MonthFebruary 2016

Sun Life Military Benefits – FYI

Sometimes I wish my husband’s name was Pat… or Chris.

Every single move we arrive in the new location and after the boxes are put away and the house is turned into a home, I get to work on my list of calls. I learned long ago to make a list with all the names, account numbers and phone numbers of every credit card, every bank, and every utility company. This allows me to run down the page making the address changes as required – without having to search for each number. I laughed when we moved from Pet to Gagetown. The nice lady from the Kentucky call centre could never quite understood what I was saying.. “yes that is right,  we moved from P-E-T-A-W-A-W-A to O-R-O-M-O-C-T-O.

The thing that has always made me angry is when you are able to change your address but they insist on speaking with your husband to allow him to change his information. While I understand this in principal, it is a bit of a joke. If his name were Chris, I could easily answer all the security questions and move on. Or… If I asked my brother or a male friend to do it they would accept that. Really? Security? Keeping my information safe? I call B.S.

We have been doing this Army thing for 23 years. In that time my military family has moved a ton and my spouse has been gone for more than I care to remember. So… just handing the phone over to my husband is not always a possibility. Grrrr.

Sun Life
In the past 23 years I have been the person that has managed all the medical and dental claims. I have always found Sun Life to be incredibly unhelpful when I have needed to call them. They answer the phone curtly and with an immediate demand for your certificate number. (particularly striking a couple of years ago when I had to call the Apple Care Centre and then Sun Life)

Today I was trying to clean up the family desk (aka pig sty) and found glasses receipts for my son and myself. I was pretty sure that I had sent the claim in… almost positive. So I called the friendly folks at Sun Life just to be sure. After answering a litany of his security questions I finally got to my question. Could he tell me if I had put in a claim for glasses. He told me that he was only able to answer that question to my husband.

To my husband!!  My glasses!

To be fair, the Sun Life man was able to tell me when I was next eligible for glasses but he could not discuss the specifics of the claim with me. How is it possible that an organization that has members leaving at the drop of a hat will not release information to the member’s spouse! The one that likely manages all the family medical receipts… and how is it possible that this has not come up my past 23 years of dealing with these most customer-friendly folks.

I asked him if there was a form that my husband could fill out so that I could have access to this information. He told me that my husband could write a letter including the following: (this information is not available on their website)

1. Name, Policy and Certificate number. (serving member contract number is 055555)
2. What type of information is to be released:
a. coverage information
b. medical and dental plan (serving members use medical)
c. disability claims
d. other (specify)
3. Who the information may be released to.
4. The purposes of the release:
a. providing assistance in appeal and dispute of claims.
b. receiving ongoing claims information.
c. Obtaining more information on the individual’s behalf.
d. other (specify)
5. Signature

Send to: (Updated Address: Mar 22, 2017)
Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
PO Box 6192, STN CV
Montreal, QC
H3C 4R2 (613-247-5100) or (1-888-757-7427)

I still wish my husband’s name was Chris.

A Sad Day in Ottawa

Itomb-of-the-unknown-soldiert’s been a year.  One year from that tragic day in Ottawa. Although the fear of that day has passed the feeling of vulnerability hasn’t completely gone away.

On October 20, 2014, a supporter of ISIL deliberately targeted two Canadian soldiers in uniform in Quebec killing Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and injuring one other.

Two days later on October 22, 2014 another gunman shot and killed a uniformed Cpl Nathan Cirillo while he was guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the War Memorial in downtown Ottawa. The gunman then stormed Parliament before he was killed by security.

These two incidents came on the heels of an audio recording released by ISIS specifically targeting western nations including Canada. (Global News)  What made these difficult days for military families was the pandemonium, lack of information on the news as well as mis-information on the news. How many gunmen were there? Were they specifically targeting soldiers? Were our spouses at risk? What would happen tomorrow? As a culture we are pretty adept at weathering and coping with deployed spouses but this was different. This was at home.

Facebook helped.

Our local military spousal site proved to be a very useful resource on this day. The site is typically a positive environment where people posted to Ottawa gather to ask questions and meet new friends. On this day the buildings downtown were in lock-down while the authorities attempted to determine how many gunmen there were and who they were targeting. Many of our spouses wear their uniforms to work making them easy to identify.

Sharing of information proved invaluable. Some of the spouses on the site had husbands who had access to phones while others did not. All the while, the media spoke of multiple gunmen with unknown whereabouts. The people on our site rallied around each other and reassured each other with real information. Offers were made to pick up children from childcare as many of the spouses do not have family support and have only been in the community for a short time.

Cpl Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent

Cpl Nathan Cirillo and WO Patrice Vincent

That day was terrible. The loss of two young soldiers is tragic. Families are affected forever.  Many civilians were also affected by that day, as the downtown core turned into a ghost town while people waited. I can only imagine how the workers in the Parliament buildings managed to get through such a horrifying experience.

On October 22, 2015 a ceremony took place at the War Memorial in Ottawa. As we approach Remembrance Day, I am thinking of so many families on this one year anniversary, and thanking them for their sacrifice for their loved one’s service.


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