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1.0 Background

The Veterans Independence Program, hereinafter referred to as the “Program”, is designed to assist qualified VeteransFootnote 1 and survivors in maintaining their independence through the provision of home and community care. As of March 31, 2014, the Program supported 101,595 Veterans and survivors and primary caregivers. The overall Program cost for 2013-2014 was $429.6 million. There were 61,829 Veterans and 39,766 survivors in receipt of benefits.Footnote 2

As per the Program Terms and Conditions, recipients must be contacted at least once annually to confirm benefits are meeting their needs. The contact method used to fulfill this obligation was the mail out of the Annual Follow-up or Survivor Renewal response form.Footnote 3 As per the Survivors – Veterans Independence Program (VIP) policy, survivors must re-apply on an annual basis to satisfy the survivor status criteria.Footnote 4 Recipients could also identify unmet health needs on the Annual Follow-up form. A referral to the appropriate Area Office for actioning is required when unmet needs are identified. The Service Delivery and Program Management Division, within Head Office, is responsible for the overall management and oversight of the Program.

In January 2013, Canada Post, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) and a third-party contractor became part of the Annual Follow-up and Survivor Renewal process. At that time, the Housekeeping and Grounds Maintenance elements of the Program were converted from reimbursement to a grant. The Annual Follow-up and Survivor Renewal forms were mailed on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) by Canada Post. Completed forms were returned to the PWGSC scanning facility to be scanned into the recipient’s Client Service Delivery Network (CSDN)Footnote 5 notebook. The third-party contractor reviews the completed forms and updated CSDN and the Federal Health Claims Processing System (FHCPS) accordingly, based on the Annual Follow-up and Survivor Renewal business processes. If a recipient did not return the form within 30 days before the end date of the Benefit Arrangement (BA), the third-party contractor would attempt to contact the recipient by telephone and, if attempts were unsuccessful, through issuance of a letter.

In February 2015, the then Minister of Veterans Affairs issued a communiqué regarding the frequency of the VIP Annual Follow-up. The Department discontinued the mail-out of Annual Follow-up forms and subsequently began contacting recipients by telephone in order to improve communication with Veterans.

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