Feds falling short on promise to provide better case management to vets

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OTTAWA — The federal government is blaming a surprise increase in the number of veterans seeking assistance for its failure to make good on a key Liberal promise of ensuring enough case managers to help those in need.

While case managers help the most severely disabled veterans navigate the myriad applications and red tape needed to get services and benefits after they have left the military, there have long been complaints about large caseloads.

The Liberals promised to reduce the ratio of veterans to assigned to each case manager from a high of 40-1 under Stephen Harper’s Conservatives to 25-1 by hiring more staff.

Yet while newly released figures show a doubling in the number of Veterans Affairs case managers since 2015, the ratio has been stuck at around 32-1 for the past couple of years.

The government says adding more staff won’t be enough to keep up with demand.

So it’s starting to direct more veterans to online services and giving their files to other employees to monitor.