Paperwork keeping us from helping veterans, case workers complain


Case managers assigned to assist Canada's most severely disabled veterans say they are being forced to spend more of their time filling out paperwork than helping patients.

The complaints are contained in an internal review by Veterans Affairs Canada that says the majority of case managers spend more than half their working day filling out required forms and reports, with one in three spending 70 per cent of their time on such tasks.

The findings follow long-standing concerns, and anger, about a shortage of case workers, whose job includes guiding injured veterans to the services and benefits they need to successfully transition back into civilian life after leaving the military.

Underscoring their importance, the review found most veterans reported significant improvements in their physical and mental health during the time they had a case manager.

The review also found there were certain populations falling through the cracks when it came to being assigned a case manager, including veterans with mental-health conditions and retired military personnel who had served on peacekeeping missions in the 1970s and 1980s.

Yet it also found that while as many as 800 of the roughly 13,000 veterans with a case manager no longer need the service, many veterans are reluctant to move on.