By Sue Tiffin
Published Oct. 2 2018
Financial help is available for veterans and their families through Veterans Affairs Canada.
Ed Pickard veteran services officer of the Haliburton Legion branch 129 said he recently attended a seminar in which funding was discussed and urged veterans to get in touch with him for assistance.
“We’ve got to find some way to reach the people who might not know they’re eligible for this” he said. “You don’t have to be a Legion member to access those funds just a veteran. There’s been the odd one or two but I think we have more veterans here than what we know about. They just haven’t come forward. If people don’t contact us we don’t know about them.”
Pickard said his own wife Billy was offered assistance prior to her death earlier this year.
“Just for example my wife a WW2 vet Veterans Affairs couldn’t do enough for us” he said. “We got wheelchairs walkers one of those chairlifts put in to the top of the stairs. That was all covered by Veterans Affairs.”
The Haliburton Legion can help veterans with the process of applying for financial help.
“I think the difficulty is letting people know that they may be able to get funding” he said. “It’s hard to reach people when they’re not aware there’s something there for them. Anyone who was in the service they’re considered a veteran. If there’s anything that can relate back to their service any injuries whether it’s physical or mental. My idea is if you think you can get it let’s put the application in and see where it goes. You might get something you might get nothing but at least we can get the ball rolling.”
The message is an important one to get out according to Ed because he knows it can help.
Before his time in the veteran services officer position he said a destitute widow was struggling to pay to heat her home but Veterans Affairs stepped in to help with that cost. He’s seen people helped in a variety of ways over the years.
“One person that I know had a bad back and I just happened to talk to him about it” said Ed. “He said when he was in the army he had an accident of some kind and it affected his back. I asked him ‘are you getting anything for it?’ And he said ‘well no.’ I said ‘well let’s put an application in and find out and see if we can get something for you.’ He ended up getting $24000. But he didn’t even realize that he had a hope of getting anything.”
Pickard said he learned at a recent conference that veterans suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder have oftentimes been reluctant to come forward for help but there is assistance available to them. Although veterans are informed of civilian transition guidance and funding services when they leave the service Ed said he thinks not everyone looks into funding.
“I just think there’s people out there who could probably use the help” he said. “The main thing is to get them to contact us at the branch. If we think it’s feasible and quite often it is it goes to Ontario Command to our service officer down there and they contact whichever agencies might help.”
For more information call Ed Pickard veteran services officer at the Haliburton Legion by calling 705-457-2571.