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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

Disability Benefits Recipients Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Veterans 109,338 109,460 110,848 112,631 114,888 118,900
Survivors 51,999 49,776 46,386 43,428 39,419 37,276
Subtotal: Veterans and Survivors 161,337 159,236 157,234 156,059 154,307 156,176
RCMP 13,424 14,371 15,328 16,436 17,867 19,974
Total: Recipients 174,761 173,607 172,562 172,495 172,174 176,150

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Disability Pensions (DP)

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

Disability Pension RecipientsFootnote 1 Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Veterans 64,804 60,087 56,168 52,177 49,365 47,267
Survivors 51,227 48,790 45,283 40,704 38,189 35,869
Total: Recipients 116,031 108,877 101,451 92,881 87,554 83,136
Attendance Allowance 6,732 6,315 6,466 6,060 5,914  
Exceptional Incapacity Allowance 1,524 1,507 1,517 1,422 1,357  
Clothing Allowance 1,369 1,374 1,415 1,416 1,487  
Disability Pension RecipientsFootnote 1 ForecastFootnote 2
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26
Veterans 47,500 45,500 43,600 41,700 40,000
Survivors 35,400 33,000 30,700 28,500 26,400
Total: Recipients 82,900 78,500 74,300 70,200 66,400
Attendance Allowance 6,000 6,100 6,100 6,100 6,100
Exceptional Incapacity Allowance 1,400 1,400 1,400 1,400 1,300
Clothing Allowance 1,500 1,500 1,500 1,400 1,400

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.3 Disability Pension Expenditures

Disability Pension Expenditures (in $ millions) Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Veteran Pensions $729.0 $689.9 $676.6 $647.6 $639.9 n/aFootnote 4
Survivor Pensions $517.2 $488.3 $454.5 $432.7 $405.9 n/aFootnote 4
Subtotal: Pensions $1,246.2 $1,178.2 $1,131.1 $1,080.4 $1,045.8 n/aFootnote 4
Total Special Awards $85.5 $83.7 $85.0 $84.1 $81.7 n/aFootnote 4
Total: Pensions and Special Awards (Includes Adjustments and Corrective Payments)Footnote 3Footnote 4Footnote 5 $1,331.7 $1,261.9 $1,216.5 $1,227.6 $1,125.5 $843.4
Disability Pension Expenditures (in $ millions) ForecastFootnote 6
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26
Veteran Pensions $644.6 $641.0 $634.5 $629.1 $625.1
Survivor Pensions $386.6 $367.2 $348.4 $329.8 $315.2
Subtotal: Pensions $1,031.3 $1,008.2 $982.9 $958.9 $940.3
Total Special Awards $81.5 $83.5 $84.9 $86.2 $87.7
Total: Pensions and Special AwardsFootnote 7 $1,112.7 $1,091.7 $1,067.8 $1,045.1 $1,028.1

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Disability Awards (DA)

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 lump-sum 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 8Footnote 9

Disability Awards Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Veterans 61,759 67,575 73,844 - - N/A
Survivors 1,373 1,581 2,383 - - N/A
Subtotal 63,132 69,156 76,227 - - N/A
Death Benefits 467 538 602 - - N/A
Total: Awards 63,599 69,694 76,829 - - N/A
Disability Awards ForecastFootnote 10
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26
Disability Awards - - - - -
Death Benefits - - - - -
Total: Awards - - - - -

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.5 Disability Award Expenditures

Disability Award Expenditures (in $ millions) Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 20211Footnote 11
2016–17 2017–18Footnote 11 2018–19Footnote 11 2019–20Footnote 11 2020–21Footnote 11
Disability Awards $690.0 $1,603.9 $1,306.7 $115.1 $2.8 n/aFootnote 12
Death Benefits $10.0 $17.5 $16.9 $0.6 $0.3 n/aFootnote 12
Total: AwardsFootnote 12 $700.0 $1,621.4 $1,323.7 $115.6 $3.0 $1.4
Disability Award Expenditures (in $ millions) ForecastFootnote 13
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26
Disability Awards $2.4 $0.9 $0.3 $0.1 $0.0
Death Benefits - - - - -
Total: Awards $2.4 $0.9 $0.3 $0.1 $0.0

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 14

Dual Recipients Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021Footnote 15
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Veterans 17,225 18,202 19,164 19,811 19,642 21,295
Survivors 1,068 1,133 1,280 1,447 1,758 1,970
Total: RecipientsFootnote 15 18,293 19,335 20,444 21,258 21,400 23,265

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 December 31, 2021.

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

Table 4.7 Recipients by Disability Class as of December 31, 2021Footnote 16

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%)
1,985 4,099 2,682 8,766 3,905
Class 2
(93%-97%)
333 658 643 1,634 188
Class 3
(88%-92%)
439 707 730 1,876 235
Class 4
(83%-87%)
511 729 847 2,087 280
Class 5
(78%-82%)
670 807 970 2,447 489
Class 6
(73%-77%)
758 859 1,146 2,763 401
Class 7
(68%-72%)
890 910 1,342 3,142 572
Class 8
(63%-67%)
1,030 880 1,581 3,491 627
Class 9
(58%-62%)
1,296 991 1,757 4,044 879
Class 10
(53%-57%)
1,434 961 2,234 4,629 859
Class 11
(48%-52%)
2,149 985 2,573 5,707 1,610
Class 12
(43%-47%)
1,868 1,081 2,616 5,565 935
Class 13
(38%-42%)
2,604 1,116 3,219 6,939 1,732
Class 14
(33%-37%)
2,382 1,159 3,496 7,037 1,909
Class 15
(28%-32%)
2,954 1,238 4,230 8,422 2,966
Class 16
(23%-27%)
3,280 1,188 4,594 9,062 3,607
Class 17
(18%-22%)
3,956 1,120 6,066 11,142 4,189
Class 18
(13%-17%)
3,884 997 7,327 12,188 3,302
Class 19
(8%-12%)
5,357 678 11,225 17,260 3,966
Class 20
(5%-7%)
4,760 167 8,696 13,623 4,368
Class 21
(1%-4%)
1,782 17 3,659 5,458 73
Nil Assessments 197 0 0 197 1,579
Not Available 0 0 0 0 0
Total 44,519 21,327 71,633 137,479 38,671

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.8 Most Common Medical ConditionsFootnote 17 (Fiscal Year 2020–21)

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 18
1. Hearing Loss Hearing Loss Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
2. Tinnitus Tinnitus Tinnitus Tinnitus
3. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Hearing Loss Hearing Loss
4. Lumbar Disc Disease Lumbar Disc Disease Lumbar Disc Disease Lumbar Disc Disease
5. Osteoarthritis Knee Osteoarthritis Knee Osteoarthritis Knee Cervical Disc Disease
6. Cervical Disc Disease Cervical Disc Disease Cervical Disc Disease Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression
7. Internal Derangement Knee Internal Derangement Knee Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain
8. Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression Depressive Disorders, including Dysthymia and Major Depression Internal Derangement Knee Osteoarthritis Knee
9. Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine Osteoarthritis Lumbar Spine Internal Derangement Knee
10. Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain Osteoarthritis Hip Erectile Dysfunction

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

Table 4.9 Most Common Conditions – First Applications Completed (Fiscal Year 2020–21)

The table below represents the number of decisions for fiscal year 2020-21 for each medical condition. Decisions are based on evidence presented and legislated eligibility requirements.

Medical Conditions Favourable Decisions Unfavourable Decisions Total
Decisions
# of
Favourable
Decisions
% of
Favourable
Decisions
# of
Unfavourable
Decisions
% of
Unfavourable
Decisions
Tinnitus 4,927 90% 574 10% 5,501
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder 3,475 96% 140 4% 3,615
Hearing Loss 2,860 67% 1,411 33% 4,271
Depressive Disorders 794 95% 45 5% 839
Lumbar Disc Disease 731 88% 96 12% 827
Osteoarthritis Knee 588 84% 108 16% 696
Osteoarthritis Hip 545 82% 119 18% 664
Adjustment Disorder 498 94% 31 6% 529
Cervical Disc Disease 438 76% 139 24% 577
Arthrosis of Knee 414 81% 98 19% 512

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.

Applications
First Applications Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Favourable (Approved) Decisions 15,445 17,648 18,729 20,593 20,773 25,252
Unfavourable (Denied) Decisions 3,242 3,516 4,131 4,739 3,607 2,409
Total: Applications – Decisions RenderedFootnote 19 18,687 21,164 22,860 25,332 24,380 27,661
Favourable Rate (Dockets) % 83% 83% 82% 81% 85% 91%
Medical Conditions
First Applications Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
Favourable (Approved) Conditions 22,567 27,715 26,077 29,110 27,497 36,885
Unfavourable (Denied) Conditions 8,281 7,967 8,463 9,161 6,986 4,375
Total: Conditions – Decisions Rendered 30,848 35,682 34,540 38,271 34,483 41,260
Favourable Rate (Conditions) % 73% 78% 75% 76% 80% 89%

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

Critical Injury Benefit Actuals as of March 31, 2021 YTD
Dec 2021
2016–17 2017–18 2018–19 2019–20 2020–21
RecipientsFootnote 20 35 16 9 11 18 10
Expenditures (in $ millions) $2.5 $1.2 $0.7 $0.8 $1.4 $0.8
Critical Injury Benefit ForecastFootnote 21
2021–22 2022–23 2023–24 2024–25 2025–26
Recipients 21 17 16 16 16
Expenditures (in $ millions) $1.7 $1.4 $1.3 $1.4 $1.4

Source: Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Services Branch

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