Federal government tosses dozens of claims from vets who died without survivors

CKTB NEWS | claims forms

Veterans Affairs Canada has tossed dozens of claims for disability benefits by veterans or retired RCMP officers who died without an eligible survivor or dependant, many while their applications were stuck in the department's backlog.

The department says 95 such claims were thrown out in the last fiscal year, including 41 that had been sitting in the queue for longer than 16 weeks, the standard by which Veterans Affairs is supposed to complete 80 per cent of all applications.

Veterans Affairs spokesman Marc Lescoutre blamed existing legislation for the department's inability to proceed with applications and award compensation to the veteran's estate.

One claim thrown out last year was from retired RCMP sergeant Robert Nordlund, who applied for compensation more than two years ago for a bad hip and was still waiting for a response when he died in November.

 His son Scott Nordlund says he understands why the rule would apply to applications made at the last minute by veterans who are about to die.

 But he questions why those who have been stuck in the department's backlog of 44,000 disability applications are treated the same way.