Korea Veterans Widow Advocate Association
“Dedicated to fair compensation for widows of Korea Veterans who died from certain types of cancer”
The answers to the questions, supplied by Veterans Affairs Canada, have been paraphrased.
Questions and answers:
- 1. Are widows whose husbands died from cancer eligible for a pension?
- The type of survivor’s benefit awarded depends upon such factors as the deceased veteran’s service dates. Survivor benefits may apply to Korea Veterans who served in Korea from July 5, 1950 to October 31, 1953. They are processed under the Pension Act. If a favourable ruling is made, the type of benefit paid is a monthly survivor’s pension.
- Applications relating to Korea Veterans who served in Korea Post-October 31, 1953 are usually processed under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-Establishment and Compensation Act (CFMVRC Act) which came into force on April 1, 2006; and the type of survivor’s benefit paid under this legislation is a lump sum award. However, any applications for survivor benefits submitted to VAC relating to Korea Veterans as well as any applications for survivor benefits relating to Korea Veterans who died prior to the coming into force of the CFMVRC Act (regardless of the Veteran’s service dates) are processed under the pension act.
- 2. We understand that every pension is decided on an individual basis. What is the range of those pensions?
- A. 2007 monthly rate for a single pensioner -- $111.05 to $2221.08
- 2007 monthly rate for a surviving spouse without dependent children -- $69.41 to $1665.81
- A lump sum of up to $250,000 depending on the extent of the disability is payable to eligible survivors under the CFMVRC Act.
- When did Veterans Affairs begin to pay pensions to Korea Veterans who had cancer?
- A. Korea Veterans, like other veterans, have always had the right to apply for an award for any medical condition they believed related to their military service. Where a service condition or disability is established a pension or award is paid.
- Since Sept. 10, 2004, VAC has acknowledged that the Korea Veterans Cancer Study conducted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Australia and released in December 2003, contains important findings with respect to cancer. The study found that Korea war Veterans experienced a significantly higher incidence of certain types of cancer.
- Head and neck, inside of mouth, but not skin cancers, eye cancer or brain cancer.
- As a result, VAC now considers the findings of the Australian study important in the adjudication of disability pensions and awards to Veterans who served in Korea from July 5, 1950 to the end of 1955.
- For what period of time were the veterans given back pay?
- A. The retroactivity of a disability pension is governed by subsection 39 (1) of the pension act. Pensions shall be made payable from the date the application is first made to the department. The onus is on the Veteran or the survivor. The pension is made effective on the date of application or three years prior to the date of a favourable ruling. The shortest length of time applies.
- Since Korea veterans became eligible for benefits because of cancer, how many have applied?
- A. Five hundred and ninety-three applications have been received from Korea Veterans and their surviving spouses. The figure includes all requests up until March 2007 and includes pre- September 2004.
- How many have been given a pension?
- A. Four hundred and fifty-nine have received a pension. Fourteen are waiting a decision.
- Have any pension benefits been paid to widows whose husbands died of cancer before Veterans Affairs made Korea Veterans eligible for cancer benefits? How many?
- A. Benefits have been paid to widows of Korea War Veterans who died from cancer. But VAC is unable to provide statistics on the number of survivors who were paid benefits prior to VAC’s acceptance of the Australian study.
- How has Veterans Affairs publicized that widows are eligible?
- A. Veterans Affairs has made survivor eligibility available through the following:
- a. September 10, 2004 news release by the Hon. Albina Guarnieri, the minister of VAC.
- b. Front page article in Salute, September 2004.
- c. Services and Benefits pamphlet and the New Veterans Charter available in VAC offices.
- d. A presentation made at the 2004 annual convention of the Korean Veterans Association.
- Note: I checked out the news release and two speeches. There was mention of cancer compensation but no mention of widows. I couldn’t find the pamphlet on the web or the presentation by the officials.
- What is the name and contact number of a person at Veterans Affairs who will speak to persons wanting information?
- A. Toll free number: 1-866-522-2122
Answer. Widows (or other eligible survivors) of Korean Veterans who died of cancer can apply for survivor’s benefits offered by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). Survivor benefits will be awarded to eligible survivors who can establish that the deceased Veteran’s cancer-related death was attributable to military service.
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