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5

ARMED FORCES PENSIONERS

/ANNUITANTS

ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

In my last article published in this newsletter, I briefly

described the objectives of the Last Post Fund (“LPF”),

principally to ensure that no Veteran is denied a dignified

funeral and burial, as well as a military gravestone, due to

insufficient funds at the time of death.

My last article also recognized the relatively recent suc-

cesses that the LPF has had in convincing the federal gov-

ernment to increase the maximum reimbursable amount for

funeral costs from $3,600 to $7,376 and in amending eligi-

bility criteria to permit all Modern-Day Veterans to present

an application under VAC’s Funeral and Burial Program. I

also identified some remaining challenges facing our Vet-

erans in need and their families at the time of the death of a

Veteran.

Three important remaining objectives of the LPF are:

To annually adjust the maximum amount provided for

1

funeral home costs, and the (Spousal) Estate Exemption,

based on the cost of living, to ensure that these hard-

won and well-deserved benefits are not again eroded by

the passage of time and annual inflation;

To increase the time limit to three years following the

2

death of a Veteran for the estate to apply for benefits

under the Funeral and Burial Program; and

To significantly increase the (Spousal) Estate Exemp-

3

tion, or “means test”, used to determine if the Veteran’s

estate is eligible for financial assistance to ensure a dig-

nified funeral and burial for the Veteran.

The results of the recent federal election raise the pos-

sibility that some additional gains may be in store for our

Veterans and the work of the LPF.

Following the election, the Prime Minister sent a “man-

date” letter to the new Minister of Veterans Affairs and As-

sociate Minister of National Defence, Mr. Kent Hehr. The

full text of the Prime Minister’s letter can be found at the

following link:

http://pm.gc.ca/eng/minister-veterans-affairs-and-asso- ciate-minister-national-defence-mandate-letter

Within this letter of direction to the new Minister of Vet-

erans Affairs, we find the following text:

“Veterans should not have to fight their own govern-

ment for the support and compensation they have earned.

As Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of

National Defence, your overarching goal will be to ensure

that our government lives up to our sacred obligation to vet-

erans and their families. I expect you to ensure that veterans

receive the respect, support, care, and economic opportu-

nities they deserve. You will ensure that we honour the serv-

ice of our veterans and provide new career opportunities,

make it easier for veterans to access services – including

mental health services – and do more to support the families

of Canada’s veterans.

In particular, I will expect you to work with your col-

leagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and

Positive News for our Veterans and

for the Last Post Fund

By: Daniel O’Connor, Past President, Last Post Fund

Continued on next page...

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