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Canadian Veterans with ALS - A Change is Coming

Published: 2010-09-21

Synopsis: When veterans with ALS apply for pension and health benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada their cases are determined on a case by case basis.

Main Digest

A Change is coming for Canadian Veterans with ALS.


The ALS Society of Canada applauds Prime Minister Stephen Harper's September 17 announcement on Global National Television regarding veterans with ALS: "I think I've been pretty clear that supporting our veterans is one of the government's highest priorities. We've been doing some internal reviews. We're aware of some concerns on how veterans who have ALS may be handled and I've certainly been insisting our officials look into how we can fix some people's problems. So you're going to see some action on that in the not-too-distant future."

Under the current system Canada is turning its back on veterans with ALS who have selflessly served their country. When veterans with ALS apply for pension and health benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada their cases are determined on a 'case by case' basis and are usually turned down. Unfortunately veterans living with ALS do not have time on their side as the life expectancy of those living with this horrific disease is two to five years. They have neither the time nor the wherewithal to fight the current system with a lengthy appeal process to obtain benefits.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs provides ALS veterans and their survivors with full disability, lifetime health and death benefits regardless of when or where they served. In 2005, a landmark study was published in Neurology - a well respected scientific journal - which showed evidence supporting a service connection for ALS and any veteran with that diagnosis. This increase appeared to be independent of the branch of service and the time period served.

"I applaud the Prime Minister's personal commitment to ensuring that Canadian veterans with ALS access the benefits they so greatly deserve. We look forward to working with the government to make this happen," says David Cameron, President & CEO of the ALS Society of Canada. "We are optimistic with the Prime Minister's recent commitment to our veterans that no veteran with ALS will ever be left behind again."

ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a rapidly progressive and fatal neuromuscular disease that causes the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. As the nerve cells die, people with ALS lose control of their muscles, which makes breathing, eating and even smiling almost impossible. Eighty per cent of those diagnosed will die within two to five years.

The ALS Society of Canada, founded in 1977, is the only national voluntary health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS and support for those living with ALS. The Society funds research towards a cure for ALS, supports our provincial partners in the provision of quality care for those living with ALS, and provides information to build awareness about the disease.

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Cite This Page (APA): AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS SOCIETY OF CANADA. (2010, September 21). Canadian Veterans with ALS - A Change is Coming. Disabled World. Retrieved September 26, 2021 from