Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Disability (CAF LTD) benefit and the Canadian Armed Forces Vocational Rehabilitation Program (CAF VRP)
The following is an overview of the Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Disability (CAF LTD) benefit and the Canadian Armed Forces Vocational Rehabilitation Program (CAF VRP).
SISIP is an integral part of the CAF transition process. We work very closely with a variety of civilian and military agencies, groups and service partners in the development of viable opportunities, plans and support to help prepare members for release and an eventual return to gainful employment.
There are two components to SISIP Financial Services:
1. Financial Services; and
2. Insurance Services.
Financial Services oversees Financial Planning, Financial Counselling and Education Programs whereas;
Insurance Services oversees:
The administration and service delivery of insurance products for serving CAF members as well as retired members, including transferability options.
It also oversees coverage for Accidental Dismemberment for both Service and Non-Service Attributable injuries
The primary focus of this presentation will be on Insurance Services, under which you will also find the CAF LTD and CAF VRP that are both fully administered by Manulife.
The CAF LTD oversees the adjudication of LTD files, the setup of LTD benefits and the administration of Client medical reviews and;
The CAF VRP oversees services available to eligible CAF Members in areas such as: client evaluations, employment assistance and vocational retraining.
This slide shows an overview of time lines for accessing CAF VRP services as well as what services are available to Members as they go through the release process.
On average, transition from the time of injury and/or illness to the date of release can take more than two years. This provides valuable time to begin early planning and exploration regarding choices and decisions as they relate to vocational plans through the CAF VRP.
During this initial time frame, as a serving member, you will have access to our Counsellors who can help with any “what if scenarios”. They will provide general information on supports available through both the CAF LTD and the CAF VRP. Counsellors are available to discuss training plans or programs Members may be exploring, and review any other questions they may have regarding our services and supports.
Counsellors cannot approve funding for any program until such time as a file has been pre-approved for CAF LTD, which means your application and attending physicians statement has been received and processed so the referral to the CAF VRP can be completed. Regardless, our Counsellors are more than happy to have early conversations with you in order to help guide you on your vocational decision in preparation for your eventual release.
CAF LTD applications may be pre-approved before release and once pre-approved, it may be referred to the CAF VRP. Support for CAF VRP funding and allowances may be provided for approved programs up to six(6) months prior to the Members effective date of release.
This means, if your CAF VRP training program is approved and you have an approved CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members (VRPSM), you may attend a secondary institution or an unpaid full time or part time on the job training (OJT) with an employer of choice, up to six(6) months prior to your date of release, as a serving CAF member and be in receipt of your pay and benefits.
The CAF LTD benefit eligibility begins at the effective date of release and continues up to 24 months post the effective date of release, and possibly beyond age 65 should the Member meet the definition of Total Disability (TD) – (refer to slide 9 for the definition of TD).
It is important for the Member to ensure they do not delay submitting their application for CAF LTD benefits. It is recommended Members submit their application as soon as they receive their Disclosure from DCSA.
Members who reside in Canada will have access to provincial Health Care plans for the province in which they reside.
Upon release, access to medical support will depend on the number of years served. For example:
If you served more than 10 years, you will have automatic access to the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP).
If you served less than 10 years, you will need to apply to Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) for access to the VAC sponsored Public Service Health Care Plan. It is important to note that there is no dental coverage under this plan and there is a mandatory 60 day wait with no extended medical coverage.
For any injuries and illnesses approved through VAC, you are encouraged to contact VAC directly to discuss what services and supports that may be available to you.
The following is an overview of eligibility requirements for CAF LTD benefits.
For Regular Force Members:
Coverage is in place 24/7;
The injury does not have to be attributable to service and/or related to duty; and
The CAF LTD benefit is based on your salary at the time of release.
For Reserve Force Members, coverage is determined by the following:
Members on a Class A or Class B contract, less than 180 Days, the injury must while on duty;
Members on Class B contracts, more than 180 Days, or who are Class C, the coverage is in place 24/7 and the injury does not have to be attributable to duty; and
The CAF LTD benefit is based on salary and type of contract or Class at the date of release.
In order to access CAF LTD Benefits, CAF Members must ensure they provide the appropriate documentation.
Non Medical Releases:
Members being released for any reason other than medical (For example, Voluntary Release (Item 4A) or Services no longer required (Item 5F) may qualify for CAF LTD benefits as well as have access to supports through the CAF VRP.
Members must submit their application directly to SISIP within 120 days of their date of release.
The adjudication for non medical releases will be based on the definition of Total Disability (TD).
Medical Releases (Items 3A or 3B):
It is recommended Members submit their application at Disclosure, which is anywhere from 7 to 12 months in advance of the date of release.
The Member will have a Projected DOR provided with their Disclosure package which may adjust depending on circumstances. The Member will be required to provide a Projected DOR as a part of the application.
The CAF LTD Claims Department will require 3 key pieces of information to complete the review and approval of a file:
The Member’s Statement (APP)
The Attending Physician Statement (APS)
Confirmation, from DCSA through SISIP Ottawa , regarding the official Date of Release
It is very important to remember if a medical release is in progress, you are cautioned against choosing an early voluntary release. Electing an early voluntary release may negatively impact the supports available to you as the CAF LTD benefit is adjudicated based on the release item on file at the date of release. Even in cases where the release item is changed post release, the CAF LTD benefit approval is still based on the release item on file on the date of release.
If this situation applies to you as the listener, please discuss this with your CAF Case Manager or contact a member from our team to further review the implications this may have on your access to financial and program supports post release.
CAF LTD Period of Benefit eligibility is determined as per the following:
For a Medical Release:
Members are eligible to receive CAF LTD benefits for 24 consecutive months from their effective date of release.
During this period of eligibility, the CAF LTD Claims Department will conduct two medical reviews, 12 and 18 months after release. The paperwork for these reviews are to be completed by the Member’s Family Physician and/or Specialist.
CAF LTD benefits and supports through CAF VRP will continue beyond 24 months if the need exists and the Member meets the CAF LTD definition of Total Disability (TD).
Total Disability (TD) is determined based on education, training, experience and the medical condition at 24 months, which must be supported by providing required medical documentation to the CAF LTD Claims department.
CAF LTD and access to CAF VRP may go to age 65 should a need exist.
For all other categories of Release:
A file is initially adjudicated at the date of release based on the definition of Total Disability (TD).
The benefit in this category may also go to age 65 should a need exist.
The previous slide outlined CAF LTD benefit eligibility based on a definition of Total Disability (TD). In order for a Member to continue to receive CAF LTD benefits beyond 24 months, this is the definition they must meet:
The Member must “have been released from the CAF and there is clear and objective medical evidence, which confirms that [they] are incapacitated by a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which is preventing [them] from performing any and every duty of any substantially gainful occupation or employment for which [they] are qualified by education, training or experience.”
Here is an overview of the CAF LTD Benefit Income Amount:
For Regular Force Members the minimum income is equal to 75% of a Corporal’s salary. The CAF LTD benefit is calculated at 75% of gross pay at date of release with offsets for CFSA pension, CPP/QPP, taxes, and employment income.
For Reserve Force Members serving on Class A or Class B contracts, under 180 days, the benefit is calculated based on a deemed salary of $2,700 per month, with optional higher amounts available at the discretion and cost of the Member.
For Reserve Force Members on a Class B long term or Class C contract, the minimum income is equal to 75% of a Corporal’s salary. The CAF LTD benefit is calculated at 75% of monthly gross pay at the time of injury, with offsets similar to those for Regular Force Members.
When calculating post release income, it is important to keep in mind that CAF gross pay is pay before any offsets for Pension contributions, EI, CPP, Mess dues, etc. Since Pension Contributions, EI, CPP and Mess dues are not taken off the CAF LTD, 75% of gross pay translates to about 87% of net pay.
In all cases, Members may qualify for additional income support with VAC as determined by their processes and requirements.
The objective of the CAF Vocational Rehabilitation Program, or CAF VRP:
Is to help prepare Members for a return to employment post release. It is available to all Members who meet the eligibility requirements for CAF LTD benefits.
It can help by providing transition counseling, employment search assistance, and vocational retraining when required.
It is important for Members who are exploring options and putting vocational plans together to get their answers directly from the source and not rely on secondhand information. CAF VRP Counsellors are available to help explore available options, assist with future career exploration, help set goals and any vocational plans which may be required to achieve these goals.
Note: Confirmation of the date of release must be received prior to CAF VRP approval for program funding.
Here’s a visual as to why it’s important to speak with a CAF VRP Counsellor with respect to any plans you may be exploring for your upcoming release. CAF VRP Counsellors have the experience required to assist in making an informed decision. They know school programs and eligibility requirements and can often provide valuable insight with respect to the labor market in the region where you plan to reside after you release.
While you may see a straight line and a smooth path to your goal, in reality there may be avoidable roadblocks, twists and turns which a CAF VRP Counsellor can help you navigate or avoid altogether. It’s important to talk it through.
How much CAF VRP support time does a Member have? As discussed earlier, Members should submit their application at Disclosure, 7 to 9 months in advance of the date of release. Provided all documentation has been received, the CAF LTD file has been reviewed and approved, the file will be referred to the CAF VRP and Members may access CAF VRP financial support up to six(6) months prior to the effective date of release, which is the last day of paid CAF service.
CAF VRP support continues as long as the CAF LTD approval is in place.
What can Members expect regarding employment search assistance through the CAF VRP?
As part of the CAF VRP, Members have access to the Job Search Assistance Team (JST). The JST can help Members with resume writing and cover letters, as well as provide training on how to write their own resumes and cover letters. The JST can also help provide guidance and resume writing specific to accessing priority hiring. They can also provide coaching to Members regarding interview techniques, and provide monthly targeted employment leads.
Through the CAF VRP, Members may also have access to wage subsidies as an option to assist them in their transition to employment in the private sector.
It’s important for Members to consider all their options before locking in to one thing without exploring other possibilities. Again, speaking with a CAF VRP Counsellor can help Members as they explore the options and possibilities available to them as they prepare for their release.
What are the requirements for vocational support? In order for funding to be approved through the CAF VRP, there has to be a need for training.
The proposed plan has to make medical sense and not have any negative impact on the Member’s overall health and well-being.
When possible the training should build on existing skills.
Training under the CAF VRP is provided for only one program or direction. There may be exceptions to this, particularly in cases where two programs are linked closely together and wherein both are required as a condition of employment. An example of this might be a Member who is considering becoming a heavy equipment operator, and may also need a class 1 license as part of employment requirements.
Training must have realistic employment opportunities. It’s important for Members to consider where they will be residing after release, and whether the labor market in that area has realistic employment opportunities for the training which they plan to pursue. This is where a CAF VRP Counsellor can provide valuable feedback with respect to employment opportunities, employment statistics based on training program completion and emerging trends in both the public and private employment sectors.
In order for funding to be approved for a training program, the training must provide a License, Certificate, Diploma, or Degree from a recognized training institution or facility.
And last but not least, the training must give good value.
What is covered for funding through the CAF VRP? Support is provided on a case by case basis, as needed, for program funding, allowances and educational supports.
For program funding the CAF VRP will cover 100% of mandatory tuition and books for approved programs.
The CAF VRP will provide allowances to assist with items such as travel, internet and supplies. Under certain conditions, a dual residency allowance may also be available if the approved training program is not offered near the Member’s primary place of residence. Allowances to assist with child care may also be available, at a cost share of 50% of submitted receipts to a monthly maximum.
Under the CAF VRP, educational supports in terms of funding for tutoring may be provided if required, as well as funding for mandatory safety equipment as part of an approved training program. Interest-free loans may also be available should they be required for the purchase of technical equipment directly related to the approved training. Computers or the purchase of tools specific to training programs are examples of what might be supported.
Additional supports may also be available and can be evaluated on a case by case basis.
To finish up we’d like to leave you with these final thoughts.
First, there is life after the Canadian Armed Forces. While we recognize the unknown can be scary, rest assured there is a team of experienced CAF VRP Counsellors, knowledgeable agencies and Service Providers who are ready and available to help you as you transition to this next important phase.
Second, remember short-term decisions can have long-term consequences. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the subject matter experts who are ready and available to help you as you begin to explore your options.
Last, and most importantly, you are now your own career manager, accept the responsibility wisely. Make informed decisions which will set you up for long term success.
Don’t Forget - all CAF members with an approved CAF VRP remain a member of the CAF until your effective Date of Release. As such, you are still responsive to your respective Chain of Commands.
Thank you for your time and should you have any questions regarding the CAF VRP, we are located across Canada and can provide support in both official languages. On this slide, you will see our toll free numbers for our regions across Canada.
If your question is specific to the CAF LTD benefit, please contact our Claims Department at 1-(800)-565-0701 or you may also visit our web site at www.sisip.com.
Best of luck as you embark on your transition and we look forward to working with you.
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