Critical Injury Benefit

Were you seriously injured while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces? The Critical Injury Benefit recognizes the immediate impact of the most severe and traumatic service-related injuries or diseases.

About this program

A sudden, single incident such as motor vehicle accidents, explosions, gunshot wounds and exposure to toxic or infectious agents can lead to an immediate, severe and traumatic illness or injury.

To recognize the impact of such an incident, the Critical Injury Benefit provides a tax-free lump-sum to address the immediate impacts of the most severe and traumatic service-related injuries or diseases sustained by Canadian Armed Forces members.

Do you qualify?

You should apply for the Critical Injury Benefit if you have experienced a severe injury or acute illness:

  • while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces on or after April 1, 2006, and
  • your illness or injury caused a severe impairment that interfered with your quality of life.

To be considered a severe impairment, at least one of the following must have occurred immediately after the incident:

  • an amputation at or above the wrist or ankle
  • you were admitted to intensive care, acute care or received complex treatment for five days or longer.

Permanent or temporary conditions that lasted 12 consecutive weeks or more:

  • blindness in both eyes
  • paralysis of one or more limbs
  • loss of control of kidneys, bladder or bowel
  • for 16 weeks or more you required assistance for three or more of the following activities:
    • eating,
    • bathing,
    • dressing,
    • using the bathroom, or
    • mobility (walking or getting in or out of bed or chair)

How to apply

Apply online

Apply online through My VAC Account. Applying is easier with a guided form. Sign in or register for My VAC Account.

My VAC Account

Mail or in person

Download the application form. Then, drop it off at a VAC office or CAF Transition Centre. You can also mail your completed application directly to the address listed on the form.

Go to form

Get help with your application

The staff at any VAC office or Transition Centre can assist you, or call us at 1-866-522-2122.

Additional information

Find out more

See the current rate for this program: This is a tax-free lump sum award.

Seek financial advice: We encourage you to seek advice on how to manage a lump-sum payment so that it gives you the most benefit throughout your life. We offer up to $500 towards getting this.

Related programs

Disability Benefits - Compensation for your service-related injury or illness.

Rehabilitation Services – Services to improve your health and adjust to life after service.

Disability tax credit (DTC)

The DTC helps reduce the income tax that people with physical or mental impairments, or their supporting family members, may have to pay. It aims to offset some of the costs related to the impairment. Learn more about this non-refundable tax credit available through the Canada Revenue Agency.

Frequently asked questions

What is the definition of a 'sudden and single incident' and why was that chosen?

A “sudden and single incident” means, for the purposes of the Critical Injury Benefit, the single incident in which the person was abruptly exposed to external factors causing either traumatic injury or acute disease. The defining factor is that the event was singular and the effect of it was immediate; it did not evolve over time.

Is a survivor (spouse, common-law, children), dependent or estate of the deceased CAF member or Veteran eligible for this benefit?

No, this benefit is not payable to the survivor, dependent or estate of a deceased CAF member or Veteran.

What about mental illness? Could the Critical Injury Benefit be awarded for a mental illness caused by a sudden and single service-related event?

If it occurs that a CAF member/Veteran has a psychiatric reaction immediately following a single service-related incident and must be immediately hospitalized and treated for this reaction for a prolonged period, he/she would be eligible.

Is there a time limit to apply for this benefit?

No. There is no time limit to apply for this benefit.

Are there policies for this program?

Yes. Read more about the Critical Injury Benefit policies.