Backgrounder Article from  National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Archived - Fact sheet - Caring For Our Own: Compensation and Benefits Available to Ill and Injured Canadian Armed Forces Members

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Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members have access to a range of programs while serving in the CAF including physical and mental health care, support for families, and comprehensive reintegration and return-to-work programs for those who are ill or injured. This care and support takes into account all phases of treatment and rehabilitation from the onset of illness or injury to reintegration and return to work in uniform or transition to civilian life. More information is available in the Medical Releases Backgrounder.

Through Integrated Personnel Support Centres, CAF and Veterans Affairs Canada case management staff work with CAF members and their families to identify needs, provide information about available benefits and services, and work together to achieve improved outcomes. This allows ill and/or injured CAF members and their families to focus on recovery and reintegration. Additionally, financial counselling services are provided to CAF members at no cost.

Thanks to the generosity of many Canadians, additional third party, private sector support is available through the Support our Troops program which has become an invaluable component of a broad morale and welfare suite of support provided to military members and their families.

In addition to the support programs available to ill or injured members throughout their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration, certain disability benefits are available through a number of legislative acts, regulations and agreements. The administration of these benefits is shared by the Department of National Defence (DND) and by other federal government departments such as Veterans Affairs Canada. 

For Serving Members

Disability Benefits - payable to members, veterans, survivors and/or dependent children from Veterans Affairs Canada 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 maximum benefit amount is based on the extent of the disability.

Accidental Dismemberment Insurance Plan - offered through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan and available to members who have suffered an accidental dismemberment which is attributable to military service and occurred by way of accidental, external and violent means. The maximum benefit amount is $250 000.

Home Modification Benefit - to reimburse payments made to modify the member’s home to help facilitate access, with amounts determined on a case-by-case basis.

Home Modification Move Benefit - to reimburse moving expenses incurred during home modifications.

Vehicle Modification Benefit - to reimburse reasonable expenses involved in modifying a single personal motor vehicle.

Home Assistance Benefit - to reimburse an eligible ill or injured member for payments made to look after his or her home.

Next of Kin Travel Benefit - to reimburse the travel and living expenses of the next of kin and travel assistants. The maximum benefit amount is a combined total of 120 days for up to four persons.

Legacy of Care Program - applies to those who have suffered catastrophic impairment while serving in Afghanistan, as determined by a physician. The following benefits are applied under Legacy of Care:

Spousal Education Upgrade Benefit - to reimburse educational expenses to improve the employability of a member’s spouse or common-law partner when the member is not able to take advantage of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The maximum benefit amount for a spouse or common-law partner is $20 000.

Attendant Care Benefit - to reimburse an eligible ill or injured member for payments made to an attendant to look after that member on a full-time basis. The maximum benefit reimbursed to the member is $100 per day, for a maximum of 365 days.

Caregiver Benefit - to reimburse an eligible ill or injured member for payments made for childcare or other caregiver expenses. The maximum benefit reimbursed to the member is $75 per day with a receipt or $35 per day with a declaration.

Clothing Allowance - a non-taxable benefit that compensates members 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.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members - enables eligible CAF members who have been notified of an impending medical release, with the approval of their Commanding Officer, to commence participation in vocational rehabilitation training up to six months prior to the start of their retirement leave, or the final date of their release from the CAF. CAF members can also apply for the SISIP Financial Services for tuition and other related educational costs through the SISIP Long Term Disability Benefits Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

Financial Advice - Members or veterans who receive a disability award, detention or death benefit of five per cent or more are eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $500 of the cost for securing such advice.

Upon Release – for those releasing for medical reasons

SISIP Long Term Disability Benefits - available through the Service Income Security Insurance Plan (SISIP), Regular Force and Class C Reserve Force members can receive a benefit equal to 75 per cent of their salary at the time of release, less other specified sources of income, for both physical and mental health considerations. Primary Reserve Force members on Class A and B service can receive a benefit equal to 75 per cent of a monthly basic salary of $2700 or 75 per cent of the additional optional coverage if purchased, less other specified sources of income. There is no qualifying period for SISIP Long Term Disability Benefits – if a serving member is injured on their first day of service, they are eligible for the benefits. SISIP Long Term Disability coverage is automatic for all serving members who enrolled in the CAF since 1 April 1982 and there is no requirement to sign up.

Pension - CAF pensions are key components of the overall CAF compensation package. The Regular Force Pension Plan, also known as the Full-time plan, describes pension benefits for members of the Regular Force and for qualifying Reserve Force members. The Reserve Force Pension Plan, also known as the Part-time plan, describes pension benefits for members of the Reserve Force. Both the Regular Force Pension Plan and Reserve Force Pension Plan are defined benefit pension plans. This means that the benefits are defined by set formulas that use a member’s pensionable earnings and years of pensionable service to calculate benefits.

A member with 10 years of pensionable service meeting the criteria for disability under the Regular Force (Full-time) Plan will be entitled to an immediate annuity.  A member with two years of pensionable service meeting the criteria for disability under the Reserve Force (Part time) plan will be entitled to an immediate annuity.

Severance Pay - CAF members who are released from the CAF for medical reasons are entitled to a severance benefit which is based on their years of eligible service, paid to the member in a lump sum upon release.     

Public Service Health Care Plan - The Public Service Health Care Plan provides access to supplementary health insurance coverage for veterans, eligible survivors and eligible dependants who are also covered under a provincial/territorial health insurance plan. This supplementary coverage would assist with costs for services such as dental work, optometry, and prescriptions. This means that while a significant portion of costs are covered by the health care plan, there is still a cost to the individual in the form of a deductable.

Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan – The Pensioners’ Dental Services Plan is a voluntary and contributory dental care plan to provide dental coverage to eligible Pensioners and their eligible dependants for specific dental services and supplies that are not covered under a provincial or territorial health or dental care plan. 

After Release for medical reasons

The following services and benefits are offered through Veterans Affairs Canada following release from the CAF:

Earnings Loss Benefit - an income-tested, taxable monthly benefit which provides economic support to veterans participating in Veterans Affairs Canada’s rehabilitation program.  It also provides ongoing economic support to totally and permanently incapacitated veterans;

Permanent Impairment Allowance - a taxable, monthly allowance payable for life or until such time as the veteran no longer meets the eligibility requirements for payment. The amount of allowance payable is based on the extent of the veteran's permanent and severe impairment. There is also a Permanent Impairment Allowance supplement which is based the extent to which the veteran’s injury prevents them from performing any occupation that would be considered to be suitable gainful employment;

Supplementary Retirement Benefit - a lump-sum, taxable benefit, payable to eligible CAF 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;

Canadian Forces Income Support - an income-tested, non-taxable monthly benefit payable to veterans who have completed the rehabilitation program but who have not found suitable employment;

Health Benefits Program - offers eligible CAF veterans and certain survivors access to group health insurance under the Public Service Health Care Plan. Participation is voluntary and complements other available medical coverage if there are needs stemming from an injury or illness related to service;

Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance Program - assists CAF veterans and their families to successfully transition to civilian life through comprehensive services that restore the ability to function at home, in the community and at work. It offers medical, psycho-social and vocational services for veterans with a career ending illness and/or injury that resulted primarily from service. The goal is to help them successfully transition from military to civilian life; and

Career Transition Services Program - available to eligible CAF veterans to provide them with practical assistance finding a job as they transition to the civilian labour force. This payment provides a lifetime maximum of $1000, including taxes to eligible participants for payment or reimbursement of career counselling, job search training, and job-finding assistance.

The journey that ill and/or injured members follow, as well as the compensation and benefits that are available, are determined on a case by case basis. Integrated Personnel Support Centre staff work directly with members and their families to meet their unique challenges and needs. While the list above details the benefits available, eligibility is based on individual circumstances and events. Some ill and/or injured members may choose to decline the opportunity to apply for compensation and benefits, depending on their circumstances.   


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