Author Topic: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits  (Read 6823 times)

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Offline Halifax Tar

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Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« on: February 09, 2017, 08:22:45 »
In receiving her second cancer diagnosis within the span of two years, Tricia Beauchamp's doctor said something that stuck with her.

"It's called unlucky," she recalls him saying.

Beauchamp is a retired air force sergeant and single mother who spent 27 years in the military's logistics branch as a traffic technician. In that role, it was her job to get supplies and equipment where they were needed with no fuss or muss.

Within the span of six years, she says she endured a botched surgery in the military system and, as a result, failed a physical fitness test by nine seconds. That triggered her medical release, which she fought unsuccessfully to prevent. She was denied a civil service job on her last day in the military. And she survived two bouts of cancer, one of which included 26 radiation treatments.

But perhaps the most difficult, frustrating battle is the one she's fought with the defence and veterans affairs departments.

Beauchamp was released to civilian life last summer and, like thousands of other ex-soldiers and air crew, she was forced to wait for her military severance, pension and veterans benefits.

"I felt like I was pushed through the cracks," Beauchamp told CBC News. "I have been so stressed it's unreal. I'm lucky I have kids that understand."

More on link:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/soldier-evicted-military-pension-1.3972723
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Offline jollyjacktar

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2017, 21:24:28 »
I don't get it, it's the computer age.  Should be a few simple key strokes and voila.
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

Offline Remius

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2017, 21:39:50 »
I don't get it, it's the computer age.  Should be a few simple key strokes and voila.

They can't even pay the people who are still working properly, why would we think that they can figure out how to pay retiring or injured vets.

The computer age is likely the reason why this is happening.
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Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2017, 23:17:19 »
...

The computer age is likely the reason why this is happening.

Not just that ... we live in an age where people, even very, very senior people are afraid to make decisions lest they embarrass themselves or, worse, their boss.

Computers are great for repetitive tasks, even for very complex tasks, and they can do almost anything for which a rule (algorithm) has been created. But too many rules = too much complexity and high cost so we, intentionally, limit the capabilities of our computer systems and they simply cannot make or even recommend0 decisions in many, many cases. A middle manager is needed to be at the screen when the computer bumps into a problem for which there is no rule ... but one of the reasons we bought the (expensive) computer system was so that we  could fire some middle managers and, of course, we did so before we got the system up and running.

We have oversold computerized systems and undervalued the morale factor which is adversely effected when the "system" cannot make fair, timely decisions. It is a combination of weak, inept leadership ~ at very high political, official and military levels ~ and the prevailing culture of timidity which is influenced by the media which will tar and feather anyone who makes any mistake.
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Offline CBH99

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2017, 02:47:07 »
ER Campbell, I believe you are 100% correct.

As a general question about dealing with Veteran's Affairs - what seems to be the holdup for most people?

Is there a high turnover of staff?  Recent changes to how payments are processed?  Redundancies & hoops for retired members to jump through?

Just seems that VA should by all means have a simple, streamlined system by now.  After all, it's not like the military was just created yesterday...
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Offline jollyjacktar

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2017, 07:23:22 »
They can't even pay the people who are still working properly, why would we think that they can figure out how to pay retiring or injured vets.

The computer age is likely the reason why this is happening.

Why shouldn't it be easy?  In her case, during her release process it would be simple to do a interim measure as I know the argument is they need to check and verify the exact days of service.  Use my HLTA claim from Christmas past.  They did some quick calculations and determined the value of the claim would be around $380, advanced me 80% of it and paid out the remainder when the claim was finalized.  When I release, they can see my enrolment date, calculate the number of days between that and my release date.  Then they can do a thumbnail estimate of what my pension would come to each month before final verification of any LWOP (none) etc.  Why could an 80% payment not be started right then and there to start upon release with the final total coming each month calculated when they've satisfied all their verifications.  Should be as easy as starting a pay allotment, a few key strokes.
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2017, 07:29:54 »
Why shouldn't it be easy?  In her case, during her release process it would be simple to do a interim measure as I know the argument is they need to check and verify the exact days of service.  Use my HLTA claim from Christmas past.  They did some quick calculations and determined the value of the claim would be around $380, advanced me 80% of it and paid out the remainder when the claim was finalized.  When I release, they can see my enrolment date, calculate the number of days between that and my release date.  Then they can do a thumbnail estimate of what my pension would come to each month before final verification of any LWOP (none) etc.  Why could an 80% payment not be started right then and there to start upon release with the final total coming each month calculated when they've satisfied all their verifications.  Should be as easy as starting a pay allotment, a few key strokes.


Should be ... I agree, but see my third paragraph, above, and you will understand why it is not. Leaders need to trust subordinates to make, broadly and generally, common sense decisions around, broadly, sensible rules and algorithms and, even more important, leaders need to be ready to accept a few honest mistakes.

But if you have a timid culture where any mistake might embarrass the boss, and that is a mortal sin then, then having sensible system is very, very difficult.
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as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
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Offline jollyjacktar

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2017, 08:22:05 »

Should be ... I agree, but see my third paragraph, above, and you will understand why it is not. Leaders need to trust subordinates to make, broadly and generally, common sense decisions around, broadly, sensible rules and algorithms and, even more important, leaders need to be ready to accept a few honest mistakes.

But if you have a timid culture where any mistake might embarrass the boss, and that is a mortal sin then, then having sensible system is very, very difficult.

Ah, but the old rule of it's your fault if your pay is wrong, not the Pay Clerk who may of made the mistake in the input still stands (as far as I know).  I do agree there are careerists have no balls and are too afraid to rock the boat and stuff welfare of those whom are subordinate to you.

My question, from a non-RMS vantage point, seems to be an easy, logical step that could alleviate many of the issues with releasing personnel and embarrassment of the organization when the sheets are so thickly covered in crap as they are with the retired Sgt of the story.  Perhaps the lumberjacks that work in the RMS forest need to take a step backwards and see the forest once again.   But as I am a non-SME, perhaps someone who is can poke all sorts of holes in my suggestion.  With the present MND/CDS, I am scratching my head why they've not asked for a simple solution like this as I am sure they're not pleased to see people left out to hang like this and also bring shame on the organization's good name.
I'm just like the CAF, I seem to have retention issues.

Offline kev994

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 09:26:28 »
Could they not give emergency pay advances? I believe that was being done with the Phoenix fiasco, sure it's at a lower rate but it's better than nothing

Offline c_canuk

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2017, 10:25:38 »
Speaking as a computer programmer/Analyst.

My training and first job was to take old paper based systems, determine what the result is supposed to be, map the processes and determine how to best apply the checks and balances to a digital system.

This is not being done. What is being done is some slick salesman sells someone high up a platform that's supposed to be all singing all dancing. Because the higher ups are not tech savy, they buy something absurd and not built for the task.

Then because they don't know what they are doing they cling to paper records which require old functions remain in the new system. They constantly try to add "features" to get their name on the project, and don't value critical components because they aren't the ones using it.

Then when implementation and testing are being done, they pressure for quick completion and roll out, because at this point their meddling has delayed the project 12 months. Because they can't see the actual value in testing and phased overlapping implementation when things are going well, they think it's not needed. Data migration is blocked, in progress tasks for the old system are cancelled and clients told to resubmit into the new.

So there you have it, inefficient absurd new program shoe horned onto a platform not suited for it, put into place the day after the old system is shut down. Clients are furious that tasks they've been working on for months are restarted, and half the new system is broken since it wasn't properly tested. See every major new software roll out the Government has made in the last 20 years from the gun registry to phoenix.

System upgrades and new software needs to be run by a central department that has the power to tell non technical managers to frig off. Until that happens, this will not change. This central department needs it's pay or bonuses tied to smooth transitions, not arbitrary dates and they must not be allowed to grow their mandate.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2017, 12:07:37 »
Quote
endured a botched surgery in the military system and, as a result, failed a physical fitness test by nine seconds. That triggered her medical release, which she fought unsuccessfully to prevent.

I'm guessing there is a bit more to the story here.
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Offline Brasidas

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 12:12:30 »
I'm guessing there is a bit more to the story here.

Not necessarily. When I went in for surgery for my service injuries, I was advised that I was probably facing medical release. Afterwards, I got told that part of it didn't go as well as hoped, but I did everything the surgeon and physio told me to do and my recovery went well. I was worried going into surgery through to my first FORCE test.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2017, 12:40:09 »
 
Not necessarily. When I went in for surgery for my service injuries, I was advised that I was probably facing medical release. Afterwards, I got told that part of it didn't go as well as hoped, but I did everything the surgeon and physio told me to do and my recovery went well. I was worried going into surgery through to my first FORCE test.

Also of note, The sergeant had cancer.  Having had a mother who survived two rounds of cancer treatment, you will be in no shape to do a fitness test.

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2017, 12:54:28 »
... What is being done is some slick salesman sells someone high up a platform that's supposed to be all singing all dancing ...
I'll just leave the attached right here, then  >:D
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2017, 15:14:08 »
Was she not afforded the opportunity to retake the FORCE test?
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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #15 on: February 10, 2017, 15:23:45 »
Speaking as a computer programmer/Analyst.

My training and first job was to take old paper based systems, determine what the result is supposed to be, map the processes and determine how to best apply the checks and balances to a digital system.

This is not being done. What is being done is some slick salesman sells someone high up a platform that's supposed to be all singing all dancing. Because the higher ups are not tech savy, they buy something absurd and not built for the task.

Then because they don't know what they are doing they cling to paper records which require old functions remain in the new system. They constantly try to add "features" to get their name on the project, and don't value critical components because they aren't the ones using it.

Then when implementation and testing are being done, they pressure for quick completion and roll out, because at this point their meddling has delayed the project 12 months. Because they can't see the actual value in testing and phased overlapping implementation when things are going well, they think it's not needed. Data migration is blocked, in progress tasks for the old system are cancelled and clients told to resubmit into the new.

So there you have it, inefficient absurd new program shoe horned onto a platform not suited for it, put into place the day after the old system is shut down. Clients are furious that tasks they've been working on for months are restarted, and half the new system is broken since it wasn't properly tested. See every major new software roll out the Government has made in the last 20 years from the gun registry to phoenix.

System upgrades and new software needs to be run by a central department that has the power to tell non technical managers to frig off. Until that happens, this will not change. This central department needs it's pay or bonuses tied to smooth transitions, not arbitrary dates and they must not be allowed to grow their mandate.

A central IT department like Shared Services Canada?  They are the second most disliked GoC dept after PWGSC (now known as PSPC) and have had just a bad or worse of a track record than the internal IT depts.

Offline c_canuk

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #16 on: February 10, 2017, 18:08:56 »
A central IT department like Shared Services Canada?  They are the second most disliked GoC dept after PWGSC (now known as PSPC) and have had just a bad or worse of a track record than the internal IT depts.

No, not a central IT Department. A Central new software department. This department would be responsible for only 2 things.

Assessing processes that no longer meet the needs of the Gov, and determining it's replacement.
Implementing that replacement in accordance with ITIL PM.


IE, manager of a dept decides HRMS is no longer effective for a list of reasons, they engage the central software authority, they dispatch an analyst team, who interviews the clients, users, and management what they expect from the solution.

They come up with a industry standard solution based on technical expertise. They launch a prototype and get user/client use beta testing.

once it meets the needs of the clients and users, data migration is performed.

Once ready for production they do a standard 6 months overlapping phase in where both systems are used. Double entries are phased out as the new system is proven effective.

If there is not drop in productivity or client satisfaction the team gets their bonus.

They move on to the next request from some other dept. They would be barred from providing support after the phase in, as it would become that Dept's responsibility.


SSC's is centralization of everything and control of everything in perpetuity. Centralization is cancer for organizations imo.

My theory is that as an entity grows larger it's bureaucratic overhead grows exponentially in both time required to get things done as well as in person power.

The idea that 2 or more groups doing the same job but in different AORs is "duplication of effort" needs to be beaten out of the military as well. It's only duplication of effort if they are doing the same job in the same AOR. otherwise it's DIVISION of effort. An important distinction.

You wouldn't consolidate all the trenches along the FEBA into one big trench co located with HQ because it would be ineffective for the same reasons SSC is ineffective.

To be effective and flexible you need interlocking arcs of fire and defence in depth. Centralization removes those things.
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
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Offline ArmyVern

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2017, 12:47:04 »
Could they not give emergency pay advances? I believe that was being done with the Phoenix fiasco, sure it's at a lower rate but it's better than nothing

Uhmmm no as we aren't the public servants who can stand at the gates holding signs stating, "Haunted by Phoenix" etc.

Perhaps if we were unionized the people who can actually effect real change would actually care. Until then we can't strike and we don't have a voting block in any number substantial enough for those that decide to care to pay anything but lip-service to the matter.
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Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2017, 12:59:23 »
No, not a central IT Department. A Central new software department. This department would be responsible for only 2 things.

[...]

I see what you mean; that's more of a pool of experts available to form a 'tiger team' for targeted projects.  That makes sense.

Sorry for dragging it off topic though, this situation is frustrating to hear about; can't imagine how bad it would be to go through.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2017, 16:30:41 »
Ultimately the issue isn't one of IT or complicated new processes (although they don't help), it is a combination of incentives (which Edward has alluded to upthread) and accountability.

Incentives for keeping quiet and not embarrassing the "boss" trump the incentives for trying to make the system work (what do you think really happens to whistleblowers?). Don't rock the boat, check all the boxes in the process to say "everything was done" (no matter how absurd or inefficient the process itself happens to be) and you're golden.

And if a vet (like my wife) isn't being paid, or is authorized to go back to school after a seven month merry-go round of calls (and after the course has been closed to new applicants) but no one gets reprimanded, fired or forced to make up the difference out of their pension account then they have no reason whatsoever to change, and won't. Even forcing them to go back to quill pens and parchment forms isn't going to fix things unless incentives and accountability change.
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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2017, 23:27:50 »
And if a vet (like my wife) isn't being paid, or is authorized to go back to school after a seven month merry-go round of calls (and after the course has been closed to new applicants) but no one gets reprimanded, fired or forced to make up the difference out of their pension account then they have no reason whatsoever to change, and won't. Even forcing them to go back to quill pens and parchment forms isn't going to fix things unless incentives and accountability change.

So will the SOP be "immediately go to the media" once the mbr is retired and is faced with this?  It'd work for the first few, but the MSM/public will stop caring soon afterwards.
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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2017, 09:32:51 »
So will the SOP be "immediately go to the media" once the mbr is retired and is faced with this?  It'd work for the first few, but the MSM/public will stop caring soon afterwards.

Exactly. Change the incentives and the accountability and then you will see long term changes.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Gronk

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2017, 18:51:26 »
Some very insightful comments here on a very concerning, and sadly all too common IMHO, story.

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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2017, 00:14:29 »
So will the SOP be "immediately go to the media" once the mbr is retired and is faced with this?  It'd work for the first few, but the MSM/public will stop caring soon afterwards.

There is no use, there's no real traction to pull in advertisement dollars. Maybe to toss a bone to a young Jimmy Olson, but there's no retail value to it.
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Re: Ex Soldier Evicted While Waiting For Pension and Benifits
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2017, 06:39:30 »
So will the SOP be "immediately go to the media" once the mbr is retired and is faced with this?  It'd work for the first few, but the MSM/public will stop caring soon afterwards.

Actually, this was an interesting bump for me because I went to the media when this happened to me two years ago and I was in month 8 of no benefits or pension.  I know of at least two others who did, none of us got a bite out of the media.  So seeing this story originally last month was a WTF moment for me.  Mind you, cancer survivor, kicked out for physical, and female likely checked a lot of media story idea boxes!
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