Saturday, March 17, 2012

Former Soldier Going Public With Bureaucratic Battle

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 04:14 AM

Chilliwack,B.C. - Jim Newton has been fighting for 13 years and now wants to go public.  As a matter of fact that's about the only thing he hasn't done. 

The former Canadian Forces helicopter pilot suffered a career ending injury back in 1993.  He was on military maneuvers in Penticton when he suffered the traumatic perforation of his tympanic membrane, or more simply put ruptured his ear drum.  It ended his military career, but according to Newton that’s when his real battle began. 

Newton says 13 years later he is still owed the remaining portion of his disability pension.  He got a letter from his the Commander Officer saying he was injured during a sanctioned event.  He has his medical records from the Penticton hospital where he was treated and has provided Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board with whatever they’ve asked but they still say no.  “I’ve gone through Veterans Affairs Canada then you go through a series of appeals then you go through a reconsideration with the Bureau Pension Advocates.  I keep on fighting and keep on looking and found some missing information then you go forward with a reconsideration.”  

However Newton says VRAB always come back and contradict what they said themselves in previous decisions.  Needless to say he is at wits’ end. 

Newton doesn’t care about the money anymore. He simply wants to go public with his story.  He says other veterans have found themselves tangled in the same bureaucratic web and adds people need to realize what it is like.  He says it is only going to get worse with all the soldiers returning from Afghanistan. 

Newton says he went to Chilliwack Fraser Canyon MP Mark Strahl, but Strahl did nothing.  89.5 The Hawk News spoke with Strahl but he declined comment sighting privacy issues.  We are still in the process of getting in touch with the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.

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