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Military, Veterans Affairs won’t pay for Air Force officer’s prosthetic leg

Cloud Cover

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She didn't just lose her leg. Her infant child was killed on the side of the highway in an accident that occurred after she made arrangements to be ready to activate the FCP, in accordance with a conversation she had with her superior just minutes before. She lost a limb and a life, recovered, and continued to serve in an inspiring and meaningful way. Those are facts that make this whole issue unconscionable, stupid and comparatively petty, regardless of the type of prosthetic or reason why she wants it. 
 

TCM621

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Cloud Cover said:
She didn't just lose her leg. Her infant child was killed on the side of the highway in an accident that occurred after she made arrangements to be ready to activate the FCP, in accordance with a conversation she had with her superior just minutes before. She lost a limb and a life, recovered, and continued to serve in an inspiring and meaningful way. Those are facts that make this whole issue unconscionable, stupid and comparatively petty, regardless of the type of prosthetic or reason why she wants it.

The fact that her child died is horrible and nothing will ever make up for it. However, it has no bearing on the situation. The FCP isn't something you activate it is merely an administrative tool to ensure members have a plan. To see how there is no liability from the forces, turn it around. If she had been at fault and the other driver injured, would the CAF  have been liable? No because she was taking her kids to daycare not working.

Here are the relevant facts:

Was driving her children to daycare because husband, who normally does it, had to prep for deployment.
Calls her boss and says she is "activating her FCP", (Boss likely replied, "Uh....Ok?")
On the way to daycare, get in a terrible accident loses her leg.
Military pays for all her health care costs, including prostetics.
She retires, wants a new running blade, tries to get VAC to pay. VAC refuses because she was not on duty.

Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.
 

PMedMoe

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Tcm621 said:
The fact that her child died is horrible and nothing will ever make up for it. However, it has no bearing on the situation. The FCP isn't something you activate it is merely an administrative tool to ensure members have a plan. To see how there is no liability from the forces, turn it around. If she had been at fault and the other driver injured, would the CAF  have been liable? No because she was taking her kids to daycare not working.

Here are the relevant facts:

Was driving her children to daycare because husband, who normally does it, had to prep for deployment.
Calls her boss and says she is "activating her FCP", (Boss likely replied, "Uh....Ok?")
On the way to daycare, get in a terrible accident loses her leg.
Military pays for all her health care costs, including prostetics.
She retires, wants a new running blade, tries to get VAC to pay. VAC refuses because she was not on duty.

Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

:goodpost:

 

PuckChaser

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Tcm621 said:
She retires, wants a new running blade, tries to get VAC to pay. VAC refuses because she was not on duty.

Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

Politicians write VACs rules. They're not some omnipotent organization above the will or Parliament.

She didn't like what the rules were, tried to get enough public pressure to have them changed. The current government doesn't care, so shes running for office to get it changed from the inside. Probably exactly what someone should do? At least she put her money where her mouth is and stepped up to run herself.
 

Jarnhamar

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By 2014 Veterans Affairs returned over  $1,000,000,000 dollars that went unused.

2018-"Trudeau Liberals leave $372, 000,000 meant to help veterans unspent since taking office.


Veterans Affairs should have just bought her a new running leg.

 

PPCLI Guy

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Tcm621 said:
Everything else is fluff and spin in order to gain sympathy and to get politicians to override VAC.

Agreed.  No amount of what-aboutism will change that
 

TCM621

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PuckChaser said:
Politicians write VACs rules. They're not some omnipotent organization above the will or Parliament.

She didn't like what the rules were, tried to get enough public pressure to have them changed. The current government doesn't care, so shes running for office to get it changed from the inside. Probably exactly what someone should do? At least she put her money where her mouth is and stepped up to run herself.

That Is exactly what she should do and I wish her all the best. While I disagree with her argument here, hopefully she will be able to affect positive change at VAC, which clearly needs it.
 

TCM621

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Jarnhamar said:
By 2014 Veterans Affairs returned over  $1,000,000,000 dollars that went unused.

2018-"Trudeau Liberals leave $372, 000,000 meant to help veterans unspent since taking office.


Veterans Affairs should have just bought her a new running leg.

Or... You know... Spend that money so we can pay out to people who have legitimate claims in a timely manner. We have entered a time where 1-2 years is a pretty normal waiting time. Based on the information, I'm getting from VAC it will be at least 16 months (probably closer to 20) until I get a decision on my latest application.

I hope she gets what she needs and if anyone has a link to a GoFundMe or something I would love to donate some cash to help but this is just one of those times when no matter how much it might suck, she just isn't entitled.
 

brihard

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She won at VRAB. No ‘fluff and spin’, no political interference- but rather the administrative tribunal overseeing VAC looked at the totality of the circumstances and returned a legally sound decision that the events arose out of service requirements. Good on her. It shouldn’t be such a fight to look after our own.

 

CBH99

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By 2014 Veterans Affairs returned over $1,000,000,000 dollars that went unused.

2018-"Trudeau Liberals leave $372, 000,000 meant to help veterans unspent since taking office.


Veterans Affairs should have just bought her a new running leg.
While those numbers may be outdated, I doubt they have changed drastically since then.

If they are returning to treasury $372M in 2018 alone because they are ‘unable to spend it’ - they absolutely could have just bought her a new leg. I know VAC isn’t known for flexibility in paperwork, but sometimes some common sense & ‘get it done’ attitude would go a long way.

Her circumstances were horrible, I am glad she won. Anybody remember that guy who had to prove he was still missing a leg, ever single year?


If VAC is returning that much money because they are unable to spend it, could they not use a tiny fraction of it to streamline their processes?
 

daftandbarmy

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She won at VRAB. No ‘fluff and spin’, no political interference- but rather the administrative tribunal overseeing VAC looked at the totality of the circumstances and returned a legally sound decision that the events arose out of service requirements. Good on her. It shouldn’t be such a fight to look after our own.


And this is a great example of why good personal injury lawyers do so well ;)
 

Maxman1

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The chain of events that occurred on the day of the accident,' the veteran’s board said in its ruling on Kimberly Fawcett's case, were directly due to military orders

Adrian Humphreys
June 1, 2021

Kimberly-Fawcett-1.png

For 15 years, Captain Kim Fawcett has battled with the Canadian Forces to pay for prosthetics she needed after a horrific car crash that also killed her son. PHOTO BY PETER J. THOMPSON/NATIONAL POST/FILE

Air Force Captain Kimberly Fawcett, who lost her leg and her only child in a horrific car crash while preparing for her deployment to Afghanistan, has won her long-running battle with the military over disability compensation.

After 15 years of Canadian Forces officers denying on-duty disability compensation for the 24-year service veteran — arguing her activation of the military’s pre-deployment childcare plan for her nine-month-old son in 2006 was not a part of military duty — the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Canada overruled it.

“The chain of events that occurred on the day of the accident,” the veteran’s board said in its ruling, were directly due to military orders and with her commanding officer’s approval, meaning the tragic outcome was “attributable to military service.”

The decision was greeted with relief and tears.

“This has been such a long, hard-fought ordeal,” said David Levangie, Fawcett’s lawyer through years of appeals and grievances.

“She should never have had to have this fight because this was an institution that her poor family basically devoted their lives to. I think she felt a bit betrayed by the institution, and I think she fought as long and hard as she did because, not only did she need the financial compensation, but she felt there really was an injustice here,” he said.

Fawcett said the way her case was treated by the Canadian Forces reflects an ingrained gender discrimination in the military being exposed by recent sexual misconduct allegations.

“This comes down to gender bias,” Fawcett said, and the military’s attitude of women’s place and role in the armed forces. “This is 100 per cent, pure unadulterated gender discrimination and gender bias.”

kimberly_fawcett_smith-1-e1528297555599.jpg

Captain Kimberly Fawcett Smith.
National Post detailed Fawcett’s tragic loss and determined fight in 2018.

Fawcett, now 57, was gearing up for her second deployment in Canada’s war in Afghanistan. Fawcett and her husband were both posted to Canadian Forces high-readiness units; military directives required the couple to map out a Family Care Plan so they would always be prepared for childcare in case of urgent deployment.

When her husband was ordered onto base to prepare for an imminent overseas mission and her unit was expected to follow shortly after, they activated their care plan, which was to take their son, Keiran, to her husband’s parents.

She phoned her commanding officer and received approval to trigger the care plan, dressed in her uniform, and set off to drop her son off before heading to Canadian Forces Base Kingston. It was Feb. 21, 2006. At the on-ramp onto Highway 401, her Jeep spun on ice and into the concrete median.

She took Keiran out of his car seat to carry him to a safer place but as she moved him, a truck slid by.

“I stepped down” she previously told the Post, “we were hit broadside right out of nowhere.”

Keiran was killed. Fawcett was badly injured, including her right leg being torn off.

Over time, she adapted to life as an above-knee amputee. She returned to work and completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan, the first female soldier to serve in a war zone with a prosthetic leg.

Through it all, she fought for full military benefits and disability benefits to cover her treatments and prosthetics.

As the veteran’s board noted, there was “diverging views within the Canadian Forces in respect to whether the Veteran was on duty at the time of the accident.”

Her on-duty compensation was at first approved by a major, then rescinded by a colonel and reinstated by a major general, who wrote: “The execution of the Family Care Plan is in fact, a military order. The Canadian Forces has a duty to uphold its commitment and support of military families.”

That didn’t end it. Her claim went to an internal grievance board, which denied it, saying she was not on duty at the time of the injury. Fawcett challenged the decision in the Federal Court, where a judge set the negative decision aside and ordered a fresh review.

That second review also dismissed Fawcett’s claim, writing: “There was no military imperative associated with your actions that would establish a nexus to a military order or duty.” The denial was also appealed to the Federal Court. This time, a judge accepted the military’s decision, in 2019.

She next took her issue to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board Canada, a government agency that is independent from the Canadian Forces and reports to parliament through the minister of veterans affairs.

kimberly_fawcett_smith-e1528297067677.jpg

Captain Kimberly Fawcett Smith and her son Keiran.
The board said the circumstances of Fawcett’s case were unique.

“On the day of the accident, given that the Veteran’s husband was required to attend first aid training to prepare for an imminent deployment, they needed to alter the regular plans for their child and therefore the (Family Care Plan) FCP needed to be implemented. The Veteran requested and obtained permission from her boss,” says the board’s decision, released Thursday.

“The Veteran should have been at her office at an intelligence briefing but due to the military requirement that her husband attend the first aid course, she was transporting their son to daycare.

“The Review Panel is satisfied that that there is an element of military control in the initiation of the FCP. She was in uniform and had her work belongings with her at the time.”

An on-duty injury increases the amount of pain and suffering compensation she is eligible for. Her compensation is retroactive only to April 2019, because of the rules of the board.

Fawcett was the Conservative candidate in the Toronto riding of Scarborough Southwest in the 2019 federal election, losing to Liberal cabinet minister Bill Blair.

Soldier who lost her baby and a leg in horrific crash on duty wins 15-year battle with military
 

TCM621

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She won at VRAB. No ‘fluff and spin’, no political interference- but rather the administrative tribunal overseeing VAC looked at the totality of the circumstances and returned a legally sound decision that the events arose out of service requirements. Good on her. It shouldn’t be such a fight to look after our own.

I am a little surprised. It seemed pretty cut and dry that dropping your kids of at day care isn't military service. I wonder what the far reaching effects of this will be. I you drop the kids of at day care before work, because you need child care to perform your military duties, are you entitled to VAC compensation if you get in an accident? What if you don't have kids but just need to drive to work to accomplish your military duties?

I am kind of glad the FCP actually benefited the member in this case but I still don't understand how dealing with your children can be seen, in any way, to be considered part of military service.
 

MilEME09

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I am a little surprised. It seemed pretty cut and dry that dropping your kids of at day care isn't military service. I wonder what the far reaching effects of this will be. I you drop the kids of at day care before work, because you need child care to perform your military duties, are you entitled to VAC compensation if you get in an accident? What if you don't have kids but just need to drive to work to accomplish your military duties?

I am kind of glad the FCP actually benefited the member in this case but I still don't understand how dealing with your children can be seen, in any way, to be considered part of military service.
By being required to have a family care plan the military made it part of their domain in my opinion. We can probably go back and forth on this for a long time, but at the end of the day the tribunal has set the precedent that if you are injured to or from your place of duty it could be service related.
 

Loachman

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Seeing this gross injustice finally corrected, even partially and far too late, gives me joy.

Her fight should never have been necessary in the first place.

I am not sure what gender had to do with it, though - wrong is wrong, and her mistreatment was almost as wrong and inhumane as anything could possibly have been.
 

Weinie

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Seeing this gross injustice finally corrected, even partially and far too late, gives me joy.

Her fight should never have been necessary in the first place.

I am not sure what gender had to do with it, though - wrong is wrong, and her mistreatment was almost as wrong and inhumane as anything could possibly have been.
Bureaucracy at its' worst, most asinine and rigid. A pox on their houses.
 

Haggis

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Let's see if there is an appeal filed by the CAF/DND. She may be asking for more than the government can give.
 

Haggis

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Good point.

Note to self: read slower bedore replying when on nights.
 

brihard

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I am a little surprised. It seemed pretty cut and dry that dropping your kids of at day care isn't military service. I wonder what the far reaching effects of this will be. I you drop the kids of at day care before work, because you need child care to perform your military duties, are you entitled to VAC compensation if you get in an accident? What if you don't have kids but just need to drive to work to accomplish your military duties?

I am kind of glad the FCP actually benefited the member in this case but I still don't understand how dealing with your children can be seen, in any way, to be considered part of military service.
I’m waiting for the decision to be published, but the day in question wasn’t ‘business as usual’ with their regular day to day child care arrangements in place. The exigencies of duty, tied to an upcoming deployment, necessitated something outside of the norm. But for those military requirements - the nexus to service - she would not have been in the time and place for the collision to happed. Therefore it arises out of service. I suspect the case’s reasoning will track similarly to that.
 
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