VAC Responds: Critical Injury Benefit

Clarification to article by Murray Brewster and Terry Pedwell, Canadian Press, March 30, 2015.

Part 1

The article included a quote from Phil Ralph of Wounded Warriors, asking do we address the long term security of injured Veterans?

Response: The Critical Injury Benefit is intended to recognize the immediate consequences of the most severe injuries. Other benefits available to critically wounded Veterans include Earnings Loss up to the age of 65, the Retirement Income Security Benefit available after age 65 (if approved by Parliament), and the Permanent Impairment Allowance and its supplement.

Part 2

The article also included a quote from a Veterans' advocate who dismissed the initiative, saying it appears aimed at the physically wounded, leaving those with psychological injuries out in the cold.

Response: The Critical Injury Benefit is available for both psychological and physical injuries to Veterans who, since April 2006, experienced a severe and traumatic injury or developed an acute disease caused by a sudden and single event which resulted in an immediate and severe impairment and interference in quality of life.

Clarification to segment on Canada AM, March 31, 2015.
(Video starts at 52:45)

Part 1

The host states, Veterans Ombudsman says there are 1,600 severely injured Vets. The Government, though, acknowledges somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100 Veterans who will actually qualify for that money.

Response: It appears that the reporter is actually quoting the number of Veterans who were in receipt of the Permanent Impairment Allowance (1,647 as of March 21, 2014). This allowance is provided to those who are permanently and severely impaired. It is not a benefit aimed at compensating injuries. The Critical Injury Benefit is an INJURY award, whereas the Permanent Impairment Allowance is for impairments and disabilities. It is possible to be injured but fully recover and not be permanently impaired. The CIB is payable in such a situation and is thus separate and distinct from the PIA.

Part 2

A Veterans' advocate on the interview says "I have absolutely no idea where the $70,000 comes from."

Response: The amount was determined based on research into similar awards in other benefit plans in other countries for traumatic injuries.

Clarification to article by Gloria Galloway, Globe and Mail, March 30, 2015.

The article includes a quote from Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors, who said "The new benefit will go to just 1% of all severely disabled Veterans, who are vulnerable and need support."

Response: Disabled Veterans are eligible for numerous benefits from VAC including disability awards and ongoing benefits such as earnings loss and permanent impairment allowance. In the future, if approved by Parliament, these Veterans may also be eligible to receive the Retirement Income Security Benefit (RISB) upon turning 65.

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