Review ordered of pension for veteran’s widow

  • No excuse: Carol Everson, of the Bermuda Legion (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Reports of unpaid war veteran benefits are to be investigated, a Government representative said last night.

The spokesman said that “the Ministry of Finance has undertaken a review of the claims”.

He added that a statement on the matter would be released today.

It comes after The Royal Gazette spoke with families who said they were owed money.

Kerrie Aubrey said that her family were owed $20,000 in unpaid benefits and had struggled to make ends.

Ms Aubrey, whose 86-year-old mother, Maureen, has spent the last month in hospital, said the family had been forced to pay interest only on the mortgage for their home.

She said that she believed the War Veterans Pensions Commission was “using any excuse to delay making payments”.

Ms Aubrey added: “This can’t go on. It used to work fine, but since March it got worse.”

Her mother is the widow of Elliot Aubrey, a Second World War veteran, who died in 2002.

Her family said she was entitled to $7,000 a month in pension and other benefits, but only a fraction had been received.

Another family, who asked not to be named, said that they often waited months before they received their benefits and that they had not received a payment for June.

An 82-year-old widow, who also asked not be named, said she was still owed a copay of $128 from a dermatologist’s appointment in March. She said: “Social insurance said they would pay it, but they have not. When I e-mail them, I don’t get a reply.

“Everything used to work like a dream, it seems that copay for a medical specialist is not getting paid.”

Her husband, also a veteran of the Second World War, died in 2013.

Carol Everson, a case worker for the Bermuda Legion, said that “a number of veterans’ families report delays of several months in receiving pensions”.

She added: “There is no excuse for pensions, which have been provided monthly for years, falling behind by several months, putting severe financial pressure on families and veterans.”

An increase in veterans’ pensions, from $800 a month up to $1,000, is set to take effect in October.

Parliament approved the pensions increase last month, with new benefits such as psychiatric services and visits to chiropodists added.