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Survivors – Veterans Independence Program (VIP)

Issuing Authority: Director General, Policy and Research
Effective Date: December 23, 2015
Document ID: 1040

Care has been taken to ensure these policies accurately reflect the acts and regulations. Should any inconsistencies be found, the acts and regulations will prevail.

Purpose

This policy explains the criteria that must be satisfied before a financial contribution may be approved to provide housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services to a qualified survivor under the Veterans Independence Program.

Policy

General

  1. Effective February 26, 2008, the Veterans Health Care Regulations were amended to provide eligibility for housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services to a qualified survivor of an income-qualified civilian, an income-qualified Veteran, a Veteran pensioner or a civilian pensioner who, at the time of their death, was not in receipt of housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services; and includes a survivor of a Veteran/civilian who died prior to the establishment of the Veterans Independence Program.
  2. For the purpose of this policy, the term “Veteran” is interpreted to include all Veteran and civilian groups identified in paragraph 1 of this policy.
  3. Under the Veterans Health Care Regulations, a survivor is defined as the adult individual (18 years or older) who, immediately before the Veteran died; or, if the Veteran died in a health care facility, immediately before the Veteran was admitted into the health care facility, was:
    1. the person primarily responsible for ensuring that care was provided to the Veteran;
    2. not receiving a wage for ensuring that care was provided to the Veteran;
    3. residing in the principal residence of the Veteran for a continuous period of at least one year; and
    4. maintaining or maintained by the Veteran for a continuous period of least one year.

       

  4. Survivors of those Veterans, who were in receipt of housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services at the time of their death or admission into a health care facility, may be eligible for those benefits as primary caregivers. Please refer to the policy entitled Primary Caregivers (Veterans Independence Program).

Eligibility - Veteran/Civilian Criteria at Time of Death or Admission to a Health Care Facility

  1. In order to be eligible, the applicant must be the survivor of one of the following:
    1. a Veteran pensioner who was receiving or was entitled to a pension under the Pension Act; or
    2. a civilian pensioner who was receiving or was entitled to a pension under the Civilian War-related Benefits Act:  or
    3. a Veteran in receipt of an allowance under the War Veterans Allowance Act; or
    4. a civilian in receipt of an allowance under the Civilian War-related Benefits Act; or
    5. a Veteran or civilian who would have received an allowance if they had not been receiving benefits under the Old Age Security Act, i.e. Guaranteed Income Supplement or Old Age Security Pension (commonly referred to as a “Near Recipient” or “Income-qualified”).

    In addition, the Veteran cannot have been in receipt of grounds maintenance and/or housekeeping services, although he/she may have been in receipt of other Veterans Independence Program elements, such as personal care.

    If the Veteran, at the time of death, was not an income-qualified Veteran as defined in section 2 of the Veterans Health Care Regulations, but was qualified at some point during his/her lifetime, the survivor would be eligible.

Eligibility - Survivor Criteria

  1. In order to qualify, at the time of application, the survivor must be an adult, 18 years of age or older and:
    1. not be eligible to receive any services as a primary caregiver under section 16 of the Veterans Health Care Regulations;
    2. be in receipt of the Guaranteed Income Supplement under the Old Age Security Act, or be approved for the Disability Tax Credit under section 118.3 of the Income Tax Act;
    3. be residing in Canada (where a survivor is absent from Canada for 183 days, or less, in a calendar year, his/her residence in Canada is presumed not to be interrupted);
    4. have a need for the housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services. It must be established that the need is due to a health reason and that the health reason must be addressed in order for the survivor to remain independent in his/her principal residence; and
    5. confirm that the services are not available to them under a provincial health care system or private insurance policy.

    All criteria must be satisfied at the time of application in order to be eligible.

Services Available

  1. Survivors are only eligible to receive a financial contribution to obtain housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services, and the services must be received in Canada. For specifications regarding eligible services, please see the policy entitled Veterans Independence Program Services (excluding Intermediate Care).
  2. A financial contribution to obtain housekeeping and grounds maintenance services may be provided up to a maximum annual amount, which is indexed annually. Within the annual allowable contribution, a maximum amount may be provided for grounds maintenance. See Maximum Rates Payable for Veterans Independence Program and Long-term Care Program Services for current maximum amounts payable on an annual basis.
  3. A financial contribution to obtain housekeeping and grounds maintenance services is normally provided for a period of twelve consecutive months, beginning on the date the application is received by Veterans Affairs Canada (see policy entitled Benefit Arrangement (Veterans Independence Program). At the end of this period, a review and reconfirmation of eligibility (see paragraph 6) is required for a continuation.

Consideration of Applications

  1. An applicant for housekeeping and grounds maintenance services shall provide Veterans Affairs Canada with:
    1. any documentation necessary to substantiate the claim;
    2. information on their domestic status;
    3. any other relevant information; and
    4. an affidavit or statutory declaration attesting the truth of the information provided.
  2. The applicant will have 120 days from the date he/she is advised to provide additional supporting documentation when required. If the documentation is not provided within 120 days, and no reasonable explanation is provided within that time frame; it will be deemed no application was made.

Effective Date of Eligibility

  1. The effective date of eligibility for survivors is established in accordance with the policy entitled Benefit Arrangement (Veterans Independence Program).
  2. No payment can be made for any expenses incurred or services delivered prior to the effective date of eligibility.

Renewal of Services

  1. Survivor status criteria (see paragraph 6) must be satisfied on an annual basis. If these criteria are not satisfied, the Benefit Arrangement cannot be renewed.

Financial Contributions via Grants for Housekeeping and Grounds Maintenance Services

  1. The exclusive payment method for housekeeping and grounds maintenance services is the grant method for Benefit Arrangements established after January 1, 2013; wherein the recipient will receive an annual grant provided in two instalments, subject to continued eligibility of the recipient.
  2. The amount of the grant for housekeeping and grounds maintenance services will be determined in accordance with the Grant Determination Tool based on the needs of the recipient, the need for services, the determination of required hours for services, the scope of services required, and the rates for services in that area.
  3. The recipient is not required to obtain or retain receipts for housekeeping and grounds maintenance services acquired via a grant payment.

Change of Residence

  1. Housekeeping and/or grounds maintenance services may be approved whether the qualified survivor remains in the home that had been shared with the deceased Veteran or moves to another principal residence in Canada, provided that the survivor continues to meet the survivor criteria (see paragraph 6).

Exceeding Rates

  1. Please refer to the policy entitled Exceeding Rates for Veterans Independence Program (VIP) and Long Term Care (LTC) for the criteria for approving Veterans Independence Program services in excess of the maximum rates payable.

Termination of Benefits

  1. Housekeeping and grounds maintenance services will be terminated when the annual renewal reveals that the survivor no longer meets all of the criteria set out in paragraph 6.
  2. If services are terminated due to the absence of a health need, they cannot be reinstated at a later date, whether a health need is present or not. 
  3. If services are terminated due to a change in the survivor’s status with respect to the Guaranteed Income Supplement and/or the Disability Tax Credit (see paragraph 6), the services may be reinstated for the survivor, if the survivor once again meets these criteria and there is a health need.

No Eligibility for Additional Benefits, Services or Care

  1. Survivors are eligible for the home care services of housekeeping and/or ground maintenance only. Survivors are not eligible for health and support, personal care, or access to nutrition services under the home care element of the Veterans Independence Program, nor are they eligible for any other health care benefits, services or care under the Veterans Health Care Regulations.

Survivor's Right of Review

  1. Survivors, or their representatives, dissatisfied with a decision made regarding benefit eligibility under the Veterans Health Care Regulations may request a review of that decision (see the Review of Health Care Decisions policy).

References

Department of Veterans Affairs Act

Civilian War-related Benefits Act

Income Tax Act

Pension Act

War Veterans Allowance Act

Old Age Security Act

Veterans Health Care Regulations

Primary Caregivers (Veterans Independence Program)

Benefit Arrangement (Veterans Independence Program)

Home Care Services (Veterans Independence Program)

Exceeding Rates for Veterans Independence Program (VIP) and Long Term Care (LTC)

Review of Health Care Decisions

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