Injured veteran struggling to pay bills feels forgotten by feds

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Injured veteran struggling to pay bills feels forgotten by feds

Post by Trooper on Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:42 am

Listen: http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1263074

CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, November 16, 2017


Bill MacKay spent nearly 20 years in the Canadian Navy and says he’s never missed a Remembrance Day ceremony in his life -- until this year.

MacKay, 60, is accusing federal officials of not recognizing a neck injury he says he sustained in 1994 while deployed in Barbados.

He says the injury forced him into early retirement and should be recognized as a disability, and come with the appropriate benefit.

But Veterans Affairs has twice rejected MacKay’s claims. The department acknowledged the incident in Barbados, but said it wasn’t the source of MacKay’s condition.

The department points to the fact that MacKay received surgery for the injury in 1995, one year after the incident in Barbados.

MacKay said he is already struggling to make ends meet on his military pension. He lives in a trailer with his wife, Bonnie, and the couple mostly eats canned food to save on bills. They can’t afford gas for their truck and are forced to decide which medications they can live without.

MacKay says the situation has left him “broken-hearted.”

“These are people that took an oath to serve this country. And it doesn’t seem to matter to them,” he told CTV Atlantic. “I just couldn’t figure out how they could let people go like this.”

MacKay lives with a steel plate and four screws in his body, which he says help keep his vertebrae in place.

He plans to take his case to an appeal hearing in P.E.I.

Veterans Affairs said that there are options available for veterans if they are unsatisfied by the process, and that they have the right to apply for a judicial review of the decision by the Federal Court of Canada.

“Every situation is unique and we work with Veterans and their families on a case-by-case basis,” spokesperson Marc Lescoutre said in a statement.

Bonnie MacKay says her husband deserves better treatment than he’s received so far.

“He saw a lot. He witnessed a lot. And they are not giving him any help at all,” she said.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/injured-veteran-struggling-to-pay-bills-feels-forgotten-by-feds-1.3681862
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Re: Injured veteran struggling to pay bills feels forgotten by feds

Post by Trooper on Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:13 am

Not-for-profit raises hundreds of dollars for N.S. veteran in need



CTV Atlantic
Published Monday, December 11, 2017


A veteran and his wife who say they feel forgotten by the federal government are receiving much-needed assistance from a fellow veteran.

Bill MacKay, a 20-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, is in the middle of an ongoing dispute with the government over a disability benefit.

VETS Canada president and fellow veteran Jim Lowther heard of MacKay’s story and decided to help, raising $1,800 for MacKay’s medication, food and other needs.

“It makes a difference. It really does. This is like winning the lottery to me,” says MacKay

Bill MacKay spent nearly 20 years in the Canadian navy. In recent years, the 60-year-old and his wife Bonny have struggled to make ends meet on his military pension. MacKay is still waiting for veterans affairs to recognize a neck injury he says he sustained during his time in the military as a disability.

Their story was heard by Lowther, who served for 15 years and did multiple tours.

“I was basically in my basement, you know, not doing well. I decided to, thanks to my wife and my psychiatrist to get out and volunteer in my community,” says Lowther. “I ran into a homeless veteran and he pointed out three other homeless veterans.”

That's how his not-for-profit VETS Canada was born. They've now helped over 2,000 veterans get back on their feet right across the country.

VETS Canada already gave the Mackays emergency help for money, groceries and basic needs, but MacKay says the extra money will dramatically change their holiday season.

“I'm actually smiling for the first time in a long time, and it's genuine,” Bonny MacKay says. “We're having a Christmas turkey. Most people take that for granted. We had Kraft Dinner for Thanksgiving.”

VETS Canada is hoping to raise even more before Christmas Day thorough a GoFundMe page for improvements to the MacKay’s trailer.

http://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/not-for-profit-raises-hundreds-of-dollars-for-n-s-veteran-in-need-1.3717158
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