether his foot can be saved, but it's safe to say the Armed Forces likely won't want him now that he's lost an eye - and certainly won't if he loses his foot. His 13 years of service will result in 26% pension, plus whatever medical disability he can wrangle from DVA, which traditionally offers the minimum to injured soldiers, and gives increases only if the soldier appeals. =============== CONTINUED ====================
Link Posted: 8/1/2002 4:14:03 AM EST
=========== CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS POST =========== SISIP will give Ford no compensation for his lost eye or foot if it's amputated - just a guarantee to make up the difference in his income to meet the 75% limit if disability payments don't reach that mark. Maj. Henwood now has a good job with General Dynamics in Calgary. He remains appalled that the DND insurance plan offers no compensation for loss of limbs or eyesight, as the British system does. He's filed a grievance in hopes of having our system changed, but nothing seems to be happening. The Canadian Forces Grievance Board no longer answers Henwood's complaint, filed four years ago, and the board has in effect told the military ombudsman to butt out and mind his own business. Again, the grievance board leisurely deals with individual cases, not systemic flaws that perpetrate injustice. "My situation is better than many injured soldiers who can't or won't complain," says Henwood. "Someone has to speak for them. The system can't go on the way it is. There's no reason why we can't adopt aspects of the British army's insurance plan." While there are many positive aspects of SISIP, the lack of compensation for loss of body parts is a glaring weakness, and one would think the board of directors that oversees SISIP would insist on correcting it. The board is chaired by the chief of defence staff and includes the vice-chief and deputy chief and assorted defence officials. If SISIP considers a soldier's eye, arm or leg is worth nothing, how about the British plan, called PAX? Regardless of rank, every member is entitled to buy up to 15 units of insurance. Each unit costs roughly $4 a month - double that for family coverage - and each unit pays up to $25,000 for loss of an eye or limb. The maximum 15 units insurance, (costing about $60 a month) pays a $375,000 lump sum on death or lost of limb. The benefits are the same for all ranks. The family plan covers kids and spouses, and applies regardless of whether injuries occur in war, peace, on vacation or at home. (Only self-inflicted injuries or suicides are excluded.) SISIP costs $20 a month, or a maximum $40 for increased coverage. Individual contributions are matched by the government. SISIP rolls in money, collecting about $50 million per year. A possibility for the board to consider would be, say, a lump sum $300,000 to soldiers who lose a limb or eyesight. This might amount to roughly one soldier a year, or $9 million over the last 30 years - a puny amount, considering the cash that flows in. The sorry thing is that most soldiers aren't aware they aren't insured; those needing the most protection have the least coverage. I'd argue that for military people in peacetime who suffer the sort of injuries Henwood, Ford and former Warrant Officer Matt Stopford endured, the government should assume they intended to serve a full 35 years and grant a full pension, plus disability benefits, plus a lump sum payment from SISIP. When politicians say "Nothing is too good for our boys," too often that's exactly what the critically wounded get from SISIP. Nothing. ------------------------------------------------------------- Letters to the editor should be sent to editor@sunpub.com.
Link Posted: 8/2/2002 6:20:14 AM EST
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