Canadian Forces Income Support Benefit - Eligibility

Issuing Authority: Director General, Policy and Research
Effective Date: April 1, 2019
Document ID: 1244

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 describes the eligibility criteria that must be satisfied in order for a Veteran, survivor or orphan to receive the Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS) benefit.

Policy

General

  1. Veterans, survivors and orphans who are eligible CFIS recipients may receive a monthly CFIS benefit equal to the maximum monthly income, as set by schedule 1 of the Veterans Well-being Act and adjusted quarterly in accordance with Consumer Price Index, less assessable monthly incomes (see policy, CFIS - Income Assessment: General).
  2. Per section 33 of the Veterans Well-being Act, the CFIS benefit can only be paid to a Veteran, survivor or orphan who meets the Canadian residency requirement, see paragraphs 15 to 24.

Veteran

  1. A Veteran is eligible for the CFIS benefit, if he/she:
    1. was in receipt of an Income Replacement Benefit(IRB) , or would have been entitled to receive such a benefit except for his/her level of income, and is no longer entitled to IRB
    2. is under 65 years of age and meets the Employment and Career Transition Criteria (see paragraphs 25 to 41 for more information); and,
    3. c) meets income criteria - maximum monthly income greater assessable incomes. (See policy, CFIS – Income Assessment: General)
  2. The Veteran must apply no later than 6 months after the last day of the month in which he/she was no longer eligible to receive the EL benefit or IRB. If the application is beyond the 6-month timeframe, the Veteran must provide a reasonable explanation for the “delayed application”. (See policy, CFIS – Application and Effective Date).
  3. Veterans must have served in the Canadian Forces during a period of time that does not involve the wartime periods. Veterans, who served in the Canadian Forces during World War I, World War II, or the Korean War, are eligible to apply for income support under the War Veterans Allowance (WVA) Program.
  4. A Veteran’s military service will be accepted, without confirmation, if such service has already been recognized for the purpose of awarding any other benefit under the Veterans Well-being Act  (i.e. IRB, etc.).

Survivor: Non Service-related Death of Veteran

  1. The survivor of a Veteran, whose death is the result of an injury or disease that was not related to, or aggravated by service and whose death occurred on or after April 1, 2006, is eligible for the CFIS benefit, if:
    1. The Veteran was in receipt of the CFIS benefit at the time of his/her death;
    2. The Survivor is under 65 years of age and meets the Employment and Career Transition Criteria (see paragraphs 25 to 41 for more information); and,
    3. meets income criteria - maximum monthly income greater assessable incomes. (see policy, CFIS – Income Assessment: General)
  2. The survivor must apply no later than 6 months after the last day of the month in which the veteran dies. If the application is beyond the 6-month timeframe, the survivor must provide a reasonable explanation for the “delayed application”. (see policy, CFIS – Application and Effective Date).

Survivor: Service-related Death of Member or Veteran

  1. The survivor of a member or Veteran, whose death is determined to be connected to a service-related injury or disease or a non service-related injury or disease that was aggravated by service and whose death occurred on or after April 1, 2006, is eligible for the CFIS benefit when he/she is no longer eligible to receive IRB (i.e., the member or Veteran, if alive, would be at least 65 years of age).
  2. The survivor is not subject to time limitations when applying for the CFIS benefit and is not subject to the Employment and Career Transition Criteria.

Orphan: Non Service-related Death of a Veteran

  1. The orphan of a Veteran whose death is the result of an injury or disease that was not related to, or aggravated by service and whose death occurred on or after April 1, 2006, is eligible for CFIS, if the Veteran was in receipt of the CFIS benefit at the time of his/her death.
  2. The orphan is not subject to time limitations when applying for the CFIS benefit and is not subject to the Employment and Career Transition Criteria. 

Orphan: Service-related Death of CF Member or Veteran

  1. The orphan of a member or Veteran whose death is determined to be connected to a service-related injury or disease, or a non service-related injury or disease that was aggravated by service and whose death occurred on or after April 1, 2006, is eligible for the CFIS benefit when he/she is no longer eligible to receive IRB (i.e., the member or Veteran, if alive, would be at least 65 years of age).
  2. The orphan is not subject to time limitations when applying for the CFIS benefit and is not subject to the Employment and Career Transition Criteria.

 

Transitional Provisions

  1. The Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1 sets out the authority for the transitional provisions of when the Income Replacement Benefit came into force on April 1, 2019.

Pending Applications

  1. If a Veteran has a pending CFIS benefit application before April 1, 2019, then that application is to be determined using section 27 of the Veterans Well-being Act with the earnings loss benefit (not the income replacement benefit).

Applications made on or after April 1, 2019

  1. If a Veteran applies for a CFIS benefit under section 27 of the Veterans Well-being Act on or after April 1, 2019 and is not in receipt of the income replacement benefit the day before the application is made, then section 27 of the Act must be interpreted as either: the Veteran has been in receipt of an earnings loss benefit; or, is no longer entitled to the earnings loss benefit for purposes of determining eligibility for the benefit.

Residency Requirement

  1. Per section 33 of the Veterans Well-being Act, a Veteran, survivor, or orphan must be a resident of Canada in order to be paid the CFIS benefit.  There can be only one place of residence at a time, which the Department determines on a case-by-case basis.
  2. Although the Veteran must be a Canadian resident, his/her dependent child’s residency status does not impact the Veteran’s eligibility to receive an additional amount of the CFIS benefit.
  3. If a Veteran, survivor, or orphan remains in Canada for more than 182 days in a calendar year, maintains a permanent Canadian address, and has no other residency circumstances (see paragraphs 18 to 20), he/she meets the CFIS Residency Requirement.
  4. In circumstances where a Veteran, survivor, or orphan remains outside Canada for more than 183 days in a calendar year, he/she meets the CFIS residency requirement if:
    1. he/she intends to return to Canada but cannot do so due to illness or other circumstances beyond his/her control; or,
    2. if he/she is enrolled in an approved course of instruction.
  5. In circumstances where a Veteran, survivor, or orphan remains in Canada for more than 183 days in a calendar year but moves permanently to another country, he/she no longer meets the CFIS residency requirements.
  6. In circumstances where the Veteran, survivor, or orphan has no permanent address, he/she may satisfy the Canadian residence requirement, so long as the case manager is aware of how to make contact with the Veteran, survivor or orphan, to ensure on-going eligibility.
  7. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) may use residency rulings under other federal or provincial statutes as evidence to determine an individual’s residency status. (e.g., a person who is considered a resident of Canada for income tax purposes, even though he/she has been absent from Canada for more than 183 days in a calendar year, may be sufficient evidence to rebut the CFIS presumption that the person is no longer a Canadian resident.)  Unusual cases should be referred to VAC Head Office to seek further advice before any action is taken, which negatively impacts a CFIS recipient.
  8. In circumstances where a Veteran or a survivor resides outside of Canada and continues to meet the CFIS residency requirement, he/she must also meet the Employment and Career Transition Criteria.
  9. A Veteran, survivor, or orphan must notify the Department when they intend to be absent from Canada for more than 183 days in a calendar year.
  10. The following circumstances describe the implications for a Veteran, survivor, or orphan whose CFIS benefit was terminated due to non-Canadian residency and who subsequently returns to Canada to live:
    1. A Veteran must re-establish CFIS eligibility by re-qualifying for a new IRB benefit.  Once entitlement for the new IRB benefit ends, the Veteran must re-apply and satisfy the CFIS eligibility requirements.
    2. A survivor of a Veteran, whose death is not attributable to service, will not re-qualify for the CFIS benefit.
    3. A Survivor of a CF member or Veteran, whose death is attributable to service, must re-apply to re-establish his/her eligibility for the CFIS benefit.
    4. An orphan of a CF Member or Veteran, whose death was Service-related or Non Service-related, must re-apply to re-establish his/her eligibility for the CFIS benefit.

Employment and Career Transition Criteria

  1. Veterans and survivors of a Veteran whose death is the result of an injury or disease that was not related to, nor aggravated by service, who are under the age of 65 and who have not been granted an exemption (see paragraphs 26 to 28) must:
    1. be looking for and willing to accept employment that is available in the local labour market for which they are reasonably qualified by reason of their education, training, or experience; and / or,
    2. be participating in a career transition services program that is approved by the Minister.
  2. At submission of the initial application for the CFIS benefit, a Veteran will be deemed to meet Employment and Career Transition Criteria for the purpose of establishing his/her eligibility for the CFIS benefit.
    NOTE: Upon successfully completing the Rehabilitation Program, a career counseling session will occur. At that time, the Veteran’s pre-determined employment goals and suitability will already be established and met. The veteran’s employment preference, aptitudes, interests and physical assessment will be on record.
  3. At submission of the initial application for the CFIS benefit, the survivor of a Veteran whose death is the result of an injury or disease that was not related to, nor aggravated by service, will be granted a temporary bereavement exemption from meeting the Employment and Career Transition Criteria.   Before the bereavement exemption expires, the survivor will be counselled to as to the requirements to satisfy employment and career transition criteria.
  4. The Veteran or survivor may be granted an exemption from the Employment and Career Transition Criteria in situations where a compelling circumstance reasonably excuses the person from temporarily searching for employment or participating in a career transition service. The following is illustrative of the type of circumstances:
    1. bereavement of an immediate family member;
    2. serious illness of a temporary nature of the Veteran, survivor, or an immediate family member;
    3. jury duty;
    4. maternity leave; etc
  5. The Veteran or survivor must continuously demonstrate his/her employment search efforts and / or participation in career transition services by maintaining appropriate records that must be submitted upon request.
  6. Once eligibility for the CFIS benefit is established, a Veteran or survivor will be allotted a reasonable time period to seek and secure employment in line with his/her occupational goal.  As a general rule, an initial good faith period of 3 - 6 months is permitted before the Veteran or survivor may be required to expand his/her employment preferences.
  7. Following the expiration of the initial 3 - 6 month good faith period, if the Veteran or survivor remains unemployed or underemployed, it may be necessary to counsel the Veteran or survivor that a broader approach to seeking and accepting work must be adopted in order to continue to receive the CFIS benefit. Such a decision will be made by the VAC case manager.
  8. The initial 3 - 6 month good faith period may be altered by the case manager based on the Veteran’s or the survivor’s individual circumstance. For example:
    1. A Veteran or survivor who suffers from a severe disability may require more time  before he/she can be expected to expand their employment preferences; and,
    2. A Veteran or survivor who relocates to a geographic area with limited local market opportunities related to his/her occupational goal may be expected to expand his/her employment preferences within a shorter initial good faith period.
  9. A Veteran or survivor who acquires the opportunity to work on a part-time basis is to be encouraged, and obliged, to do so. An incentive is present by means of an employment earnings exemption (see policy, CFIS - Employment Earnings Exemption), whereby a certain portion of this income is disregarded for offsetting purposes.
  10. If the Veteran or survivor becomes engaged in full-time work (e.g. greater than 30 hours per week), but the CFIS benefit is still payable; the Veteran or survivor can still retain entitlement to the CFIS benefit, so long as he/she continues to satisfy the prescribed employment-related criteria.
  11. The Veteran or survivor may decline an employment opportunity, and still maintain eligibility for the CFIS benefit. The Department will judge each situation on its own merits. Acceptable reasons for declining a suitable employment opportunity may include:
    1. transportation difficulties;
    2. health reasons;
    3. personal restrictions;
    4. dangerous work environment;
    5. labour dispute; etc
  12. Veterans or survivors who are subject to Employment and Career Transition Criteria are eligible to participate in VAC’s Career Transition Services (see policy, Career Transition Services).
  13. If the Veteran or survivor chooses not to participate in VAC’s Career Transition Services Program, he/she may access similar services through other federal / provincial government departments/agencies or through private organizations / businesses. He/she will be responsible for any costs associated with services accessed outside of VAC’s Career Transition Services Program.
  14. If a survivor does not possess the knowledge, skills or abilities considered necessary to successfully compete in the labour market, and he/she does not qualify for any exemption provided in paragraphs 26 to 28, the survivor may be deemed to be participating in a career transition service, if he/she is enrolled in a training program for the purpose of improving his/her knowledge, skills, or abilities.
  15. The Veteran’s or survivor’s entitlement to the CFIS benefit will cease when he/she no longer satisfies Employment and Career Transition Criteria. A clear example of this would be his/her refusal to accept suitable full-time work.
  16. Other circumstances where the Veteran or survivor no longer meets Employment and Career Transition Criteria are:
    1. where the Veteran or survivor, upon receiving counselling that a reasonable time has elapsed and an expectation now exists that an expanded job preference focus must occur, refuses to agree, or honour, such an arrangement rendering the likelihood of obtaining work remote, or virtually non-existent; or,
    2. where the Veteran or survivor becomes engaged in full time work (e.g. more than 30 hours per week), but due to the low level of wages provided, the CFIS benefit is still payable. In this scenario, if the Veteran or survivor indicates that this employment arrangement meets his/her expectations and expresses no further interest in finding work that is consistent with his/her education, training, and prior work experience; he/she will be found to no longer meet the employment-related criteria; or,
    3. the Veteran’s or survivor’s demonstrated efforts are judged as inadequate or non-cooperative; or,
    4. the Veteran or survivor is incarcerated for a significant time period (i.e. in excess of one month).
  17. Consequences of Not Satisfying the Employment and Career Transition Criteria:
    1. If the Veteran no longer satisfies Employment and Career Transition Criteria and no exemption has been granted, the CFIS benefit shall be cancelled. If this situation is not resolved and persists for a period that exceeds six months, any subsequent application for the CFIS benefit will be denied, based on the initial qualifying criteria. Because the prescribed time period for filing a subsequent application has elapsed, it will be necessary for the Veteran to qualify for Rehabilitation Services. If the Veteran re-qualifies for Rehabilitation Services and successfully completes the program, access to the CFIS benefit may be possible, once again, if the need exists.
    2. If the survivor no longer satisfies Employment and Career Transition Criteria and no exemption has been granted, the CFIS benefit shall be cancelled. If this situation is not resolved and persists for a period that exceeds six months, any subsequent application for the CFIS benefit will be denied because the prescribed time period for filing a subsequent application has elapsed.

References

Veterans Well-being Act – sections 2, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 33, 35, 36 37, 95 and Schedule 1

Veterans Well-being Regulations– sections 2, 3, 32 and 33

Canadian Forces Income Support - Income Assessment: General

Canadian Forces Income Support - Employment Earnings Exemption

Canadian Forces Income Support – Application and Effective Date

Earnings Loss Benefit - Suspension and Cancellation

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