Enhancements to the Career Impact Allowance (formerly known as the Permanent Impairment Allowance)

Background:

On April 1, 2017, the Career Impact Allowance introduced a new individual assessment as one of the factors that is considered as part of the assignment of grade level. This change increases access to higher CIA grade levels for some Veterans.

This new assessment looks at years left to serve (at time of release) and degree of earning capacity.

The Career Impact Allowance (CIA) is a taxable, monthly benefit—payable for life. The allowance is provided when a Veteran’s career options have been limited because of a service-related illness or injury.

The term “totally and permanently incapacitated” (TPI) changed to “diminished earning capacity” (DEC). Diminished earning capacity means that a Veteran is unable to earn at least 66.7% of his/her adjusted pre-release salary.

Note: Changes to the CIA assessment on April 1, 2017, do not mean an automatic increase in Grade levels. Assessments are done on a case-by-case basis to determine the correct Grade level.

Index

Q1. Who qualifies for the Career Impact Allowance (Permanent Impairment Allowance)?

Veterans may qualify for CIA (PIA) if they have:

  • a severe and permanent impairment for which they have received a disability benefit; and
  • a VAC-approved application for rehabilitation services for the same condition that led to this impairment, either currently or in the past.

Q2. Why is the benefit being renamed “Career Impact Allowance?”

The “Permanent Impairment Allowance” benefit name was changed to “Career Impact Allowance” to better reflect the intent of the benefit, which is to compensate for reduction of employment and earnings potential and to better support CAF members who have their career cut short medically.

Q3. Is Veterans Affairs Canada expanding eligibility for the Career Impact Allowance (Permanent Impairment Allowance)?

No. The changes do not affect eligibility to the CIA (PIA). The changes expand access to the higher grade levels of the CIA (PIA).

It is anticipated that some current and future CIA (PIA) recipients may have their grade level increased, and, therefore, receive more compensation as a result of these changes. No Veterans will have their CIA (PIA) grade level decreased as a result of these changes.

Q4. When is the expanded access to greater grade levels available? When did this change take effect?

Changes to the Permanent Impairment Allowance, including the expanded access to the grades and the name change to Career Impact Allowance, came into effect on April 1, 2017.

Q5. Has the Permanent Impairment Allowance supplement changed?

No, the PIA supplement has not changed. The name changed to the Career Impact Allowance supplement. The supplement is the increase in CIA (PIA) that Veterans can receive if they are deemed to have a diminished earning capacity (formerly totally and permanently incapacitated), meaning they are unable to earn 66.7% of their adjusted pre-release salary.

Q6. Who is eligible for this benefit enhancement?

All Veterans in receipt of CIA and anyone who receives the benefit in the future will be assessed using the new criteria. Veterans could be assigned a higher grade level than they have currently. No Veterans will have their grade level decreased as a result of this change.

Q7. How are grade levels determined?

Currently, grade levels are determined using a series of factors, including medical reports or other records which document the health problem creating the permanent and severe impairment. The CIA (PIA) is payable at three grade levels, with grade one providing the highest amount of compensation and grade three providing the lowest compensation.

As of April 1, 2017, the new changes also measure the factors related to employment and earnings potential by introducing an individual assessment. The assessment measures the impact a service-related impairment has on a Veteran’s employment and earnings potential and consider years of service to determine the Career Impact Allowance grade level.

Q8. If Veterans receives the PIA now, do they automatically qualify for a higher monthly payment?

No, current recipients will be reassessed and do not need to reapply for the benefit. A letter explaining the changes will be sent in the mail. If Veterans are registered with My VAC Account, they will be able to view their letters online.

Q9. Have the grade level dollar amounts increased as a result?

No. This new assessment does not affect the dollar amounts of the grade levels. CIA (PIA) grade level amounts are increased each year based upon changes to the Consumer Price Index.

In 2017, the amount payable for grade one is $1,799.87/month, grade two is $1,199.93/month and grade three is $599.96/month.

Q10. Is this change retroactive?

No. This change is on a go-forward basis from April 1, 2017.

Q11. When will Veterans know if they are getting a higher amount?

The majority of the assessments were completed by April 30, 2017. The rest were completed in May, 2017. If a Veteran’s CIA grade level increased as a result of the new assessment, he/she will be reimbursed with a payment back to the date of implementation, April 1, 2017.

Q12. Do Veterans have to apply for this change?

No. They will not have to reapply. Veterans already in receipt of the CIA (PIA) or who have a pending application at the time of implementation (April 1, 2017), received a letter in the mail or via MVA in April 2017 to explain how the changes may affect them.

If Veterans are not already in receipt of the CIA (PIA) and do not have a pending application at the time of implementation, they will need to complete an application for the benefit. Veterans can find more information about the application by contacting the Department at 1-866-522-2122 or through My VAC account.

Q13. How will Veterans be informed of the results of their new assessment?

The results of a Veteran’s new assessment will be communicated through a formal decision letter. If Veterans are registered for My VAC Account, their letters will be available online. Additionally, if Veterans do not agree with VAC’s decision, they will be provided with information about review rights (see Question 22).

Q14. When do the new assessments for Veterans in the CIA program begin?

The new assessments began in April 2017.

Q15. How do the changes increase acceptance at a higher grade level?

The new assessment looks at years left to serve based on a military career of 25 years and considers the degree of lost earning capacity (capability of earning adjusted pre-release salary) to determine the appropriate grade level.

Q16. What is the new assessment mechanism?

Once a Veteran meets the eligibility and medical criteria for the CIA (PIA), the new assessment is applied. All previous assessment criteria continue to be used. Veterans Affairs Canada now also considers years left to serve and lost earning capacity in the assessment.

Q17. What is the impact of a Veteran’s years served?

For the purposes of your CIA assessment,

  1. if you served more than 20 years, your CIA grade level will remain the same as the one currently assigned for your medical impairment.
  2. if you served between 0 and 20 years, your CIA grade could increase, depending on the level of earning capacity.

Q18. Is a compulsory retirement age being used as part of the assessment?

Yes. The Canadian Armed Forces compulsory retirement age of 60 years is used as part of the assessment in relation to the years left to serve. Once VAC determines how many more years of a 25-year career a Veteran had left to serve, his/her age at release is taken into consideration. For those Veterans who could not have served a 25-year career before age 60, VAC uses the years left from their release to their 60th birthday to determine the number of years left to serve.

Q19. Why does the assessment only account for a 25-year career?

For the purposes of the CIA grade determination, "years left to serve" is based upon a standard of 25 years. This is the first point in a career where a member can receive a full immediate annuity, based on amendments in 2007 to the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, and is therefore considered an appropriate standard for an average career length.

Q20. I signed on with the CAF to serve for more than 25 years, can you explain why you are using 25 years as the max career?

For the purposes of the CIA grade determination, "years left to serve" is based upon a standard of 25 years. This is the first point in a career where a member can receive a full immediate annuity, based on amendments in 2007 to the Canadian Forces Superannuation Act, and is therefore considered an appropriate standard for an average career length

Q21. How can I access my Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA) annuity?

For information on your CFSA, you should contact the following:

Telephone
Toll free: 1-800-267-0325
Monday to Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (your local time)

Outside Canada and the United States:
613-946-1093 (collect calls accepted)
Monday to Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern time)

Telephone teletype (TTY): 1-855-255-9935
(collect calls accepted)
Monday to Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Eastern time)

Facsimile
418-566-2865
Note: Always include your pension number or Service number when providing information by facsimile.

On-line or by e-mail
pensioncentrecaf.centredespensionsfac@tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca

In writing
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Government of Canada Pension Centre – Mail Facility
PO Box 9500
Matane QC G4W 0H3

Q22. How do you determine CIA grade levels, using the new career impact assessment?

If you have been determined to have a diminished earning capacity (formerly totally and permanently incapacitated), your assessed potential to earn is 33.3% or less of your adjusted pre-release salary and you had 15 or more years left to serve in the CAF, you will receive a Grade 1 CIA.

If you have been determined to have a diminished earning capacity (formerly totally and permanently incapacitated), your assessed potential to earn is between 33.4% and 66.6% of your adjusted pre-release salary and you had 15 or more years left to serve in the CAF F, you will receive a Grade 2 CIA*.

If you have not been determined to have a diminished earning capacity (formerly totally and permanently incapacitated), or you served 20 years or more in the CAF, you will receive a Grade 3 CIA*.

*Note: If you meet the criteria for a higher CIA grade level due to the extent of your physical or mental health impairment, your grade level will not go down due to the inclusion of the assessment of your earning potential.

Q23. How is the CIA earning capacity assessed?

In addition to the VAC’s diminished earning capacity designation, the CIA assessment will consider:

  • The Quality of Life (QOL) level assigned as part of your VAC Disability Benefit adjudication process. If you have more than one QOL level, VAC used the one related to the condition(s) for which you are eligible for CIA.
  • If there is no QOL level on your file, we will use a level of 1 for the purposes of your CIA assessment.
  • Your adjusted pre-release salary, based on the information in your VAC file, such as your Earnings Loss Benefit or your Retirement Income Security Benefit, and/or confirmation with the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Your current potential earning capacity, from the Income and Earnings Statistics from the National Household Survey, published by Statistics Canada (Reference: 99-014-X2011041). Your potential earning capacity is based on the average employment income for a full year for your age and gender.

Q24. How is the Quality of Life (QOL) level used?

If your QOL level is 1, we will use the average employment income from the Statistics Canada table and compare this with your adjusted pre-release military salary.

If your QOL level is 2, we will adjust the average employment income from the Statistics Canada table by 50% and compare this with your adjusted military salary.

If your QOL level is 3, your current annual earning potential for the purpose of the CIA assessment will be zero.

Q25. Can Veterans appeal their new assessment decision?

Yes. If Veterans are not satisfied with this decision, they may request a review by writing, within 60 days after receiving their decision letter, to the address below:

Veterans Affairs Canada
National 1st Level Appeals Unit
PO BOX 6000
Matane QC G4W 0E4

Or, register and send a secure message through My VAC Account.

A reason for requesting a review and any new information they must be included.

Q26. I received a letter letting me know that my CIA grade has changed. What happened?

VAC made an error in our calculation of years left to serve and we have fixed it.

Some CIA recipients who have a diminished earning capacity and who served more than 19 years but less than 20 years in the CAF could see an increase in their CIA grade from grade 3 to grade 2. Anyone getting a change will be notified in writing. There will not be any decreases in CIA payments as a result of this change.

Q27. Who is impacted by this change?

Veterans who were assessed as having served more than 19 years, but less than 20 years may be impacted by this change.

Q28. When will I know if my CIA increases as a result of this change?

CIA grade changes are being processed now and are expected to be completed by the end of November, 2017. The Department will send new decision letters to all Veterans who are affected by this change.

Have you registered for My VAC Account?

My VAC Account is a simple and secure way to do business online with Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). To learn more and to register please visit My VAC Account

Date modified: