Veterans Affairs Canada Launches New Mental Health Benefits
Veterans applying for a disability benefit for certain mental health conditions will now receive immediate mental health coverage.
1 April 2022 - Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island - Veterans Affairs Canada
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health announced today that eligible Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans, including certain serving classes of Reservists, applying for a disability benefit for certain mental health conditions will now receive immediate mental health coverage. These Mental Health Benefits were announced in Budget 2021.
Coverage applies to treatments for anxiety, depressive, and trauma-and-stressor-related disorders. It lasts for two years starting when the disability benefits application is submitted, regardless of whether it is ultimately approved. If the disability benefit application is approved, treatment will be covered for as long as necessary through Veterans Affairs Canada’s Treatment Benefits program.
This initiative is part of the Department’s ongoing work to address the unique health needs of Veterans. Reservists on Class A or Class B (less than 180 days), as well as Veterans and Reservists living outside of Canada, also qualify for Mental Health Benefits.
“Getting access to mental health treatment is vital to Veterans’ well-being. The Mental Health Benefit will make sure that Veterans get coverage for the mental health support and services they need, as fast as possible. It’s the right thing to do for the thousands who’ve stepped forward to serve our country.”
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“Veterans have courageously served and protected our communities and country and, like all Canadians, deserve fast access to mental health treatments and services which meet their unique needs. Our government recognizes that there is no health without mental health, and is committed to improving the well-being and mental health of all those who have served.”
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health
“The decision by Veterans Affairs Canada to provide immediate mental health benefits to eligible Veterans is the right one. We are elated to see this change because Veterans will not have to wait for claims processing and will receive timely and critical help when they need it most.”
Bruce Julian, Dominion President, The Royal Canadian Legion
Starting on 1 April 2022, Veterans who apply for a disability benefit for certain mental health conditions – as well as those who have already applied and are awaiting a decision – will receive immediate coverage for Mental Health Benefits.
Coverage includes costs to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety and depressive disorders, or trauma-and-stressor-related disorders. This includes costs related to certain prescription drugs and mental health services such as examinations and treatment by psychologists, counsellors, social workers, or other approved mental health professionals.
Based on feedback Veterans Affairs Canada received from Veterans and stakeholders, Reservists on Class A or Class B (less than 180 days), as well as CAF Veterans and Reservists living outside of Canada, are now eligible for Mental Health Benefits.
Mental Health Benefits does not impact eligibility for other VAC benefits, services, or programs.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
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