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1.0 Introduction

The evaluation of the Financial Benefits (FB) Program, hereinafter referred to as the “Program,” was conducted in accordance with the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Multi-Year Risk-Based Evaluation Plan 2014-19. The program was last evaluated as part of an overall New Veterans Charter (NVC) Evaluation in 2010-11. As per Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) policy requirements and guidance, this evaluation examined the Program’s relevance and performance.

1.1 Program Overview

The Financial Benefits Program is a main component of the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, commonly referred to as the New Veterans Charter. The Program provides economic support to eligible Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans, survivors, and dependent children in recognition of the economic impact that a career ending and/or service-related injury or death can have on a Veteran’s ability to earn income, advance in a career or save for retirement.

When enacted in 2006, the NVC featured four Financial Benefits: Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB), Supplementary Retirement Benefit (SRB), Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS), and Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA). Later, in 2011, an increase to the PIA payable, commonly known as the PIA Supplement (PIAS) was introduced. Finally, in July 2015, the Retirement Income Support Benefit (RISB) was introduced. Table 1 describes the purpose of each benefit.

Table 1 – Financial Benefits
Benefit Purpose
Earnings Loss Benefit

A taxable monthly benefit payable in recognition of the economic impact a military career ending or service related disability may have on the Veteran’s ability to earn income following release from the CAF.Footnote 2 The ELB provides a Veteran with an income of 75% of their gross pre-release salary to ensure an annual pre-tax income of at least $42,426.

There are two types of ELBFootnote 3:

  1. Temporary Earnings Loss (TEL) – is paid while a Veteran is participating in an active Rehabilitation Plan.
  2. Extended Earnings Loss (EEL) – is paid to the Veteran until age 65, when it is determined that the Veteran is unable to engage in suitable gainful employmentFootnote 4 due to being totally and permanently incapacitatedFootnote 5 (TPI).
Supplementary Retirement Benefit A taxable, lump-sum benefit provided at age 65 to Veterans to recognize the decreased ability of disabled Veterans or their survivors to save for retirement.
Canadian Forces Income Support A tax-free monthly benefit available to ensure Veterans who are no longer eligible for the ELB (i.e., completed the Rehabilitation Program), but are unable to find employment have a level of income to meet basic needs which they are engaged in a job search. Survivors and orphans may also be eligible for the benefit.
Permanent Impairment Allowance

Permanent Impairment Allowance Supplement
A taxable, monthly allowance payable to eligible Veterans to compensate for the impact that a permanent and severe impairment has on employment potential and career progression.

A taxable, monthly benefit payable to those in receipt of the PIA who, due to the level of their disability, are not capable of suitable gainful employment.
Retirement Income Security Benefit

A taxable financial benefit that is paid monthly and provides life-long financial stability to eligible Veterans beginning at age 65.

The benefit recognizes that Veterans who are TPI may have a reduced capacity to plan sufficiently for a post-age 65 income and may become reliant on monthly financial benefits they receive.

Note: Introduced in 2015, this benefit was implemented after the evaluation framework and therefore is out of scope.

1.2 Program Eligibility

Program recipients include those who have been approved for the Rehabilitation ProgramFootnote 6, have completed the Rehabilitation Program but are not yet employed, were eligible for the Rehabilitation Program but unable to participate due to a permanent and severe impairmentFootnote 7, or have received a Disability BenefitFootnote 8 for a physical or mental condition causing a permanent and severe impairment for which Rehabilitation services have been approved. Recipients can also include the survivors and dependent children of Veterans who die as a result of an injury related to, or aggravated by, their service. Eligibility requirements are described more fully in Appendix B.

1.3 Program Delivery

The Service Delivery Branch manages the Program. Processing of Program benefits involves a number of VAC staff in the field and at Head Office. Program application(s) are provided to potential recipients upon request at the National Contact Centre NetworkFootnote 9, Integrated Personnel Support Centres (IPSCs)Footnote 10 or Area Offices (AOs).

Applications and subsequent follow up for ELB, SRB and the CFIS are all processed by the Centralized Processing Centre (CPC)Footnote 11. Those receiving either ELB or CFIS are required to report income changes to VAC as soon as they occur. Changes to income may result in a recalculation of the ELB and CFIS payment amounts. An Annual Income Verification (AIV) process, also conducted by the CPC, ensures the ELB payment remains accurate. The AIV process consists of ELB recipients self-declaring and providing evidence of their income. A secondary verification process is then administered which compares the recipients’ declarations with income tax data held by the Canada Revenue Agency.

Case ManagersFootnote 12 counsel applicants on the Program and compile information about the Veteran to complete the PIA application. The application is then processed by disability adjudicators, with the amount payable depending on the extent of impairment.

Eligibility for EEL, PIAS and SRB is tied to the applicant being deemed TPI. A TPI designation also grants Earnings Loss Eligibility to age 65, regardless of participation in VAC’s Rehabilitation Program. TPI designation decisions are made by delegated VAC decision makers (i.e., the Case Manager) based on evidence available or collected from health and vocational rehabilitation professionals.

All Program payments are processed by VAC’s Finance Division.

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