TRUDEAU’S CPP INCREASE FOR WIDOWS MUST BE AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE

 

TRUDEAU’S CPP INCREASE FOR WIDOWS MUST BE AN APRIL FOOL’S JOKE

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice – financialfairnessforsingles.ca).

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s CPP increase for widows must be an April Fool’s joke except it is not an April Fool’s day.

Justin Trudeau in one of his campaign promises has promised astounding 25 per cent increase to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) for widows or widowers and would receive up to $2,080 in additional benefits every year with the increased survivors’ benefits under the CPP and Quebec Pension Plan (QPP).

Trudeau said losing a partner is one of the hardest things to endure, and this added support will help during the period of grief.  “Seniors have built the Canada that we know and love today. And they deserve to enjoy their golden years to the fullest,” Trudeau said “Our parents have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to give us a good life,” Trudeau said.  “Once they get to retirement they shouldn’t have to worry about their savings running out.”

Apparently the only persons who experience grief and/or who have worked so hard  and therefore deserve more are the married and married parents.

Apparently this would take effect when person is widowed but at what age?  (Updated October 1, 2019)

WHO IS INCLUDED AND WHO IS NOT

Included:

Married seniors with and without children who have deceased spouses and can check off that magic box ‘widow’ on their income tax forms.

Excluded:

Singles never married, no children

Singles who have adopted or are parents of children (sometimes willingly or unwillingly through horrible circumstances)

Divorced/separated persons with and without children

Common law persons with and without children – are they considered to be ‘widowed’ or just common law?

MOST PENSIONS BENEFIT MARRIED THE MOST

At present time, the CPP plan already benefits married the most.  Singles who have worked for forty years while contributing to CPP can die at one day after the age of 65 and receive only the flat rate death benefit of $2,500.  This amount has been in place for many years, is not indexed for inflation and doesn’t begin to cover funeral costs.  Their entire lifetime CPP contributions except $2500 will be forfeited without any benefit to the estates of single persons.

Combined survivor and retirement pension at age 65 in 2019 already equals $1,154.28 for both widowed and singles.  Why does Trudeau believe widowed should receive more CPP benefits and have better lifestyles than singles?  After all widowed are now ‘single’ and should have to live the same frugal lifestyle of many singles.

Public and private service pensions are taxed, but both spouses will be able to pension split and maybe receive less OAS clawback while one spouse or both spouses are receiving pensions.  There also is the possibility of receiving multiple pensions – surviving spouse of the deceased employee will receive pension to which he/she has not contributed as an employee plus receive his/her own pension.  With 25 per cent survivor CPP increase this is just another example of compounding of benefits on top of benefits for the wealthy and the married, both in married and widowed state (regressive tax expenditures).

Elizabeth May, Green Party applauds social justice but has lobbied to repeal legislation that denies pension benefits to spouses who have married after the age of 60 or retirement even though these newly married spouses haven’t contributed one dollar to that pension plan.  Now as widowers they will also receive a whopping additional 25 percent CPP bonus at age 75 after being married for only 15 years or less.  (Many pension plans have this clause for newly married elderly persons in their pension policies).

CONCLUSION

Where is the critical thinking on the part of politicians? Do they really think all Canadians are stupid and can’t do the math?  Which political party should one vote for when they all are like ‘pigs at the trough’ making unrealistic vote getting promises that benefit wealthy and married the most and don’t include Market Basket Measure and declaration of assets in financial formulas?  Where are the Elizabeth Warrens’ of the Canadian political world who have financial formulas that provide social and financial justice for all, not just the wealthy and the married?

Only the married at the time of being widowed would ever get an astounding 25 per cent CPP widow pension increase.  The Canadian senior population is not made up of just married/widowed persons.

Reader opinion letters in newspapers on this subject are interesting to read.  They are mostly slam Trudeau or present a sense of entitlement by the married with no critical thinking of how the rest of the population will be affected..  For example, one of the few very comments about persons not able to benefit like LGTB couples, the comment was “a spouse is a spouse is a spouse”.  In other words, everyone who is not married be damned.

Trudeau, who touts gender equality, indigenous people rights, etc., has flagrantly financially discriminating on the basis of marital status.

Selective socialistic privileging of election promises like this one only lead to the rise of anger and rising populism.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice).

FINANCIAL REPRIEVE FOR INFANT DEATHS (MOTION 110) DISCRIMINATES AGAINST OTHER FAMILY DEATHS

FINANCIAL REPRIEVE FOR INFANT DEATHS ((MOTION 110) DISCRIMINATES AGAINST OTHER FAMILY DEATHS (updated April 29, 2018)

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

The original opinion letter of this blog post was published in local newspapers.  Because only a certain number of words can be published in newspapers, please note that the content of this blog post has been expanded to include additional information.

MOTION 110 – FINANCIAL REPRIEVE FOR INFANT DEATHS

A Federal Conservative MP has submitted to Parliament via Motion 110 (motion-110) a proposed financial reprieve for parents who lose infant to death, particularly SIDS.  The motion proposes investigation to ensure parents do not suffer undue financial or emotional hardship due to government programming design, particularly from Employment Insurance Parental Benefits.  He believes these families are affected by “bureaucratic oversight”.

PARENTS OF INFANT DEATHS SHOULD NOT RECEIVE FINANCIAL PRIVILEGING

How is revoking of parental benefits any different than revoking of senior death benefits?  If payment of benefits continues after month in which senior is deceased, these benefits have to be repaid.

Regarding bereavement leaves, why should parents of deceased infants receive more than what other families receive in bereavement processes?  If employed, most Canadians (if they are so lucky to have these benefits) receive up to one week of bereavement leave.  Continued difficulties with bereavement process are dealt with through sick leave, then short term and long term disability.  These same benefits are not available to those who are not employed at time of infant’s death.

Conservatives continually want to cut taxes but keep adding benefits.  Who is going to pay for yet another benefit that purposely privileges special interest groups, lobbyists, families and married or coupled households over singles and the poor?  Many government programs do harm due to design.  One example, if privileged benefits are given to parents of infant deaths, then same privileging should be given to estates of singles never married, no kids who die, including tragic deaths, before receiving Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) benefits.  In just ten years of employment with maximum $2,500 annual CPP contributions or $25,000, deceased single person’s estate will only receive a $2,500 death benefit.  Total of $22,500 contribution is forfeited to be used by the survivors of married or coupled households.  Imagine what the total might be for forty years of CPP contributions (?$90,000)!  Singles face righteous anger and despair because of financial discrimination and social injustice heaped on them when they are made invisible by “bureaucratic oversight”.

It should also be noted that Employment Insurance (EI) contributions at approximately a maximum of $850 for 2018 is also forfeited by singles if they never use EI during their lifetime of being employed.  These contributions are used by parents for EI Parental Benefits and those who use EI benefits multiple times during their employment lifetime.  For ten years of employment it is possible that singles will forfeit up to $8,500 and for forty years up to $34,000.

LOST DOLLARS LIST TO DATE

The above two examples of contributions forfeited by singles show that amount can equal up to $90,000 (CPP) plus $34,000 (EI) for a total of $124,000.  Our LOST DOLLARS LIST TO DATE already includes potential forfetting of EI dollars.  CPP dollars will be added to the list (lost-dollar-value-list) with potential lost dollar value for lifetime now totalling approximately $643,000.

In article “Income support rates in Alberta continue to soar” (social-assistance-rates) a stunning, almost unbelievable, statistic states that in January, (2018) 69 per cent of recipients were individuals, 23.5 per cent one-parent families, 4.9 per cent couples and 2.6 per cent couples without children.  The income support program helps those who do not have resources to meet their basic needs, including food, clothing and shelter.  NINETY TWO (92) PER CENT requiring income support were singles and lone parent families!

CONCLUSION

Government and social policies need to include singles in the definition of family.  It is time for families to realize that their children even when they become adult single children deserve the same financial inclusion as children during child rearing years.

Singles face financial discrimination every day when they have to forfeit their financial contributions (which are required by mandatory government policies) to married or coupled persons with and without children.  This can total not just hundreds or thousands, but hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Conservatives (and perpetuated by Liberals) continue to talk only about the middle class and implement policies and benefits that benefit the middle class and the wealthy most.  They also continue to talk about ‘family’. However, their definition of family doesn’t include singles or poor families.

Conservative ideologues and far right Christians like Stephen Harper (Canadian Conservative Prime Minister), Conservative 40 year rulers in Alberta, and Sean Hannity (staunch supporter of Trump, derider of Obama and owner of 20 shell companies containing approximately 870 housing units) continue to gaslight about helping families, but instead, make themselves even richer.

Politicians need to be held accountable for formulation of policies that privilege certain segments of society such as married or coupled households with and without children over singles and poor families.  Motion 110 is an abject example of financial discrimination based on the emotion of infant deaths over tragic deaths of other family members.  Changes in financial formulas should include review of how changes will affect all members of families, not just married or coupled households with and without children.

As one segment of society, singles do not deserve to pay more and get less than their married or coupled counterparts with and without children.

The death of an infant should not be financially treated any differently than deaths of other family members.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

‘GASLIGHTING’ (FINANCIAL) OF SINGLES, THE POOR, MILLENNIALS AND OTHER DISADVANTAGED PERSONS

‘GASLIGHTING’ (FINANCIAL) OF SINGLES, THE POOR, MILLENNIALS AND OTHER DISADVANTAGED PERSONS

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

This post addresses financial gaslighting which seeks especially to spread financial untruths about the disadvantaged such as singles, the poor and minorities.  Two articles at the end of this post give the history of gaslighting and how it affects society.

WHAT IS GASLIGHTING?

From Wikipedia ‘gaslighting’ is a form of manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, hoping to make them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying it attempts to destabilize the target and delegitimize the target’s belief.

GASLIGHTING OF THE DISADVANTAGED-EXAMPLES

Middle class definition – Middle class rhetoric says middle class are financially doing poorly, but rhetoric doesn’t include the poor.  Gaslighting occurs when the wealthy won’t admit they are rich.

Poor create their own poverty – Dr. Ben Carson, who grew up in poverty and Trump appointee as USA Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, has made statement that the poor create their own poverty.  This statement is so false, in fact poverty is created for them and they are forced deeper into poverty by decisions and policies of the wealthy, right leaning politicians and society in general.

Children are expensive – Real truth is housing is biggest lifetime expense, not children (at present time though things could change if housing prices drop significantly). Monthly $1000 rent over sixty year adult lifespan to age 80 equals $720,000 negative net worth, seventy year adult lifespan to age 90 equals $840,000, eighty year adult lifespan to age 100 equals $960,000.  Home purchases and child expenses occur only over twenty to twenty five years. While home purchasers may have child expenses they are also accumulating wealth, renters aren’t.

Even one right wing think tank, Fraser Institute, has published article describing why children basic costs are gaslighted and conflated by making them higher than they really are because poor budgeting principles are applied in establishing the costs.  They state cost of raising children per year only costs between $3,000 and $4,500 (cost-of-raising-children).   Statement from second article provides further explanation: (explaining-cost-raising-children)

“Families are generally left free to decide how to raise their children and how much to spend. And families at all income levels have successfully raised children and continue to do so. Most of us will know friends and colleagues who were raised in lower income families. The amount you spend on your child is not the measure of the quality of your parenting. It would be a shame if we discourage prospective parents by insisting that it costs $12,000 to $15,000 (or more) per year to raise a child.”

Singles are told it costs them less to live – Families and married or coupled households without children believe it costs them more to live, one major factor being they are uneducated in the financial realities of what it costs ever singles (never married, no kids) to live.  Gaslighting occurs when households believe married or coupled households have double the expenses and families with two adults and two children have four times the expenses.  However, Low Income Cutoff (LICO) (cost-of-living) and Market Basket Measure (MBN) show if single person is given a value of 1.0, expenses for married or coupled households are 1.4 and for two adult, two children households around 2.0 or 2.2.

Gaslighting of definition  of what family is – An example of singles not being included in family definition is a chart showing family unit description of five stages of family unit life cycle comprised of childhood, early adulthood, married and rearing of children, empty nest and senior stages.  It is disconcerting to note that this chart did not include ever singles (never married, no kids) in the family unit.  After the childhood and early adult stages, singles were not included and were, in fact, invisible in the family unit chart.  Financial gurus often talk about singles, when they really are talking about widowed persons resulting in ever singles being left out of the discussion and false financial advice being perpetuated.

Gaslighting of millennials and future generations – In present political situation future generations are in for a huge financial shock re paying for the financial excesses that have been given to previous generations.  Some of their parents will have been able to accumulate significant wealth in their homes and egregious benefits like Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) and pension splitting not paid for because insufficient tax has been collected to pay for this financial wealth.

Their parents say they want to leave something to their children, but children will be getting less because they will have to pay the taxes their parents didn’t pay.  An example is TFSAs. When one spouse is deceased TFSA will be transferred to surviving spouse with no taxes deducted. However, when TFSA is transferred to children as an inheritance taxes will be deducted, some at a very significant rate if TFSA amount  is substantial.

Square footage of housing for future generations is getting smaller and smaller. Millennials apparently are saying they don’t want live in the McMansions of their parents but it is unrealistic to think anyone will be happy living in 100 or 200 square foot apartments.  It is inhumane to stick anyone into housing that is the size of two jail cells.

Present political financial policies are ensuring benefits and tax loopholes are benefiting wealthy and married and coupled households more while pushing singles and poor households further towards poverty.

LESSONS LEARNED

Shea Emma Fett wrote in Everyday Feminism:

“I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that this- gaslighting- is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality”.

The financial gaslighting phenomenon appears to be a result of an ‘only me is important’ thinking and lack of critical and balanced thinking on how financial issues affect all segments of society, not just the middle class, married or coupled persons and families with children.  This financial dysfunction is perpetuated by political systems where vote getting appears to preserve the thinking that they are trying to ensure everyone is more financially equal while simultaneously preserving financial inequality.  Financial policies may appear to help low income persons, but same policies also make the rich even richer (Tax Free Savings Accounts).  Charity has become an ever increasing gaslighting method of helping the poor, but charity only masks poverty, it does not solve causes of poverty.

SIX REASONS WHY MARRIED/COUPLED PERSONS ABLE TO ACHIEVE MORE FINANCIAL WEALTH (POWER) (reasons).

TWO ARTICLES ON HISTORY AND MEANING OF GASLIGHTING

From Theater to Therapy to Twitter, the Eerie History of Gaslighting by Katy Waldman (history_of_gaslighting) – the following are excerpts from the article which gives a history and discussion of gaslighting.

‘In the 1938 play Gas Light a felonious man seeks to convince his wife that her mind is unraveling. When she notices that he’s dimmed the gaslights in the house, he tells her she is imagining things—they are as bright as they were before. The British play became a 1944 American film starring Ingrid Bergman as the heroine, Paula, and Charles Boyer as Gregory, her abusive, crazy-making husband.

A match struck; a metaphor flickered to life. Gas Light reminded viewers how uniquely terrifying it can be to mistrust the evidence of your senses. Flame made an evocative figure for Paula’s consciousness—her sense of self guttering when Gregory insisted she hadn’t seen what she saw.

Today to gaslight means to overwrite someone’s reality, to manipulate her into believing she’s imagining things…..Prototypical gaslighter. The term can attach to anything surreal enough to make you question your sanity, like the political news cycle, but gaslight arose from psychoanalytic literature, where it described a specific “transfer” of psychic conflicts from the perpetrator to the victim. In a 1981 article called “Some Clinical Consequences of Introjection: Gaslighting,” psychologist Edward Weinshel sketched out the dysfunctional dance: One person “externalizes and projects,” while the other “incorporates and assimilates.”…..Shea Emma Fett wrote on Everyday Feminism, “I believe that gaslighting is happening culturally and interpersonally on an unprecedented scale, and that this is the result of a societal framework where we pretend everyone is equal while trying simultaneously to preserve inequality.” Members of minority groups that face stereotypes about poor mental competence are seen as especially vulnerable.

Gaslighting identifies a real phenomenon: the way critics of a line of thought sometimes try to discount the perceptions of the person producing that thought. Gaslighting equals misdirection, distraction, and the deliberate denial of reality……Donald J. Trump is more than a flickering gaslight (or gasbag)—he’s the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Republicans are moths in his flame.’

The Economic Gaslighting of a Generation by Anastasia Bernoullli  (describes herself as an aging millennial) – following paragraph is a  excerpt of an excellent worthwhile to read article (the-economic-gaslighting-of-a-generation):

“We are acting like a nation, and a generation, that feels guilty over screw-ups we did not commit. I obviously support the idea that everybody should live within their means, pay their bills, and be generally responsible, but when you’re doing your best, and you still can’t make ends meet, despite working full time, that’s a society problem, not a you problem. We need to overcome the lifetime of financial gaslighting we have received. Honestly take a look at your spending, and see if you’re as stupid as you’ve been lead to believe you are. I think it will be eye opening.”

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

DECEASED CANADIAN SINGLE SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS FINANCIALLY WORTH LESS THAN DECEASED MARRIED SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS

DECEASED CANADIAN SINGLE SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS FINANCIALLY WORTH LESS THAN DECEASED MARRIED SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

Today is Remembrance Day.  Lest we forget, the story of Cecil Kinross in “The Whole story is a Tragedy” describes the bravery of a Canadian soldier. An excerpt taken from the story follows: (gave-him-a-medal-and-named-a-mountain-after-him-but-this-passchendaele-veterans-story-is-a-tragedy)

‘He volunteered to step forward when a Canadian Battalion was being shredded by German artillery and machine-gun fire.  With just a rifle and bayonet and a bandolier of extra ammunition strung across his chest, he launched a one-man, broad daylight charge across open ground against a German machine-gun nest.  He would kill six Germans, destroy the gun and continue fighting while being seriously wounded in the head and left arm.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross.  Even today, he is remembered for it.  Mt. Kinross  (Jasper, Alberta) is named after him as is Edmonton’s Kinross road.  After returning home he suffered from terrible headaches, likely had PTSD and struggled with alcohol.  He never married.’

Flash forward to 2017.  If Kinross had died from service-related death as outlined below in Death Benefit 2016, and if he was married his spouse and /or children would have received benefit.  As a deceased single soldier, parents would have received nothing and parents would likely have struggled through poverty stricken lives.  Families of deceased single soldiers are deemed to be worth less than spouse and/or children of deceased single soldiers.

We decided to reprint the blog post entered last November 12, 2016.  The additional media links at the end of the November 12, 2016 post have not been reproduced here. These can be reviewed by referring back to November 12, 2016 post. (deceased-canadian-single-soldiers)

ADDENDUM NOVEMBER 11, 2017

As stated in next paragraph it appears nothing has changed for payment of death benefit for single marital status deceased soldiers.

Death Benefit – As of January 1, 2016 (ombudsman-veterans)

The Death Benefit is a lump sum in the amount of $310,378.59 (January 1, 2016 rate) payable to the surviving spouse, common-law partner and/or dependent children in the case of service-related death that occurs within 30 days of a CAF member’s injury or illness. The benefit recognizes the impact the death of a service member has on the functioning of their immediate family, including the permanent loss of guidance, care and companionship.

Budget 2016 announced that the Death Benefit will be increased to $360,000 in 2017. The calculation of the payment will be done in the same manner as the Disability Award, described previously.

 

REPRINT OF NOVEMBER 12, 2016 BLOG POST

This post is about the financial discrimination faced by deceased singles.   Two cases outlined include Canadian single soldiers and deceased single 9/11 victims. The sources of news articles on which the deceased Canadian single soldiers information has been based are included at the end of this post.

FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF DECEASED CANADIAN SINGLE SOLDIERS

Several complaints on what was felt to be financial discrimination against deceased Canadian single soldiers were brought before Canadian federal human-right tribunals. It appears that these complaints have resulted in gross human rights violations based on marital status.  Some of the names of the deceased involved are Cpl. Matthew Dinning, Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, Pte. William Cushley, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, Trooper March Diab.

The death benefit in question was the $250,000 lump-sum death benefit to be given only to the families of married or common-law soldiers.  Revisions to the Veterans Charter were approved in 2005 so that when a married or common-law Canadian soldier is killed in action, the surviving spouse and children are eligible for a one-time, $250,000 lump-sum to help them with the costs of transitioning to civilian life. The cash is on top of whatever life insurance the deceased has (Supplementary Death Benefit-covers all Canadian Forces members at two years salary which goes to the person whom they designate-and Military Life Insurance which they can purchase through SISIP).

Under the old system, the federal government paid a supplementary death benefit, calculated at two times the member’s annual earnings.  The cash went to the spouse, or another designated beneficiary of the soldier. If there was no beneficiary, the money would go into the estate.

As of 2011 less than about half of the deceased soldiers in Afghanistan have been single.

The issues behind the complaints are outlined here.

  1. VIOLATION OF CANADIAN LAW AND CANADIAN REVENUE AGENCY (CRA) BY CHANGING MARITAL STATUS

The parents of Pte. William Cushley issued a complaint on why they did not receive same compensation as married or common-law deceased soldiers.  The final result of a federal human-rights tribunal rejected the complaint of Lincoln and Laurie Dinning for Cpl. Matthew Dinning because Veterans Affairs abruptly decided to recognize their son’s girlfriend of a couple of months as his common-law spouse, technically making him no longer single even though she had not lived with him for a year. (link to definitions of marital status).  “An eleventh hour offer by the Department to recognize Dinning’s girlfriend as a common-law spouse was no doubt done to try to quash the hopes of other families challenging the government on the discrimination related to this death benefit.” Definitions clearly state couples have to co-habitat for a year before declaring common-law status.

Veterans Affairs clearly violated the law by changing the marital status of the deceased single soldier from single to common-law spouse.

      2. DECEASED MARRIED SOLDIERS RECEIVE $250,000 DEATH PAYOUTS, BUT DECEASED SINGLE SOLDIERS DO NOT

As stated by one of the parents:  “You have four men killed in the same battle, three of them are paid $250,000, (but) William does not qualify because he is single. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

      3. DATE OF DEATH FELL OUTSIDE DATE OF APPROVAL

Relatives of Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, who died in a military vehicle accident in November, would be sharing a $250,000 tax-free payment specially authorized by cabinet to compensate for his death while on duty…..But records released under the Access to Information Act indicate Woodfield’s family was excluded from the cabinet order, which gave a total of $1 million to four other families grieving over military deaths. That’s because Canada’s new Veterans Charter, which for the first time provides a non-taxable $250,000 death benefit, was passed by Parliament on May 13, (2005)  last year but didn’t come into effect until April 1 (2006) this year. Deaths that occurred in the interim were not covered by the charter….  His death benefits were then denied because he was single.

       4. DECEASED SINGLE SOLDIERS DO NOT QUALIFY IF THEY DID NOT MEET DEFINITION OF ‘SURVIVOR’

“But Woodfield’s family will not get a red cent because under the Veterans Charter, only “survivors” can receive the $250,000 death benefit. And because survivors are defined only as dependent children, spouses or common-law partners, Woodfield – as a single man with no children – had no “survivors” to receive any cash.

Instead, the cabinet order provided the money to the surviving spouses, common-law partners and children of three men killed in Afghanistan, as well as to the two daughters of Warrant Officer Charles Sheppard, who died in a parachuting accident at Trenton, Ont., on Oct. 3, 2005.”

“Pte. Woodfield is not eligible because he does not have a survivor or any dependent children,” Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Pamela Price confirmed in an interview. Woodfield’s mother said the Veterans Charter policy should be changed to help the next-of-kin of unattached soldIers.

“In a sense, you felt that my son was less of a person, as a single person,”…..

The death benefit under the Veterans Charter is unusual because of its restriction to so-called “survivors,” since single soldiers with no children have long been unconditionally eligible for almost all other death benefits provided by the military.

For example, the Canadian Forces pays for the funerals and burials of all serving members killed on duty, as it did for Woodfield.

National Defence spokesman John Knoll said the Forces also pay supplementary death benefits – two years of salary, tax-free – to the estate of the member or to his or her designated beneficiary. The military will also provide severance pay to the estate or designated beneficiary, seven days’ pay for each year of service.

And any pension entitlements that had been accrued by deceased members go to a designated beneficiary or the estate if there is no spouse, common-law partner or children, he said.”

     5. VETERAN AFFAIRS ARGUES THAT THIS DEATH BENEFIT IS NOT LIFE INSURANCE AND IS SPECIFICALLY TARGETED TO HELP FAMILIES AFTER SOLDIER’S DEATH AS SPOUSE OR PARENT

Veterans Affairs has argued that the death benefit is not life insurance and the payout is specifically targeted at families to help them transition to civilian life. Lawyers for the department, in written submissions, have said the federal government isn’t obliged to pay compensation in every circumstance.

Other comments from news articles:

“Lincoln Dinning, Matthew’s father, said he would never have filed the human rights complaint, which alleged the government discriminated against single soldiers, had there been a spouse in the picture at the outset”.

“Single soldiers can choose to take out life insurance and make payable, for example, to his or her parents or estate. That kind of insurance can only be obtained through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability, a government-directed insurance program for the Canadian Forces.  But the Royal Canadian Legion, representing 340,000 members across the country, said the one-time death benefit is clearly meant to cover pain and suffering, noneconomic loss, which is covered other benefit packages”.

“Errol Mendes of the University of Ottawa says it’s clearly established in law that discrimination based on marital status violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and he wonders why Veterans Affairs still supports the practice.  “There is a compelling case on the part of single soldiers,” Prof. Mendes said yesterday. “Whether or not there is a legal case, there is a huge moral, social, ethical and political reason why the government should be covering this.”

Reader comment-”The stated purpose is to help transition the soldier’s immediate family from a military life to a civilian life, due to the loss of income, housing, support network etc. It is not meant to recognize their sacrifice through a financial payout. That being said, if a single soldier has elderly/infirm parents or siblings that he/she is legally responsible for, the money should be paid out in those instances. And hopefully the member made arrangements beforehand in case this happens (setting up trusts etc.).”

Reader comment-Another aspect that cannot be ignored are these scenarios:  “If a single soldier is gravely injured, and an application is subsequently made on their behalf for the Disability Benefit, and they then die more than 30 days later, then the Disability Benefit would be issued to the estate at a rate of 100% disability.  If a single soldier is killed instantly, then no Death Benefit is issued, period.  A 100% Disability Benefit is exactly the same amount as the Death Benefit, but only one of these scenarios generates a benefit – dependent upon when the veteran dies.  Doesn’t sound quite so equal.  I can see why there are arguments that the Death Benefit should be paid to the Estate, not to the survivor.”

Other documents, dated after the charter’s implementation, showed veterans groups were concerned about the exclusion of single soldiers from the payment, but Veterans Affairs placated them by saying it was prepared to “explore any gaps or omissions” and to “make changes to the (New Veterans Charter) to the extent possible.”

Comments from Veteran Affairs Canada -“Although other family members, such as parents, also suffer from the loss due to the sudden death of the Canadian Forces member, they do not face the same financial impacts as the spouse/common-law partner and/or dependent children of the Canadian Forces member,” Janice Summerby, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Canada, said in an email statement to the Star.

Summerby added that single soldiers can choose to take out life insurance and make payable, for example, to his or her parents or estate. That kind of insurance can only be obtained through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability, a government-directed insurance program for the Canadian Forces.  But the Royal Canadian Legion, representing 340,000 members across the country, said the one-time death benefit is clearly meant to cover pain and suffering, not economic loss, which is covered other benefit packages.

“It is one of the deficiencies that we identified in the new Veterans’ Charter . . . that it is a discriminatory practice that married members receive a death benefit but single members don’t receive a death benefit. The Legion believes that all Canadian forces members killed (in the line of duty) … be granted a death benefit,” Andrea Siew, of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, told the Star.

Siew said the death benefit is not about financial compensation for the loss of income, “it is an award payment for the non-economic loss associated with pain and suffering. It is very clear in the legislation it’s about that.”

FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF 9/11 SINGLE VICTIMS

From “What Is the Life of a Single Person Worth?” from ‘Singled Out, How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After’ by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2006,  page 228 (SingledOutHIGHLIGHTS)

“After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government created a  fund to compensate the families of the victims.  Compensation was calculated separately for each victim, based in part on projected lifetime earnings and other sources of money. In addition, each family was was paid a standard $250,000 for pain and suffering.  The final component was an extra $50,000 for spouses and for each child.  According to these calculations, the lives of single victims are automatically worth less than those of married victims.  The $50,000 that would go to a married victim’s spouse would not go to any living person who cared about the victim who was single.

The Victim Compensation Fund declared in cold, hard numbers that in contemporary American society, the life of a single person is worth less than the life of someone who is married.  That’s only one of the reasons I find it interesting.  The fund also makes another set of values unusually clear.  A relationship with a spouse is considered worthier than any other adult relationship, including even ties to parents or siblings.  Said the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, “When they did this formula, why didn’t they consider the parents?  My daughter-in-law was married for five years.  We had Jonathan for 35 years”

The person in charge of the excruciating task of assigning a dollar value to victims’ lives, attorney Kenneth Feinberg, had second thoughts about the matter after the job was completed.  In the book he wrote about his experiences, he concludes that if Congress ever decides to create such a fund again, all victims should be valued equally”.

CONCLUSION:

From examination of these two cases, it is apparent that even in this era of enlightenment where discrimination is supposed to be recognized and eliminated, financial discrimination of singles is as rampant as it ever was decades ago.

Observations include the following:

  • Financial discrimination of singles continues even when they are deceased.  The financial lives of deceased singles are viewed to be worth less than married or common-law deceased persons.
  • Blatant manipulation of marital status done by Veteran Affairs just to avoid legal ramifications is a violation of the law and human rights of singles.
  • There is a clear legal process to follow in the distribution of financial assets of singles and married or common-law families.  For singles, distribution is determined by wills and estates; for married or common-law families, distribution is determined by spousal and child dependents first, then parents and siblings in accordance with wills, estate and pre-nuptial agreements, so why would Veterans Affairs try to usurp this legal process?
  • In the 9/11 victims article, the following statement is in the eye of the beholder and can be viewed from different angles:  Said the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, “When they did this formula, why didn’t they consider the parents?  My daughter-in-law was married for five years.  We had Jonathan for 35 years.”  First, when children marry, the proper thing for parents to do is to give up their parental rights and allow their children to become their own family units with their own rights, so why should parents feel they are entitled to victim’s benefits over the spouse and children dependents of the victim? Second, as stated above there is a clear legal process for determining who will receive benefits.  Spouses and children take first priority followed by parents and siblings further down if spouse and children are all deceased as determined by law.
  • Kenneth Feinberg, had second thoughts about the matter after the 9/11 job was completed and concluded that if Congress ever decides to create such a fund again, all victims should be valued equally.  (Just a little too late, don’t you think)!
  • It should be very clear how important wills are to prevent possible infighting that can occur over death benefits.
  • All deceased persons deserve the same death benefits regardless of marital status.

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

DECEASED CANADIAN SINGLE SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS FINANCIALLY WORTH LESS THAN DECEASED MARRIED SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS

DECEASED CANADIAN SINGLE SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS FINANCIALLY WORTH LESS THAN DECEASED MARRIED SOLDIERS AND 9/11 VICTIMS

(These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author about financial fairness and discrimination and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)

(singles-need-to-learn-how-to-articulate-financial-discrimination-of-singles)

This post is about the financial discrimination faced by deceased singles.   Two cases outlined include Canadian single soldiers and deceased single 9/11 victims.  The sources of news articles on which the deceased Canadian single soldiers information has been based are included at the end of this post.

FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF DECEASED CANADIAN SINGLE SOLDIERS

Several complaints on what was felt to be financial discrimination against deceased Canadian single soldiers were brought before Canadian federal human-right tribunals.  It appears that these complaints have resulted in gross human rights violations based on marital status.  Some of the names of the deceased involved are Cpl. Matthew Dinning, Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, Pte. William Cushley, Trooper Jack Bouthillier, Trooper March Diab.

The death benefit in question was the $250,000 lump-sum death benefit to be given only to the families of married or common-law soldiers.  Revisions to the Veterans Charter were approved in 2005 so that when a married or common-law Canadian soldier is killed in action, the surviving spouse and children are eligible for a one-time, $250,000 lump-sum to help them with the costs of transitioning to civilian life. The cash is on top of whatever life insurance the deceased has (Supplementary Death Benefit-covers all Canadian Forces members at two years salary which goes to the person whom they designate-and Military Life Insurance which they can purchase through SISIP).

Under the old system, the federal government paid a supplementary death benefit, calculated at two times the member’s annual earnings.  The cash went to the spouse, or another designated beneficiary of the soldier. If there was no beneficiary, the money would go into the estate.

As of 2011 less than about half of the deceased soldiers in Afghanistan have been single.

The issues behind the complaints are outlined here.

  1. VIOLATION OF CANADIAN LAW AND CANADIAN REVENUE AGENCY (CRA) BY CHANGING MARITAL STATUS

The parents of Pte. William Cushley issued a complaint on why they did not receive same compensation as married or common-law deceased soldiers.  The final result of a federal human-rights tribunal rejected the complaint of Lincoln and Laurie Dinning for Cpl. Matthew Dinning because Veterans Affairs abruptly decided to recognize their son’s girlfriend of a couple of months as his common-law spouse, technically making him no longer single even though she had not lived with him for a year (marital-status).  “An eleventh hour offer by the Department to recognize Dinning’s girlfriend as a common-law spouse was no doubt done to try to quash the hopes of other families challenging the government on the discrimination related to this death benefit.” Definitions clearly state couples have to co-habitat for a year before declaring common-law status.

Veterans Affairs clearly violated the law by changing the marital status of the deceased single soldier from single to common-law spouse.

2.  DECEASED MARRIED SOLDIERS RECEIVE $250,000 DEATH PAYOUTS, BUT DECEASED SINGLE SOLDIERS DO NOT

As stated by one of the parents:  “You have four men killed in the same battle, three of them are paid $250,000, (but) William does not qualify because he is single. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

3.  DATE OF DEATH FELL OUTSIDE DATE OF APPROVAL

Relatives of Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, who died in a military vehicle accident in November, would be sharing a $250,000 tax-free payment specially authorized by cabinet to compensate for his death while on duty…..But records released under the Access to Information Act indicate Woodfield’s family was excluded from the cabinet order, which gave a total of $1 million to four other families grieving over military deaths. That’s because Canada’s new Veterans Charter, which for the first time provides a non-taxable $250,000 death benefit, was passed by Parliament on May 13, (2005)  last year but didn’t come into effect until April 1 (2006) this year. Deaths that occurred in the interim were not covered by the charter….  His death benefits were then denied because he was single.

4.  DECEASED SINGLE SOLDIERS DO NOT QUALIFY IF THEY DID NOT MEET DEFINITION OF ‘SURVIVOR’

“But Woodfield’s family will not get a red cent because under the Veterans Charter, only “survivors” can receive the $250,000 death benefit. And because survivors are defined only as dependent children, spouses or common-law partners, Woodfield – as a single man with no children – had no “survivors” to receive any cash.

Instead, the cabinet order provided the money to the surviving spouses, common-law partners and children of three men killed in Afghanistan, as well as to the two daughters of Warrant Officer Charles Sheppard, who died in a parachuting accident at Trenton, Ont., on Oct. 3, 2005.”

“Pte. Woodfield is not eligible because he does not have a survivor or any dependent children,” Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Pamela Price confirmed in an interview. Woodfield’s mother said the Veterans Charter policy should be changed to help the next-of-kin of unattached soldIers.

“In a sense, you felt that my son was less of a person, as a single person,”…..

The death benefit under the Veterans Charter is unusual because of its restriction to so-called “survivors,” since single soldiers with no children have long been unconditionally eligible for almost all other death benefits provided by the military.

For example, the Canadian Forces pays for the funerals and burials of all serving members killed on duty, as it did for Woodfield.

National Defence spokesman John Knoll said the Forces also pay supplementary death benefits – two years of salary, tax-free – to the estate of the member or to his or her designated beneficiary. The military will also provide severance pay to the estate or designated beneficiary, seven days’ pay for each year of service.

And any pension entitlements that had been accrued by deceased members go to a designated beneficiary or the estate if there is no spouse, common-law partner or children, he said.”

5.  VETERAN AFFAIRS ARGUES THAT THIS DEATH BENEFIT IS NOT LIFE INSURANCE AND IS SPECIFICALLY TARGETED TO HELP FAMILIES AFTER SOLDIER’S DEATH AS SPOUSE OR PARENT

Veterans Affairs has argued that the death benefit is not life insurance and the payout is specifically targeted at families to help them transition to civilian life. Lawyers for the department, in written submissions, have said the federal government isn’t obliged to pay compensation in every circumstance.

Other comments from news articles:  “Lincoln Dinning, Matthew’s father, said he would never have filed the human rights complaint, which alleged the government discriminated against single soldiers, had there been a spouse in the picture at the outset”.

“Single soldiers can choose to take out life insurance and make payable, for example, to his or her parents or estate. That kind of insurance can only be obtained through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability, a government-directed insurance program for the Canadian Forces.  But the Royal Canadian Legion, representing 340,000 members across the country, said the one-time death benefit is clearly meant to cover pain and suffering, not economic loss, which is covered other benefit packages”.

“Errol Mendes of the University of Ottawa says it’s clearly established in law that discrimination based on marital status violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and he wonders why Veterans Affairs still supports the practice.  “There is a compelling case on the part of single soldiers,” Prof. Mendes said yesterday. “Whether or not there is a legal case, there is a huge moral, social, ethical and political reason why the government should be covering this.”

Reader comment-”The stated purpose is to help transition the soldier’s immediate family from a military life to a civilian life, due to the loss of income, housing, support network etc. It is not meant to recognize their sacrifice through a financial payout. That being said, if a single soldier has elderly/infirm parents or siblings that he/she is legally responsible for, the money should be paid out in those instances. And hopefully the member made arrangements beforehand in case this happens (setting up trusts etc.).”

Reader comment-Another aspect that cannot be ignored are these scenarios:  “If a single soldier is gravely injured, and an application is subsequently made on their behalf for the Disability Benefit, and they then die more than 30 days later, then the Disability Benefit would be issued to the estate at a rate of 100% disability.  If a single soldier is killed instantly, then no Death Benefit is issued, period.  A 100% Disability Benefit is exactly the same amount as the Death Benefit, but only one of these scenarios generates a benefit – dependent upon when the veteran dies.  Doesn’t sound quite so equal.  I can see why there are arguments that the Death Benefit should be paid to the Estate, not to the survivor.”

Other documents dated after the charter’s implementation, showed veterans groups were concerned about the exclusion of single soldiers from the payment, but Veterans Affairs placated them by saying it was prepared to “explore any gaps or omissions” and to “make changes to the (New Veterans Charter) to the extent possible.”

Comments from Veteran Affairs Canada -“Although other family members, such as parents, also suffer from the loss due to the sudden death of the Canadian Forces member, they do not face the same financial impacts as the spouse/common-law partner and/or dependent children of the Canadian Forces member,” Janice Summerby, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Canada, said in an email statement to the Star.

Summerby added that single soldiers can choose to take out life insurance and make payable, for example, to his or her parents or estate. That kind of insurance can only be obtained through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) Long Term Disability, a government-directed insurance program for the Canadian Forces.  But the Royal Canadian Legion, representing 340,000 members across the country, said the one-time death benefit is clearly meant to cover pain and suffering, not economic loss, which is covered other benefit packages.

“It is one of the deficiencies that we identified in the new Veterans’ Charter . . . that it is a discriminatory practice that married members receive a death benefit but single members don’t receive a death benefit. The Legion believes that all Canadian forces members killed (in the line of duty) … be granted a death benefit,” Andrea Siew, of the Royal Canadian Legion in Ottawa, told the Star.

Siew said the death benefit is not about financial compensation for the loss of income, “it is an award payment for the non-economic loss associated with pain and suffering. It is very clear in the legislation it’s about that.”

FINANCIAL DISCRIMINATION OF 9/11 SINGLE VICTIMS

“What Is the Life of a Single Person Worth?” from ‘Singled Out, How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After’ by Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., St. Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2006,  page 228 (singlism).

“After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. government created a  fund to compensate the families of the victims.  Compensation was calculated separately for each victim, based in part on projected lifetime earnings and other sources of money.  In addition, each family was paid a standard $250,000 for pain and suffering.  The final component was an extra $50,000 for spouses and for each child.  According to these calculations, the lives of single victims are automatically worth less than those of married victims.  The $50,000 that would go to a married victim’s spouse would not go to any living person who cared about the victim who was single.

The Victim Compensation Fund declared in cold, hard numbers that in contemporary American society, the life of a single person is worth less than the life of someone who is married.  That’s only one of the reasons I find it interesting.  The fund also makes another set of values unusually clear.  A relationship with a spouse is considered worthier than any other adult relationship, including even ties to parents or siblings.  Said the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, “When they did this formula, why didn’t they consider the parents?  My daughter-in-law was married for five years.  We had Jonathan for 35 years”

The person in charge of the excruciating task of assigning a dollar value to victims’ lives, attorney Kenneth Feinberg, had second thoughts about the matter after the job was completed.  In the book he wrote about his experiences, he concludes that if Congress ever decides to create such a fund again, all victims should be valued equally”.

CONCLUSION:

From examination of these two cases, it is apparent that even in this era of enlightenment where discrimination is supposed to be recognized and eliminated, financial discrimination of singles is as rampant as it ever was decades ago.

Observations include the following:

  • Financial discrimination of singles continues even when they are deceased.  The financial lives of deceased singles are viewed to be worth less than married or common-law deceased persons.
  • Blatant manipulation of marital status done by Veteran Affairs just to avoid legal ramifications is a violation of the law and human rights of singles.
  • There is a clear legal process to follow in the distribution of financial assets of singles and married or common-law families.  For singles, distribution is determined by wills and estates; for married or common-law families, distribution is determined by spousal and child dependents first, then parents and siblings in accordance with wills, estate and pre-nuptial agreements, so why would Veterans Affairs try to usurp this legal process?
  • In the 9/11 victims article, the following statement is in the eye of the beholder and can be viewed from different angles:  Said the mother of one of the 9/11 victims, “When they did this formula, why didn’t they consider the parents?  My daughter-in-law was married for five years.  We had Jonathan for 35 years.”  First, when children marry, the proper thing for parents to do is to give up their parental rights and allow their children to become their own family units with their own rights, so why should parents feel they are entitled to victim’s benefits over the spouse and children dependents of the victim? Second, as stated above there is a clear legal process for determining who will receive benefits.  Spouses and children take first priority followed by parents and siblings further down if spouse and children are all deceased as determined by law.
  • Kenneth Feinberg, had second thoughts about the matter after the 9/11 job was completed and concluded that if Congress ever decides to create such a fund again, all victims should be valued equally.  (Just a little too late, don’t you think)!
  • It should be very clear how important wills are to prevent possible infighting that can occur over death benefits.
  • All deceased persons deserve the same death benefits regardless of marital status.

MEDIA ARTICLES

Denying death payment to single soldiers’ families discriminatory, family claims from The Canadian Press-The News June 6, 2010 (Denying-death-payment-to-single-soldiers)

‘Family of Canadian Soldier in Afghanistan not getting death  benefit after all’ From Canadian Content at 15:26 on June 18, 2006, EST. By DEAN BEEBY (soldier-family)

Single soldier’s parents denied compensation for his death, The globe and mail, by Dean Beeby,  June 19, 2006 (single-soldiers-parents-denied-compensation-for-his-death)

Extending benefits to families of single soldiers would cost $3M, the Canadian Press, March 20, 2011(extending-benefits-to-families-of-single-soldiers-would-cost-3m)

‘Families of single soldiers say death benefit unfair’, CBC News, The Canadian Press, Dec. 1, 2011 (cbc.ca/news)

Parents of fallen soldiers fight for benefits by Kris Sims, Atlantic Bureau, December 1, 2011 (parents-of-fallen-soldiers-fight-for-benefits)

‘Investigation needed into government treatment of veteran’s families fighting for death benefit’ , NDP website, December 1, 2011 (ndp.ca/news)

‘Family fights for soldier’s death benefit’ by Cathy Dobson, Sarnia Observer, December 3, 2011 (family-fights-for-soldiers-death-benefit)

‘No equality’ in not paying death benefit to single soldiers, says father’ by Richard J. Brennan, National Affairs Writer, Dec. 19, 2011 (thestar)

The Death Benefit for Single Members Merged Thread (p. 33 and 44 of 47) Pages: << < (33/47) > >>

(This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles.  It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.)