Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers a wide range of financial benefits and allowances to eligible Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, RCMP members and certain civilians. Some of these benefits and allowances may also be available to their families or survivors.
The following summary provides information about three types of financial support: monthly benefits, lump sum payments and other benefits.
- The Earnings Loss (EL) Benefit is a taxable monthly benefit for eligible CAF veterans to compensate for loss of income that equals 90% of gross pre-release salary. VAC determines these amounts, minus the sum of monthly amounts of other income from prescribed sources. The EL benefit can be provided temporarily while you take part in an approved Rehabilitation program. It can also be provided until age 65 if the recipient is deemed totally and permanently incapacitated.
- The Career Impact Allowance (CIA), previously known as Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA), compensates for lost job opportunities when your career options have been limited because of a service-related illness or injury. In addition, a monthly CIA supplement is available for those receiving CIA and who are deemed to have diminished earning capacity. The CIA is a taxable benefit.
- The CF Income Support (CFIS) Benefit, for eligible CAF veterans, is available after the veteran has completed Rehabilitation and is no longer in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit. You must be a veteran who meets the Canadian residency, employment-related and income requirements. This benefit is non-taxable.
- The Exceptional Incapacity Allowance is designed for those receiving a Disability Pension including CAF and RCMP veterans who are exceptionally incapacitated. The amount of the allowance is based on the extent of the pain and loss of enjoyment or shortened life expectancy. You may qualify for an Exceptional Incapacity Allowance if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You receive a Disability Pension for a condition(s) that totals 98% or more.
- You receive a Disability Pension and a Disability Award for conditions that total 98% or more.
- Your receive a Disability Pension and Prisoner of War compensation that totals 98% or more and you have an exceptional incapacity. This must be a result of — in whole or part — the condition(s) for which you are receiving a disability benefit.
- The War Veterans Allowance (WVA) provides monthly financial assistance to help low-income war veterans or their survivors meet their basic needs. The amount provided is based on income, marital status and number of dependants. Once you qualify for WVA, you may also qualify for the following help:
- Assistance Fund provides grants of up to $1,000 per calendar year. These grants are to help pay for an emergency situation that affects health or safety (e.g., replacing a broken refrigerator).
- Health Care Benefits provide funds to qualifying veterans for hearing aids, prescription drugs, dental care and vision care. If the family income is over the maximum, the veteran will not qualify for WVA, but may still qualify for health care benefits.
- Long Term Care offers financial help to eligible veterans who require a bed in a long-term care facility.
- Veterans Independence Program can help you remain self-sufficient.
- A Survivors Pension is payable when a disability pensioner dies if pensioned at 5% or greater. For a year, the survivor will continue to receive the same Disability Pension or Prisoner of War compensation that was being paid to the pensioner. This includes any Attendance Allowance and/or Exceptional Incapacity Allowance the pensioner was receiving at the time of death. After this one-year period, a survivor's pension will be automatically paid.
- Starting one year after the time of death, the survivor is entitled to a full survivor's pension if the veteran was receiving a pension of 48% or greater. The survivor will receive one-half of the Disability Pension if the veteran was receiving a pension between the 5% and 47% rate.
- Surviving spouses or common-law partners who remarry will continue to receive the survivor's pension. Children and other qualified dependents may also qualify for benefits following a pensioner's death. Please contact VAC for more information.
Lump sum benefits
- The Supplementary Retirement Benefit (SRB) is a taxable lump-sum payment payable at age 65 to those who are totally and permanently incapacitated. It is 2% of the total Earnings Loss (EL) benefits that would have been payable to an eligible veteran or survivor without regard to any income offsets. Veterans are encouraged to apply for EL benefits even if they received other sources of income that raised them above the maximum limit of 75% of gross pre-release salary.
- A Death Benefit is a tax-free lump sum paid to a spouse, common-law partner and/or dependent children if a CAF member is killed while in service. The benefit is also paid if the CAF member is injured while in service and dies within 30 days of injury. Other survivor benefits may be available for service-related deaths that occur more than 30 days after the injury or illness.
- A Detention Benefit will be awarded as a tax-free lump sum to a CAF member or veteran who was detained by an enemy, opposing force or group while serving in the CF.
- A Clothing Allowance is available for a CAF member or veteran who requires special clothing and receives a disability award due to an amputation or other disability. The amount compensates for the higher cost of this clothing or the wear and tear on clothing.
- Under the Education Assistance (EA) program, tax-free education benefits may be paid to surviving children of a deceased veteran or member of the CAF. The student must be under 25 when beginning a full-time educational program. For specific criteria and when to apply, refer to the EA website.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility for benefits is determined by service. Please check the link for each benefit, as criteria vary.
Need more information?
For more information on eligibility and how to apply for the various financial benefits, visit the VAC website. You may also call toll-free at 1-866-522-2122 (English) or 1-866-522-2022 (French).