“We are the veterans affected by the SISIP claw back. We are their friends, family and supporters.”
This statement sat quietly but strongly on the LeaveNoVetBehind website for years. LeaveNoVetBehind was a mass movement to support veterans who were wrongly affected by the SISIP long term disability claw back.
More than 7,500 medically released disabled veterans had their long term disability income replacement payments reduced by the value of their pain and suffering disability pension. This meant that the most disabled veterans received very little or nothing from the SISIP plan, which they had paid into their entire career. It was an insult to our veterans and an embarrassment to Canada.
A Class Action was initiated in March of 2007 on behalf of Dennis Manuge and all other disabled veterans whose SISIP long term disability (LTD) Benefits were reduced by the amount of the VAC Disability Pension they received under the Pension Act. The Government had taken the position that it would see our veterans in court.
On May 1, 2012, the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Government of Canada acted illegally in making deductions from veterans’ long term disability benefits. The veterans had won this historic case.
Canada’s disabled veterans counted on the voices of many supporters. The purpose of LeaveNoVetBehind was to provide a website where a supporter from any walk of life, whether disabled veteran, soldier, family member, concerned citizen, political candidate, or member of parliament, could support disabled veterans by taking action or pledging support.
We want to honour the legacy of LeaveNoVetBehind by picking up the baton through the Veterans Legal Assistance Foundation.
The success of the SISIP LTD Class Action is an example of the good work that can be done when veterans have access to justice. But there is more work to do.
Many veterans – both from the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP – continue to have legal difficulties with their important claims. They need a voice, and they need legal support. That’s where the VLAF steps in. With the support of community partners and generous donors, we can ensure that the funding allocated to the VLAF can grow to ensure more veterans have their cases heard. We will be grateful for your support.
“They have listened to Canada’s disabled veterans, and clearly they wanted to do the right thing.”Dennis Manuge
May 29, 2012
Lead Plaintiff, SISIP LTD Class Action
The VLAF is a charitable organization that supports access to justice for Canadian veterans – it was established to provide Canada’s veterans funding to help reduce the burden of legal fees associated with proceedings before administrative tribunals and courts.
by Sandra Goodwin (with files from LeaveNoVetBehind.ca)