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December 17th, 2021

NDP MP introduces bill to eliminate discriminatory rule for spouses of veterans

OTTAWA – NDP critic for veterans, Rachel Blaney, has introduced a proposal to eliminate the century-old ‘marriage after 60’ clause, also known as the ‘gold-digger clause,’ which makes spouses who married veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP after the age of 60 ineligible to receive survivor pensions.

“If we eliminate this clause, people who find love when they are older will know that their spouse will be taken care of just like any other married couple,” said Blaney. “The Liberals promised to eliminate the clause when they became government in 2015. Instead of doing what they said they would do, in 2019 they created the Veterans Survivors Fund which has yet to benefit a single veteran or their survivors. It’s pretty clear to veterans and that this government isn’t interested in making sure their loved ones have security.”

The Armed Forces Pensioner/Annuitants’ Association of Canada (AFP/AAC), the National Council of Veterans Associations, and the Royal Canadian Legion have called for the removal of the clause.

A 50 per cent clawback on their current pension payout was made available to veterans who marry after the age of 60 to provide for their spouse after their death. Often, the clawback has meant that the veteran and their spouse must live on only $1000 per month.

“Veterans are forced to get by on very little just so they can put some money aside for their spouse after they are gone. This ridiculous clause is pushing our veterans into poverty,” said Blaney. “Veterans who find love in their later years should not be punished for it, nor should their partners, the majority of whom are women. It’s sexist and archaic and must be eliminated.”

Blaney has spoken on the issue in the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, in Question Period, and recently introduced a petition in the House calling for an end to the clause.