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Disabled veteran dismayed Ottawa continuing court fight over benefits

Stephane Hebert, left, a 21-year veteran of the armed forces, leaves the courtroom at Federal Court in Halifax on Wednesday, February 24, 2016. Hebert, who was medically released from the military in 2007, and other veterans had a certification hearing on a proposed class action lawsuit against the federal government over long-term benefits related to PTSD.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese
February 24, 2016 - 11:30 AM

HALIFAX - A decorated veteran says he is dismayed he has to wage a legal fight to obtain disability benefits he says he and other former military members were wrongly denied by the federal government.

With the aid of a cane, Stephane Hebert walked into Federal Court in Halifax today as legal arguments got underway to certify the claim as a class action suit against National Defence.

Dan Wallace, the veterans' lawyer, says Ottawa led his client and others to believe they would not receive any payments based on calculations that takes salary and pensions into account.

But Wallace says an earlier court ruling in another matter involving veterans' benefits found the formula was flawed and should be overturned.

Because they were told they wouldn't receive the benefit, they didn't apply for it and were later told they had missed a 120-day deadline to apply.

He says most of the veterans who have come forward in this case suffer from PTSD, with some so severely disabled that they have not worked since being medically released from the Forces.

The Crown would not comment on the matter, but a Defence spokeswoman says the federal government will oppose certification of the lawsuit because it does not meet the test for a class case.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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