Language selection


Search veterans.gc.ca

Disability Benefit Processing - Summary Report

Quarter One of Government Fiscal Year 2022/2023 (ending 30 June 2022)

*This report will be updated with new quarterly statistics within 90 days of the end of each quarter.

What's on this page

  1. Overview
  2. Statistics
  3. Additional Information

Overview

More and more Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members are coming forward to get the benefits and services they need to improve their well-being. Between 2015-2016 and 2021-2022, Veterans Affairs Canada experienced a 47% increase in the number of applications received for disability benefits.

To process the increased number of applications, we have hired more staff, made improvements to the application process, and simplified decision-making for some medical conditions. Temporary employees are now fully trained and have been extended to March 2024 with the $139.6 million in funding announced in February 2022.

Our priority continues to be making faster decisions on disability benefit applications. In June 2020, we released our strategic direction to address the long-standing issue of decision processing times. We have implemented and are refreshing our strategic direction document to address this long-standing issue, and regularly report on performance. The updated strategic direction document is expected to be published in Fall 2022.

We’ve made several updates to the summary report based on recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General’s spring 2022 report and the seventh report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs: Fairness in the Services offered to Francophone, Women and 2SLGBTQ2+ Veterans. With the addition of new data, we’ve re-formatted the report to make it easier to read and navigate. Please note all the information from previous reports is still available in this updated version.

Statistics

In the past four years, we completed more than 180,000 applications. In fiscal year 2020-2021, we delivered $2.2B in disability benefits to Veterans. Below, you will find data on the number of applications received, completed and pending, as well as percentages of approved applications.

Veterans and former RCMP members receiving Disability Benefits (as of 30 June 2022)
Receipt of Disability Benefits
140,553

Disability benefits are payments made to individuals for a service-related disability in one of two ways:

What is the backlog?

Total applications in the backlog
10,144 (8,127 individuals)

A complete application which has been waiting longer than our service standard is considered to be in the backlog.

Service standards are our commitment to a measurable level of performance which clients can expect under normal circumstances. Our target for disability benefits is for 80 percent of decisions to be made within 16 weeks for First Applications and Reassessments; and 12 weeks for Departmental Reviews.

What is the total number of pending disability benefit applications?

Total number of pending disability benefit applications
Incomplete applications needing more information Applications ready for assignment Complete applications ready for a decision - within service standard Complete applications ready for a decision - outside service standard Total
As of 31 Mar 2019 (Q4) 13,564 N/A 9,862 16,879 40,305 (29,964 individuals)
As of 30 Sept 2019 (Q2) 18,330 N/A 3,074 23,260 44,664 (30,367 individuals)
As of 31 Dec 2019 (Q3) 20,995 N/A 4,980 20,233 46,208 (33,320 individuals)
As of 31 Mar 2020 (Q4) 22,545 N/A 4,533 22,138 49,216 (39,240 individuals)
As of 30 Jun 2020 (Q1) 12,125 9,244 2,355 21,572 45,296 (33,464 individuals)
As of 30 Sept 2020 (Q2) 12,739 9,467 3,678 19,633 45,517 (33,388 individuals)
As of 31 Dec 2020 (Q3) 14,446 9,647 4,227 16,346 44,666 (32,949 individuals)
As of 31 Mar 2021 (Q4) 13,933 10,290 3,790 15,214 43,227 (31,937 individuals)
As of 30 Jun 2021 (Q1) 12,546 7,950 4,425 15,113 40,034 (29,754 individuals)
As of 30 Sept 2021 (Q2) 12,012 3,439 4,488 16,307 36,246 (27,189 individuals)
As of 31 Dec 2021 (Q3) 12,381 2,147 5,202 14,115 33,845 (26,216 individuals)
As of 31 March 2022 (Q4) 12,420 1,943 4,843 11,619 30,825 (23,160 individuals)
As of 30 June 2022 (Q1) 12,905 1,914 4,392 10,144 29,355 (22,381 individuals)

Note: Q1 2019 data is not available due to upgrades to our application tracking software.

There are three types of pending applications in the table above:

1) Incomplete application stage

In most cases, applications at this stage are missing information such as proof of identity, signed forms or required medical questionnaires.

As of 30 June 2022, we had 12,905 incomplete applications.

2) Applications ready for assignment stage

During this stage, most of these applications are waiting to be assigned. An administrative decision-maker looks at the application to determine whether or not the condition is straightforward. If it is, they will make a decision. If the condition is more complex, the application is moved to a nurse decision-maker.

As of 30 June 2022, we had 1,914 applications awaiting assignment.

3) Complete applications waiting for a decision stage

These are completed applications working through the process.

As of 30 June 2022, there were 14,536 complete applications ready for a decision.

Incomplete applications + applications ready for assignment + complete applications = 29,355 applications pending (as of 30 June 2022)

Historical summary - Applications received and processed

Chart description is below
Chart 1: Disability Benefit Applications by Fiscal Quarter (2017-2022)
2017 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2018 Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4 2020 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Q4 2021 Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Q3 2021 Q4 2022 Q1
Incomplete Applications (need more information) 11,032 12,158 12,899 13,713 16,188 15,634 14,732 13,564 18,330 20,995 22,545 12,125 12,739 14,446 13,933 12,546 12,012 12,381 12,420 12,905
Ready for Assignment n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 9,244 9,467 9,647 10,290 7,950 3,439 2,147 1,943 1,914
Complete applications ready for a decision - within service standard 6,865 6,731 6,640 6,511 8,463 9,101 8,972 9,862 3,074 4,980 4,533 2,355 3,678 4,227 3,790 4,425 4,488 5,202 4,843 4,392
Complete applications waiting for a decision - outside service standard 6,645 8,714 10,136 10,591 11,288 14,022 15,863 16,879 23,260 20,233 22,138 21,572 19,633 16,346 15,214 15,113 16,307 14,115 11,619 10,144
Total 24,542 27,603 29,675 30,815 35,939 38,757 39,567 40,305 44,664 46,208 49,216 45,296 45,517 44,666 43,227 40,034 36,246 33,845 30,825 29,355
2017 Q1 2017 Q2 2017 Q3 2017 Q4 2018 Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4 2019 Q2 2019 Q3 2019 Q4 2020 Q1 2020 Q2 2020 Q3 2020 Q4 2021 Q1 2021 Q2 2021 Q3 2021 Q4 2022 Q1
Applications Received 13,661 12,302 12,130 14,170 16,619 13,614 15,373 15,318 17,045 14,781 14,531 8,154 9,827 12,462 13,704 15,165 14,436 18,947 17,872 17,289
Applications Completed 8,625 8,083 8,733 10,997 9,905 8,820 12,180 10,877 12,133 8,905 9,510 9,550 7,380 10,904 11,795 13,785 12,652 14,610 15,028 13,408

*Note: Data for Q1 2019 was not available due to upgrades to our application tracking software.

Applications Received
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review Total
1 Jan 2019 - 31 Mar 2019 9,173 4,834 1,274 15,281
1 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019 10,855 4,577 1,264 16,699
1 Jul 2019 - 30 Sept 2019 12,289 3,785 1,045 17,119
1 Oct 2019 - 31 Dec 2019 10,187 3,543 1,053 14,783
1 Jan 2020 - 31 Mar 2020 10,062 3,584 886 14,532
1 Apr 2020 - 30 Jun 2020 5,702 2,217 235 8,154
1 Jul 2020 - 30 Sept 2020 6,693 2,875 259 9,827
1 Oct 2020 - 31 Dec 2020 8,285 3,590 587 12,462
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Mar 2021 10,124 3,091 489 13,704
1 Apr 2021 - 30 Jun 2021 10,848 3,325 992 15,165
1 Jul 2021 - 30 Sept 2021 10,719 2,870 847 14,436
1 Oct 2021 - 31 Dec 2021 14,346 3,775 826 18,947
1 Jan 2022 - 31 Mar 2022 13,316 3,801 755 17,872
1 Apr 2022 - 30 Jun 2022 12,661 3,929 699 17,289

Individuals applying for a Reassessment have previously received a favourable decision for the same disability. This allows them to access treatment benefits, which provide coverage for things such as prescriptions, medical equipment, nursing services and appointments with specialists.

If the Veteran disagrees with a First Application or Reassessment decision and has new evidence to present, they may request a review or appeal.

Applications Received by Sex

Applications Received by Sex - Male
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 8,781 2,492 768
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 11,645 3,233 752
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 10,820 3,346 649
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 10,254 3,432 598
Applications Received by Sex - Female
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1,909 373 77
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 2,651 538 73
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 2,449 449 103
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 2,381 491 100

Please note: the numbers of applications received for male and female will not equal to the total number received. This is because the information is not available for a small number of applications (e.g. the applicant did not specify, data entry errors)

Applications Received by Language

Applications Received by Language - English
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 9,160 2,482 761
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 12,018 3,152 741
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 11,290 3,101 668
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 10,433 3,225 557
Applications Received by Language - French
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1,550 387 86
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 2,300 622 85
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1,992 699 87
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 2,213 703 142

Please note that the numbers for French and English applications received will not equal to the total number of applications received. This is because the language details are not available for a small number of applications (e.g., the applicant did not specify, data entry errors, etc.).

Applications Received by Service

Applications Received by Service - Veterans and CAF members
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 8,643 2,446 741
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 11,163 3,358 719
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 10,481 3,311 644
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 10,421 3,422 594
Applications Received by Service - RCMP
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 2,076 424 106
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 3,183 417 107
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 2,835 490 111
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 2,240 507 105
Decisions made
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review Total
1 Jan 2019 - 31 Mar 2019 5,429 4,6424 806 10,877
1 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019 6,777 4,328 559 11,664
1 Jul 2019 - 30 Sept 2019 7,210 4,537 429 12,176
1 Oct 2019 - 31 Dec 2019 5,826 2,563 516 8,905
1 Jan 2020 - 31 Mar 2020 5,519 3,325 666 9,510
1 Apr 2020 - 30 Jun 2020 5,987 3,293 270 9,550
1 Jul 2020 - 30 Sept 2020 5,130 1,351 899 7,380
1 Oct 2020 - 31 Dec 2020 6,840 2,774 1,290 10,904
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Mar 2021 6,845 4,426 524 11,795
1 Apr 2021 - 30 Jun 2021 10,005 3,352 428 13,785
1 Jul 2021 - 30 Sept 2021 9,421 2,872 359 12,652
1 Oct 2021 - 31 Dec 2021 10,651 3,004 955 14,610
1 Jan 2022 - 31 Mar 2022 11,180 3,180 668 15,028
1 Apr 2022 - 30 Jun 2022 9,496 3,304 608 13,408

When we have made a decision on an application and the Veteran has been informed, the application is considered finalized.

Decisions made by sex

Decisions made by sex - Male
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 7,726 2,487 314
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 8,545 2,625 876
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 9,171 2,755 593
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 7,820 2,878 536
Decisions made by sex - Female
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1,664 382 44
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 2,074 374 79
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1,980 422 73
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 1,647 419 71

Please note that the number of decisions made for the male and female applications will not equal to the total number of decisions made. This is because these details are not available for a small number of applications (e.g., a VAC staff member did not enter the information, etc.).

Decisions made by language

Decisions made by language - English
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 7,942 2,461 321
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 9,062 2,534 877
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 9,309 2,579 569
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 7,800 2,707 543
Decisions made by language - French
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1,472 411 38
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1,576 469 78
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1,853 601 99
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 1,684 595 65

Please note that the numbers for French and English decisions will not equal to the total number decisions made. This is because this language details are not available for a small number of applications (e.g., the applicant did not provide those details, a VAC staff member did not enter the information, etc.).

Decisions made by service

Decisions made by service - Veterans and CAF members
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 7,730 2,406 328
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 8,536 2,606 847
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 8,348 2,760 584
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 7,577 2,865 515
Decisions made by service - RCMP
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1,691 466 31
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 2,115 398 108
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 2,832 420 84
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 1,919 439 93
Completed conditions - complex vs straightforward
Complex conditions Straightforward conditions
As of 30 June 2021 31% 69%
As of 30 September 2021 34% 66%
As of 31 December 2021 47% 53%
As of 31 March 2022 49% 51%
As of 30 June 2022 49% 51%

Not all conditions can be processed at the same speed. One factor which can slow the processing of a condition is its complexity.

Put simply, a straightforward condition is one which does not need to be reviewed by someone with a medical background. Conditions can be complex for a number of reasons. Sometimes, the medical condition itself is complex—like a rare cancer. Other times, evidence or circumstances surrounding the condition are complex. It may also be difficult to establish a link between the condition and the applicant’s service.

Percentage of approved applications
First Application Reassessment Departmental Review
1 Jan 2019 - 31 Mar 2019 81% 75% 83%
1 Apr 2019 - 30 Jun 2019 85% 73% 79%
1 Jul 2019 - 30 Sept 2019 85% 78% 81%
1 Oct 2019 - 31 Dec 2019 78% 57% 78%
1 Jan 2020 - 31 Mar 2020 76% 63% 76%
1 Apr 2020 - 30 Jun 2020 76% 77% 82%
1 Jul 2020 - 30 Sept 2020 85% 69% 89%
1 Oct 2020 - 31 Dec 2020 85.7% 74.3% 76.2%
1 Jan 2021 - 31 Mar 2021 81.4% 72.7% 78.1%
1 Apr 2021 - 30 Jun 2021 81.5% 73.0% 72.9%
1 Jul 2021 - 30 Sept 2021 83.8% 71.8% 76.8%
1 Oct 2021 - 31 Dec 2021 83.1% 73.8% 86.1%
1 Jan 2022 - 31 Mar 2022 79.7% 72.8% 84.1%
1 Apr 2022 - 30 Jun 2022 77.7% 73.5% 84.4%
Levels of disability among Veterans
Assessment Level
0-20% (low) 20-40% 40-60% 60-80% 80-100% (high)
January 2022 43.3% 23.0% 14.6% 8.6% 10.5%
March 2022 42.4% 22.9% 15.0% 8.8% 10.9%
June 2022 43.9% 22.5% 15.1% 8.7% 9.7%

Once we determine a confirmed disability is service-related, we look at the severity and its impact on quality of life. Using this information and the Table of Disabilities, we assign an assessment level ranging from 0-100%.

For example, a Veteran assessed at 100% may have a disability which is severe and impacts their quality of life significantly. A Veteran may also have a combination of disabilities which amount to a 100% assessment level.

Above is a summary of how many Veterans are currently receiving disability benefits based on different assessment levels. As the table shows, about three quarters of Veterans are assessed at levels of disability less than 40%. Less than 10% of Veterans are assessed at 80% or above.

Average processing times

Based on a recommendation from the Office of the Auditor General's spring report, we've updated how we define processing times. As of 1 April 2022, the processing time represents the time between when we receive a complete application and when a payment is made (completed date). Previously, processing times showed the time between when we received a complete application and when a decision is made (decision date). Both the average and median times within this report, even those prior to 1 April 2022, have been calculated using the new method to allow for accurate comparisons from one quarter to another.

Note: To start counting the processing time, we must first have all required information from the applicant. Please see our Wait time tool for processing times across various programs, updated weekly.

Median processing time for first applications
Date Processing time (in weeks) – decision date Processing time (in weeks) – completed date
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 19.7 22.1
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 26.6 27.9
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 16.1 17.1
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 11.9 12.7
Average processing time for first applications
Date Processing time (in weeks) – decision date Processing time (in weeks) – completed date
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 42.0 43.5
1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 41.2 42.5
1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 34.8 36.1
1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022 30.7 31.9

Average application processing time by sex

The Department has a Veteran Benefit Team dedicated to processing applications from female Veterans/members. This team is developing expertise to ensure we can systematically address the current barriers and close the gap in processing times for female and male applicants. This approach is improving processing times for female applicants.

Median processing times (in weeks) by sex for first applications
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
Male 21.4 30.0 17.3 12.6
Female 24.7 24.3 17.0 13.3
Average processing times (in weeks) by sex for first applications
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
Male 43.4 43.1 36.3 31.9
Female 44.2 40.6 35.4 32.3

Average application processing time by language

We are looking closely at the longer processing times for applications from Francophone Veterans to determine how this can be improved.

This quarter, applications received in French represented approximately 18% of total applications received. Approximately 30% of the Department's staff that make disability benefit decisions are either French or bilingual. In addition, the Department recently hired more bilingual and Francophone Disability Adjudicators to increase our capacity to process French applications and bring the average processing times for English and French applications closer to parity.

Median processing times (in weeks) by language for first applications
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
English 19.9 26.6 15.7 11.0
French 67.4 39.6 30.0 24.8
Average processing times (in weeks) by language for first applications
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
English 41.0 41.5 34.7 29.5
French 57.1 48.4 43.5 42.8

Average application processing time for Veterans, CAF members and RCMP

We administer disability benefits on behalf of the RCMP.

Processing times (in weeks) for Veterans and CAF members for first applications
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
Median 22.1 25.7 15.1 12.1
Average 44.6 42.1 36.4 31.9
Processing times (in weeks) for RCMP for first applications
1 Jul 2021 – 30 Sept 2021 1 Oct 2021 – 31 Dec 2021 1 Jan 2022 – 31 Mar 2022 1 Apr 2022 – 30 Jun 2022
Median 22.0 36.1 23.4 14.9
Average 38.8 44.4 35.2 31.7

Additional Information

Veterans Affairs Canada Statistics - Facts and Figures

Veterans Affairs Canada Service Standards Results

Date modified: