Changes to Veterans income support benefits

Article / September 20, 2016

The ongoing care, support and well-being of ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, Veterans and their families, is a high priority for the CAF, Department of National Defence (DND), Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) and the Government of Canada. Whether our personnel are on the road to recovery, rehabilitation, returning to military duty, or transitioning to civilian life, the CAF is dedicated to assisting them through their challenging journey.

All CAF members need to be aware of changes to VAC income support benefits that will take effect on October 1, 2016, as many personnel have questions about what this means for them and how they can apply to receive such benefits. This change will affect all Veterans as well as ill and injured Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who may be medically released in the future.

As announced in Budget 2016, funding for income support benefits for Veterans in VAC’s Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) program will be raised from 75 to 90% of a Veteran’s pre-release salary. Additionally, the benefit will be indexed so that it keeps pace with inflation. While VAC’s ELB income support benefits will increase, it is important to note that CAF Long Term Disability (LTD) benefits will not. It will remain at 75% of a Veteran’s pre-release salary and existing benefits will not be affected. Therefore, in order to be considered for the additional benefit, people must apply to VAC.

Note that the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP) administers the CAF LTD policy on behalf of the Chief of the Defence Staff and Manulife is the insurer. As the employer sponsored group disability plan, CAF LTD is first payer for benefits and remains among the best LTD plans offered in the country. 

Veterans or those medically released from the CAF in the future are encouraged to apply to VAC to participate in their Rehabilitation program, a precondition for ELB eligibility. A Veteran can receive an application by calling VAC at 1-866-522-2122 (toll-free) Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 4:30, local time, by visiting the VAC ELB webpage and downloading the application form, by logging into My VAC Account or by visiting the local VAC Area Office.

All CAF members are strongly encouraged to learn more about range of care, compensation, and financial benefits available to them so that they can make informed decisions about what benefits plan or program will best support them and their family’s needs upon being released.

DND, CAF and VAC are committed to simplifying and consolidating the system of care, compensation, and financial benefits that are available to Veterans and their families. CAF and VAC continue to work together and with Veterans to address gaps in service as outlined in the public, written direction the Minister of Veterans Affairs and the Minister of National Defence have received from the Prime Minister.

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