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4.0 Disability Benefits

Disability benefits are financial payments provided to individuals who have a service-related disability. There are two types of disability benefits: Disability Pensions and Disability Awards. April 1, 2019, Pension for Life (PFL) was introduced. As a result, Disability Benefits changed to include Disability Pension, Pain and Suffering Compensation and Additional Pain and Suffering.

Table 4.1 Disability Benefits Recipients

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Disability Benefits Recipients 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Veterans 109,154 109,338 109,460 110,848 112,631
Survivors 55,112 51,999 49,776 46,386 43,428
Subtotal: Veterans and Survivors 164,266 161,337 159,236 157,234 156,059
RCMP 12,610 13,424 14,371 15,328 16,436
Total: Recipients 176,876 174,761 173,607 172,562 172,495

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Disability Pensions

The Disability Pension Program recognizes and compensates eligible Veterans as well as Canadian Armed Forces members who applied and were eligible for a disability pension prior to April 1, 2006, and their survivors, dependants and civilians for the effects of a service-related disability and/or death. Compensation is provided in the form of a monthly disability pension. Disability pensioners who are hospitalized or receiving outpatient care for a pensioned condition are eligible to receive an additional allowance for that period.

This program also recognizes and compensates those in receipt of a disability pension for the distinct effects that disabilities may have on clothing, on an individual's ability to perform personal care, and exceptional health needs. This is provided through a monthly allowance. This program is now delivered through grants.

Table 4.2 Disability Pension Recipients

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Disability Pension RecipientsFootnote 1 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Veterans 69,739 64,804 60,087 56,168 52,177
Survivors 54,409 51,227 48,790 45,283 40,704
Total: Recipients 124,148 116,031 108,877 101,451 92,881
Attendance Allowance 7,096 6,732 6,315 6,466 6,060
Exceptional Incapacity Allowance 1,491 1,524 1,507 1,517 1,422
Clothing Allowance 1,359 1,369 1,374 1,415 1,416
ForecastFootnote 2 for fiscal years 2020 to 2025
Disability Pension RecipientsFootnote 1 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024-25
Veterans 50,100 47,300 44,800 42,700 40,700
Survivors 39,500 36,600 33,900 31,300 28,900
Total: Recipients 89,600 83,900 78,700 74,000 69,600
Attendance Allowance 6,700 6,300 5,900 5,600 5,400
Exceptional Incapacity Allowance 1,500 1,400 1,300 1,300 1,200
Clothing Allowance 1,400 1,400 1,300 1,300 1,200

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.3 Disability Pension Expenditures

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Disability Pension Expenditures (in $ millions) 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Veteran Pensions $768.8 $729.0 $689.9 $676.6 $647.6
Survivor Pensions $548.2 $517.2 $488.3 $454.5 $432.7
Subtotal: Pensions $1,317.1 $1,246.2 $1,178.2 $1,131.1 $1,080.4
Special Awards $88.6 $85.5 $83.7 $85.0 $84.1
Total: Pensions and Special Awards (Includes Adjustments)Footnote 3Footnote 4 $1,405.7 $1,331.7 $1,261.9 $1,216.5 $1,227.6
ForecastFootnote 5 for fiscal years 2020 to 2025
Disability Pension Expenditures (in $ millions) 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024-25
Veteran Pensions $647.2 $633.3 $620.5 $611.5 $605.3
Survivor Pensions $412.7 $392.8 $373.9 $355.3 $337.1
Subtotal: Pensions $1,059.9 $1,026.1 $994.3 $966.8 $942.4
Special Awards $88.0 $87.4 $84.1 $81.6 $79.5
Total: Pensions and Special AwardsFootnote 6 $1,147.8 $1,113.5 $1,078.4 $1,048.4 $1,021.9

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Disability Awards

Under the New Veterans Charter in effect since April 1, 2006, this program recognizes and compensates eligible Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans, and in some cases surviving spouses/common-law partners and surviving children, for death, detention and non-economic effects of service related disability including pain and suffering, functional loss and the effects of permanent impairment on the lives of Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families. As of January 1, 2019, the maximum award is $374,169.60, depending on the extent of disability. Disability Awards may be paid as a lumpsum payment, annual payments over the number of years of the member/Veteran's choosing, or a combination of these two payment options. The Pain and Suffering Compensation replaced the Disability Award (DA) as the new non-taxable monthly benefit on April 1, 2019.

Table 4.4 Disability Award RecipientsFootnote 7Footnote 8

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Disability Awards 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20
Veterans 55,698 61,759 67,575 73,844 -
Survivors 1,186 1,373 1,581 2,383 -
Subtotal 56,884 63,132 69,156 76,227 -
Death Benefits 431 467 538 602 -
Total: Awards 57,315 63,599 69,694 76,829 -
ForecastFootnote 9 for fiscal years 2020 to 2025
Disability Awards 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
Disability Awards 90 80 60 50 30
Death Benefits - - - - -
Total: Awards 90 80 60 50 30

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.5 Disability Award Expenditures

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Disability Award Expenditures (in $ millions) 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18Footnote 10 2018–19Footnote 10 2019-20Footnote 10
Disability Awards $643.0 $690.0 $1,603.9 $1,306.7 $115.1
Death Benefits $17.0 $10.0 $17.5 $16.9 $0.6
Total: AwardsFootnote 11 $660.0 $700.0 $1,621.4 $1,323.7 $115.6
ForecastFootnote 12 for fiscal years 2020 to 2025
Disability Award Expenditures (in $ millions) 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25
Disability Awards $4.5 $0.6 $0.4 $0.3 $0.2
Death Benefits $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Total: Awards $4.5 $0.6 $0.4 $0.3 $0.2

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Disability Award and Disability Pension Duals

The table below provides a breakdown of Veterans and Survivors for those who receive both a Disability Pension and a Disability Award.

Table 4.6 Disability Award and Disability Pension DualsFootnote 13

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Dual Recipients 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Veterans 16,283 17,225 18,202 19,164 19,811
Survivors 914 1,068 1,133 1,280 1,447
Total: Recipients 17,197 18,293 19,335 20,444 21,258

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Disability Benefit Recipients

The table below indicates the disability class (percentage paid out) to Veterans and survivors in receipt of Disability Pension/Award as of March 31, 2020.

The links below provide the rate tables for which the percentages are paid at:

Table 4.7 Recipients by Disability Class as of March 31, 2020

Veteran and Survivor Recipients by Disability Class
Disability Class Veterans Survivors
Disability
Pension
(DP) Only
Disability
Pension and Award /
Pain and Suffering Award
Disability Award /
Pain and Suffering
Compensation
Award Only
Total
Disability
Disability
Benefits
Class 1
(98%-100%)
1,738 3,088 1,627 6,453 4,105
Class 2
(93%-97%)
271 527 383 1,181 209
Class 3
(88%-92%)
361 626 478 1,465 269
Class 4
(83%-87%)
438 635 558 1,631 296
Class 5
(78%-82%)
601 719 675 1,995 543
Class 6
(73%-77%)
690 726 737 2,153 479
Class 7
(68%-72%)
796 828 880 2,504 649
Class 8
(63%-67%)
890 825 1,117 2,832 695
Class 9
(58%-62%)
1,188 853 1,236 3,277 989
Class 10
(53%-57%)
1,267 900 1,617 3,784 965
Class 11
(48%-52%)
1,817 918 1,826 4,561 1,916
Class 12
(43%-47%)
1,689 1,021 1,920 4,630 1,032
Class 13
(38%-42%)
2,484 1,066 2,408 5,958 1,935
Class 14
(33%-37%)
2,460 1,169 2,609 6,238 2,144
Class 15
(28%-32%)
3,502 1,264 3,519 8,285 3,395
Class 16
(23%-27%)
4,008 1,281 3,983 9,272 4,116
Class 17
(18%-22%)
4,817 1,225 5,256 11,298 4,855
Class 18
(13%-17%)
4,548 1,137 6,601 12,286 3,798
Class 19
(8%-12%)
6,318 787 10,465 17,570 4,675
Class 20
(5%-7%)
5,713 217 8,453 14,383 5,163
Class 21
(1%-4%)
2,130 18 3,647 5,795 71
Nil Assessments 261 0 0 261 2,356
Not Available 28 0 0 28 0
Total 48,015 19,830 59,995 127,840 44,655

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.8 Most Common Medical ConditionsFootnote 14 (Fiscal Year 2019-20)

The table below is based on the number of Veterans who received a favourable decision for the medical condition related to their service.

Ranking All Veterans Canadian Armed Forces Veterans RCMP Veterans Afghanistan VeteransFootnote 15
1. Hearing Loss Tinnitus Hearing Loss Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
2. Tinnitus Hearing Loss Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Tinnitus
3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Tinnitus Hearing Loss
4. Lumbar Disc Disease Lumbar Disc Disease Lumbar Disc Disease Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression
5. Osteoarthritis Knee Osteoarthritis Knee Cervical Disc Disease Erectile Dysfunction
6. Internal Derangement Knee Internal Derangement Knee Osteoarthritis Knee Lumbar Disc Disease
7. Cervical Disc Disease Cervical Disc Disease Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression Obstructive Sleep Apnoea Syndrome
8. Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine Internal Derangement Knee Adjustment Disorder
9. Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine Osteoarthritis Hip Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine Anxiety Disorders, including Panic Disorder
10. Osteoarthritis Hip Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain Osteoarthritis Hip Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.9 Most Common Conditions – First Applications Completed (Fiscal Year 2019-20)

The table below represents the number of decisions for fiscal year 2019-20 for each medical condition. Decisions are based on evidence presented and legislated eligibility requirements.

Medical Conditions # of
Favourable
Decisions
% of
Favourable
Decisions
# of
Unfavourable
Decisions
% of
Unfavourable
Decisions
Total
Decisions
Tinnitus 5,410 85% 953 15% 6,363
Hearing Loss 3,302 57% 2,507 43% 5,809
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 2,558 97% 88 3% 2,646
Arthrosis of Knee 937 84% 185 16% 1,122
Osteoarthritis Knee 965 84% 190 16% 1,155
Depressive Disorders 666 95% 36 5% 702
Lumbar Disc Disease 655 89% 83 11% 738
Osteoarthritis Hip 791 81% 183 19% 974
Cervical Disc Disease 549 79% 143 21% 692
Osteoarthritis Shoulder Joint 444 74% 152 26% 596

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.10 Disability Benefits (First Application) Decisions and Favourable Rates

The table below provides the number of decisions rendered on first applications. Note that one application may have multiple conditions listed.

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
First Applications 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Favourable (Approved) Decisions 17,174 15,445 17,648 18,729 20,593
Unfavourable (Denied) Decisions 3,279 3,242 3,516 4,131 4,739
Total: Applications – Decisions RenderedFootnote 16 20,453 18,687 21,164 22,860 25,332
Favourable Rate (Dockets) % 84% 83% 83% 82% 81%
Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Medical Conditions 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
Favourable (Approved) Conditions 24,802 22,567 27,715 26,077 29,110
Unfavourable (Denied) Conditions 8,543 8,281 7,967 8,463 9,161
Total: Conditions – Decisions Rendered 33,345 30,848 35,682 34,540 38,271
Favourable Rate (Conditions) % 74% 73% 78% 75% 76%

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Critical Injury Benefit (CIB)

The Critical Injury Benefit provides a tax-free lump sum award for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans who sustained a service-related injury (or developed an acute disease) that occurred as a result of a sudden and single incident after March 31, 2006. This benefit is in recognition of the immediate pain and suffering experienced after the traumatic incident.

Table 4.11 Critical Injury Benefit Recipients and Expenditures

Actuals for fiscal years 2015 to 2020 as of March 31, 2020
Critical Injury Benefit 2015–16 2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019-20
RecipientsFootnote 17 113 35 16 9 11
Expenditures (in $ millions) $7.9 $2.5 $1.2 $0.7 $0.8
ForecastFootnote 18 for fiscal years 2020 to 2025
Critical Injury Benefit 2020–21 2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024-25
RecipientsFootnote 19 14 16 16 17 20
Expenditures (in $ millions) $1.2 $1.3 $1.3 $1.4 $1.5

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

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