The ALS Society of Canada applauds Prime Minister Stephen Harper's September 17 announcement on Global National Television regarding veterans with ALS: "I think I've been pretty clear that supporting our veterans is one of the government's highest priorities. We've been doing some internal reviews. We're aware of some concerns on how veterans who have ALS may be handled and I've certainly been insisting our officials look into how we can fix some people's problems. So you're going to see some action on that in the not-too-distant future."
Under the current system Canada is turning its back on veterans with ALS who have selflessly served their country. When veterans with ALS apply for pension and health benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada their cases are determined on a 'case by case' basis and are usually turned down. Unfortunately veterans living with ALS do not have time on their side as the life expectancy of those living with this horrific disease is two to five years. They have neither the time nor the wherewithal to fight the current system with a lengthy appeal process to obtain benefits.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs provides ALS veterans and their survivors with full disability, lifetime health and death benefits regardless of when or where they served. In 2005, a landmark study was published in Neurology - a well respected scientific journal - which showed evidence supporting a service connection for ALS and any veteran with that diagnosis. This increase appeared to be independent of the branch of service and the time period served.
"I applaud the Prime Minister's personal commitment to ensuring that Canadian veterans with ALS access the benefits they so greatly deserve. We look forward to working with the government to make this happen," says David Cameron, President & CEO of the ALS Society of Canada. "We are optimistic with the Prime Minister's recent commitment to our veterans that no veteran with ALS will ever be left behind again."
AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS SOCIETY OF CANADA