Government Asks for $581 Benefits Overpayment after Veteran’s Alleged Suicide

Only a few days after the funeral service of a Canadian veteran who allegedly committed suicide on Christmas Day, Veterans Affairs addressed her husband a letter alleging that the family must repay a portion of her monthly disability cheque. The letter printed on Jan. 9, i.e. a day after retired Cpl. Leona MacEachern’s husband publicly revealed that her death was in fact a suicide, extends its deepest condolences to the family along with a demand to repay $581.67.

While giving his comments in an email addressed to media outlets by Tom MacEachern, he called the letter nothing less than “a slap in the face.” In the email, he mentioned that “(I) didn’t know whether to laugh or cry…was breathless actually.” The letter from Veterans Affairs begins with: “we have recently been advised of the death of Mrs. MacEachern. Our most sincere sympathy is extended to you and your family at this time,” and also says that “Earnings Loss benefits paid under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act are payable up to the day of Mrs. MacEachern’s death. Therefore, an overpayment of $581.67 has been created for December 2013.” Moreover, the letter says that the family will be contacted by the “Overpayment Unit in the near future.”

However, in an effort to indemnify the letter, the office of Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino mentioned in a statement issued on Tuesday that the decision to collect the money has been reversed. It was stated that “Minister Fantino has directed the department to not collect any money from the estate or the family of Mrs. MacEachern,” and added that “he sends his deepest condolences to MacEachern family during this difficult time.”

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