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Frequently Asked Questions

Disability Benefits


1. How is the amount of a disability benefit determined?

The amount of a disability benefit you receive will be determined by:

  • Entitlement - the degree to which that disability is related to your service; and
  • Assessment - the extent of the disability and its impact on your quality of life.

Once it is established that your disability is related to your service, the next step is to determine the extent or severity of your disability so that an assessment level can be determined.

To learn more, see the How we review a disability benefit claim.


2. What are Entitlement Eligibility Guidelines?

Entitlement Eligibility Guidelines are policy statements based on medical evidence and research. They guide us in determining the relationship between your medical condition or disability and your service. This supports fair, consistent decision-making for all applicants.


3. What is the Table of Disabilities (TOD)?

The TOD is a tool that we use to assess the level of an impairment and the impact the impairment has on your quality of life. We apply the TOD to all Disability Benefit applications to ensure fair, consistent decisions.


4. What are medical questionnaires?

Medical questionnaires are forms we developed for your healthcare provider to complete with the details of your disability. These forms guide them in providing the information we need to make a decision on your application for disability benefits. The medical questionnaires are used along with other medical information submitted to confirm your medical diagnosis and determine the extent of your disability.

Upon request, we will send you the medical questionnaire(s) that you should give to your healthcare provider, as well as instructions for your provider about how to complete the questionnaire and how they can return it to us. Please also give your provider them with your completed and signed Consent for Veterans Affairs Canada to Collect Personal Information from Third Parties form which gives them the authority to release your personal medical information to us. If your healthcare provider does not wish to fill out the questionnaire, they can submit a "narrative report", that is, a diagnostic report about the condition, as long as it has the same information as requested in the questionnaire.


5. When can I expect to receive a decision?

Our service standard is for 80% of disability benefits decisions to be made within 16 weeks for first applications and reassessments, and 12 weeks for departmental reviews.

However, some disability benefits claims are quite complex and may require additional processing time. Complex conditions sometimes require the expertise of someone with a medical background in order for the Department to come to a decision.


6. What happens if my disability gets worse?

If you have medical evidence to show there has been a change in the severity of your disability, you can contact us to request a reassessment. If the reassessment confirms that your condition has worsened, your benefit will be adjusted accordingly (unless you are already receiving the maximum amount). If a new condition develops that you think is related to a previously entitled condition, you can submit another new application.


7. I do not agree with the Department's decision on my application? What can I do?

If you do not agree with the decision or have new information to provide about your disability, you can contact us to request a Departmental Review. You also have the right to appeal the decision to the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. The decision letter you receive from us will outline your options for appeal. You can seek assistance from the Bureau of Pensions Advocates (BPA) and The Royal Canadian Legion as these organizations provide free assistance with reviews and appeals. You can also talk with the Office of the Veterans Ombud if you still have concerns and have pursued the other avenues mentioned in your decision letter.


8. I'm having difficulty preparing my application for disability benefits. Can anyone help?

Yes, the staff at any VAC office, CAF Transition Centre or Service Canada office can assist you, or you can call us at 1-866-522-2122. Service Officers with The Royal Canadian Legion or The War Amps of Canada can also assist you with your application free of charge.


9. I am no longer living in Canada. Can I still get benefits?

In some circumstances, we can provide benefits to you while you are living or vacationing outside of Canada.

You can contact us toll-free, from:

  • United States – Call 1-888-996-2242 (toll free)
  • United Kingdom, Germany, France, or Belgium – Call 00-800-996-22421 (toll free)
  • Any other country – 613-996-2242 (collect)

You can also contact us by secure message through your My VAC Account.

Not signed up on My VAC Account yet? Visit to register and easily access your Veterans Affairs correspondence and services online.


10. When will benefits start?

Benefits start on the day indicated in your favourable decision letter.


11. How does VAC get my service health records?

When we receive your application for disability benefits, VAC will obtain a copy of your service health records. Under the Pension Act and the Veterans Well-being Act, VAC has the authority to obtain these records directly from the Department of National Defence or Library and Archives Canada. Your records will be reviewed as part of your application.

VAC does not have the authority to collect service health records from the RCMP without consent from the applicant. In these cases, we require a signed Consent for Veterans Affairs Canada to Collect Personal Information from Third Parties (VAC928).

To request a copy of your service health records for your own records, see the Service Health Records for Disability Benefit Application Fact Sheet for more information.


12. If I receive compensation through the Pain and Suffering Compensation, can I get advice to help me manage it?

Yes. In fact, we encourage you to get a financial expert's advice. We will cover the cost of that advice up to $500 if the compensation you receive is 5% or more of the maximum. The advice must be provided by a financial advisor who is primarily engaged in the business of providing financial advice. You have 12 months from the date of the decision to apply for this reimbursement. This information will be in the decision letter you receive from us. We will cover the cost of that advice up to $500 if the compensation you receive is 5% or more of the maximum.


13. If I receive compensation from a third party for a disability that I receive VAC benefits for, will my VAC disability benefits be reduced as a result?

If you have received or will receive compensation from a third-party for a disability, VAC must reduce any disability benefit for the same condition. We do that by reviewing the details of the compensation, and if necessary, offsetting any third-party compensation as outlined in Section 25 of the Pension Act and Section 56.3 of the Veterans’ Well-being Act.

Third-party compensation includes Workers' Compensation and settlements from lawsuits (including class action settlements). You need to provide this information in Section F on the Disability Benefits Application (PEN923) form. You can also contact us by calling our toll-free number or sending us a secure message in your My VAC Account. When reporting third-party compensation, you must give us permission to collect personal information by completing the form Consent for Veterans Affairs Canada to Collect Personal Information from Third Parties (VAC928).


14. Does VAC contact an applicant to find out if they are receiving compensation from a settlement or third party?

If you are receiving compensation from a class-action settlement or third party, it is your responsibility to let us know. VAC is not usually informed of the names of claimants in class-action lawsuits or other settlements, so we rely on clients to provide us with the details we need to process your payment accurately.

However, there are a couple of reasons that we might contact you about compensation or a third-party settlement.

On the form for Disability Benefits, applicants must identify if they have received or are pursuing third-party compensation for the same disability (Section F on PEN923). If that field is left blank, the application is considered incomplete, so we follow up with you to confirm and complete the application.

We may contact you for details if you have let us know that you are receiving or pursuing third-party compensation for a disability. This could be before or after you have started to receive benefits payments from VAC for the same disability. The details you provide ensure that you get the benefits you are entitled to.