Home Mental Health CAF veteran of Kuwait, Afghanistan awarded benefits for gastroesophageal reflux disease

CAF veteran of Kuwait, Afghanistan awarded benefits for gastroesophageal reflux disease

by HR Law Canada

A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces has been granted partial entitlement for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) by the Veterans Review and Appeal Board.

The decision, delivered by the Entitlement Review Panel, awarded one-fifth entitlement for service-related GERD in the Regular Force, retroactively effective from May 1, 2021.

The applicant contested a Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) decision from November 2021 that denied entitlement for GERD across her Reserve Force, Regular Force, and Special Duty service in Kuwait and Afghanistan. The ruling follows a July 2023 decision that granted four-fifths entitlement for GERD as a consequence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) under Section 46 of the Veterans Well-being Act.

The primary issue in this case was whether greater entitlement for GERD was warranted based on updated VAC policies. The Advocate argued that the Applicant’s condition, aggravated by the rigors of military service, should be evaluated under the more generous parameters of the updated policies.

Evidence presented included several instances where the Applicant’s GERD symptoms worsened under stress related to service. Medical records noted, “GERD worse with stress” and “GERD – symptoms are worse when she is stressed.”

Furthermore, a history of sexual harassment endured by the applicant significantly contributed to her condition, with documented incidents of vomiting before work due to anxiety.

Despite recognizing the aggravation of GERD by service-related stress, the Panel adhered to the most liberal interpretation of the legislation, awarding total entitlement for GERD based on the evidence provided.

The decision was formalized as follows:

  • Entitlement granted: One-fifth for Regular Force service, resulting in a total five-fifths entitlement.
  • Entitlement denied: For Reserve Force service and Special Duty service in Afghanistan and Kuwait.

The effective date for the awarded entitlement is retroactive to May 1, 2021, under Section 45 of the Veterans Well-being Act.

For more information, see 100005260608 (Re), 2024 CanLII 48245 (CA VRAB).

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