Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) benefits and services

References

Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act (CFMVRCA), Pension Act, Veterans Health Care Regulations (VHCR), Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act, DAOD 5018-2, CFAO 24-6

Purpose

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Members, Veterans their survivors and/or dependent children may be eligible for benefits and services administered by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).

Eligibility

Eligibility for benefits and services vary. Specific requirements for entitlement are in the details section that follow.

Details

Career Transition Services

VAC's Career Transition Services (CTS) is available to eligible CAF Veterans, survivors of CAF personnel and survivors of CAF Veterans who do not have health problems but require assistance in making the transition to the civilian labour force. It provides a lifetime maximum of $1000 including taxes to eligible participants for payment or reimbursement of CTS expenses. CTS includes career counselling, job-search training and job-finding assistance. The CTS program offers eligible individuals flexibility and choice in selecting the career transition service provider which best suits their specific career needs.

Rehabilitation Program

The VAC Rehabilitation Program is designed to support modern-day Veterans who are transitioning to civilian life. Through this Program, Veterans have access to rehabilitation services, as part of an individualized plan that can help restore their ability to function in their home, community and workplace by addressing health problems and resulting barriers to re-establishment.

Based on need, the VAC Case Manager, health care and other professionals will work with the Veteran to stabilize and improve his/her health and overall functioning to the fullest extent possible.

Rehabilitation or vocational assistance services may be available to medically-releasing CAF members (with specific provisions for the Reserve Force), former members with health problem(s) resulting primarily from service and which are creating a barrier to re-establishment, and certain survivors and spouses/common-law partners.

The VAC Rehabilitation Program includes Medical, Psycho-social and Vocational Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance services.

  • Medical Rehabilitation – includes any physical or psychological treatment whose object is to stabilize and restore the basic physical and psychological functions of a person
  • Psycho-social Rehabilitation - includes any psychological or social intervention whose object is to restore a person to a state of independent functioning and to facilitate their social adjustment
  • Vocational Rehabilitation - includes any process designed to identify and achieve an appropriate occupational goal for a person with a physical or a mental health problem,
    given their state of health and the extent of their education, skills and experience
  • Vocational Assistance – includes employability assessments, career counselling, training, job-search and job-finding assistance whose object is to help a person find appropriate employment.

Services are provided through a network of local medical and psycho-social rehabilitation providers and a national vocational rehabilitation provider.

Financial Benefits Program

CAF Veterans approved for the Rehabilitation services and Vocational Assistance Program may also have access to the Financial Benefits Program as follows:

  • Earnings Loss Benefit – Earnings Loss (EL) is a taxable, monthly benefit payable to Veterans who are approved for VAC's Rehabilitation Program and for survivors and dependent children in recognition of the economic impact a career ending and/or service related disability has on a Veteran's ability to earn income following release from the CAF. Amounts payable are equal to the greater of 75% of a member's salary at release or 75% of the salary of a basic corporal at the time the earnings loss benefit is payable, minus income from other sources.
  • Supplementary Retirement Benefit – The Supplementary Retirement Benefit (SRB) is a lump-sum taxable benefit payable to eligible Veterans and their survivors that recognizes the lost opportunity to contribute to a retirement pension due to a severe career-ending or service-related disability. The SRB payable is equal to 2% of the total amount of Earnings Loss that would have been payable (before income offsets are considered.
  • Canadian Forces Income Support Benefit – The Canadian Forces Income Support Benefit is a non-taxable, monthly income tested benefit that is payable to Veterans who have competed the Rehabilitation Program but who have not yet found suitable employment. Survivors and orphans may also be eligible.
  • Permanent Impairment Allowance – The Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) is a monthly, taxable benefit that is paid to eligible Veterans in recognition that a permanent and severe impairment leads to economic loss with respect to employment potential and career progression opportunities. PIA is payable based on the Veteran's level of functioning.
  • Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement – The Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement is a monthly, taxable benefit payable to Veterans who are in receipt of PIA and have been determined to be totally and permanently incapacitated. The Supplement is paid in addition to PIA.

Disability Award

The Disability Award (DA) is a non-taxable lump sum benefit payable to members, Veterans, survivors and/or dependent children in recognition of the non-economic effects of a service-related disability, including pain and suffering, functional loss and the effects of permanent impairment on the lives of members, Veterans and their families.  The amount of award is based on the extent of the disability.

New applications for new conditions will be processed under the Disability Award Program except in circumstances where the disability has been the subject of an application for a disability pension under the Pension Act or the assessment is linked with an existing condition pensioned under the Pension Act.

A DA will not be payable in respect of a condition for which a member/Veteran is in receipt of a Disability Pension under the Pension Act.

If a DA is payable to a surviving spouse/common-law partner or dependent child, the award will be apportioned as follows: 

  • Where there are no dependent children - 100% to surviving spouse/common-law partner;
  • Where there is a survivor and dependent children - 50% to the survivor and 50% to the dependent children, divided equally amongst them
  • Where there is no survivor – 100% to the dependent children divided equally amongst them if there is more than one.

Death Benefit

The Death Benefit (DB) is a non-taxable, lump sum benefit payable to survivors and dependent children that recognizes and compensates for the non-economic impacts of a sudden service-related death, which includes the member's loss of life, the resulting loss of guidance, care and companionship; and the impact of the member's death on the functioning of the household.

If a DB is payable to a surviving spouse/common-law partner or a dependent child, the benefit will be awarded as follows: 

  • Where there are no dependent children - 100% to surviving spouse/common-law partner;
  • Where there is a survivor and dependent children - 50% to the survivor and 50% to the dependent children, divided equally amongst them
  • Where there is no survivor – 100% to the dependent children divided equally amongst them if there is more than one.

Detention Benefit

The Detention Benefit is a non-taxable, lump sum benefit payable to a member or Veteran or his/her estate in recognition of the non-economic effects arising from the period of time the member or Veteran was detained by an enemy, opposing force or criminal element, was engaged in evading capture, or escaped from such a power. 

Clothing Allowance

The Clothing Allowance is a non-taxable benefit that recognizes and compensates for the costs associated with wear and tear of clothing and specially made apparel related to disabilities compensated by a Disability Award or a Disability Pension.

Health Care Programs (Veterans Health Care Regulations)

Certain Reserve Force Members and/or Veterans may be eligible for the following, if not available to them as members or former members of the CAF:

  • Treatment Benefits (e.g. prescription drugs, orthotics, prosthetic devices, and hearing aids) for conditions for which a Disability Pension (DP) or Disability Award (DA) has been granted. Also, pensioners/award recipients are eligible for Treatment Benefits in Canada for any health condition (if not available from the province) if they are in receipt of Veterans Independence Program (VIP) for a disability arising from Special Duty Service.
  • Veterans Independence Program (VIP) assists qualified individuals to remain healthy and independent in their own homes and communities if their need for VIP is related to a DP or DA. The VIP provides a financial contribution towards the cost of services such as home care (i.e. access to nutrition, housekeeping, grounds maintenance, health and support, and personal care), home adaptations, and ambulatory health care.
  • Long Term Care support may also be available in a community facility if the need for care relates to a DP or DA.

Health Benefits Program (Public Service Health Care Plan)

VAC's Health Benefits Program is designed to fill gaps in post-release health insurance coverage by ensuring that eligible CAF Veterans and certain survivors have access to group family health insurance through the Public Service Health Care Plan (the Plan). Enrollment and participation in the Plan is voluntary and membership is subject to the terms and conditions of the Plan. 

Those eligible for the plan include:

  • Veterans who released on or after April 1, 2006, who have been approved for SISIP Long Term Disability Plan and who do not otherwise have eligibility to the Plan.
  • Veterans approved for VAC's Rehabilitation Program who do not otherwise have eligibility to the Plan.
  • Survivors of CAF members or Veterans who die from an injury or illness attributable to service on or after April 1, 2006 and who do not otherwise have eligibility to the Plan.

Education Assistance

The Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance Act provides the authority for the Education Assistance Program. This program provides post-secondary education assistance to those children of deceased members or Veterans who have died as the result of military service or whose disability benefits were assessed at 48% or greater at the time of death. Assistance may be provided for four years or thirty-six academic months, whichever is less.

VAC Assistance Service

The VAC Assistance Service is a voluntary and confidential short-term counselling service delivered through a nation-wide team of counsellors. The service is offered in partnership with Health Canada's Emergency Preparedness and Occupational Health Directorate Employee Assistance Services and is accessed through a toll-free telephone service at 1-800-268-7708. The VAC Assistance Service is available to Veterans, family members and caregivers 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help them find appropriate solutions for situations that can affect their personal or professional life. This program is similar to the Canadian Forces Members Assistance Program (CFMAP) which is offered to members while they are serving.

Mental Health

VAC has a range of services and benefits for Veterans, CAF members, RCMP members, and the families of those living with a mental health condition. The following site provides information about those services provided by VAC, Operational Stress Injury Clinics and other mental health care providers. For more information visit www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/mental-health

Case Management

VAC works with Veterans and their families who are in need of case management support, particularly those who need help to successfully navigate the transition from military to civilian life. The case management relationship is an organized and collaborative problem solving process that enables those who need it to access services and supports to optimize their level of independence and quality of life. In the event of serious injury or death, VAC will work closely with the CAF Designated Assistant and/or the CAF Case Manager to provide the necessary supports.

VAC Pastoral Outreach Program

Similar to the pastoral care Military Chaplains provide to those who are serving in uniform, this program assists retired CAF personnel and their immediate family, when a pastoral need arises. This service is not intended to replace the ministry of civilian parish clergy. When, however, an individual is without the immediate ministry of a member of the clergy, this program may provide assistance. While it is primarily designed for situations when former members are dealing with end of life  issues (i.e. dying, death, bereavement, etc.) it is not necessarily restricted to this area alone. An important feature of the program is its capacity to provide a swift response with a very high quality of pastoral care.

The clergy are carefully selected and specifically mandated for this ministry. Many of them are retired CAF Padres, or Royal Canadian Legion Reserve Chaplains, who have personal familiarity with the military way of life. Also available are Emergency Medical Services chaplains, Police and Firefighter chaplains. Clergy are paid a standard honorarium for their services and are also reimbursed for reasonable expenses incurred. Former CAF members, both Regular and Reserve Force and their immediate family members may request services by calling 1-800-504-4156. For additional information, visit VAC web site at: www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/pastoral-outreach

Casualty Support Protocol

In the event of a serious injury/illness or death in service, VAC and DND have in place a Casualty Support Protocol to provide support. A VAC Case Manager is assigned to work with the survivor/family and the CAF Designated Assistant, to identify the needs and help them access, on a priority basis, required services and programs.

Funeral and Burial Assistance

Matter-of-Right: A Veteran who dies while on treatment strength of VAC, or a disability pensioner who is deemed to have died either from a pension condition(s) or a condition which can be related to military service may be entitled to full funeral and burial benefits up to the maximum amounts payable under current legislation as a matter-of-right (no means test is performed on the estate of the deceased). Arrangements may also be made for funeral and burial benefits when a Veteran dies without next-of-kin.

Means Tested: Funeral and burial assistance may be provided to:

  • a Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy Veteran of the Second World War (1 September 1939 to 1 April 1947)
  • a Canadian Veteran of the Korean War who served in the theatre of operations, or has been part of the Special Forces designated to go to the Republic of Korea anytime before 31 October 1953
  • a Veteran who served in the CAF and is receiving a disability benefit, an earnings loss benefit or a CAF income support benefit from VAC
  • an Allied Veteran who served with the Allied Forces during the Second World War or the Korean War and has also lived in Canada for at least 10 years, or lived in Canada prior to enlisting and was living in Canada at time of death

If the estate of the deceased and the financial resources of any surviving spouse are not sufficient to pay the expenses of the funeral and burial (as determined by a means test) then assistance may be provided to cover all or part of the cost.

Contact

For more information on available services and benefits, to find out if you qualify, or to apply:

  • Web site: www.veterans.gc.ca
  • E-mail: information@vac-acc.gc.ca
  • 1-866-522-2122 (English)
  • 1-866-522-2022 (French)
  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    PO Box 7700, Charlottetown PEI
    C1A 8M9
  • VAC District Office
  • Integrated Personnel Support Centre
  • Service Canada Office

To find the office or centre nearest you, visit www.veterans.gc.ca

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