2018-19 Service Standards Results

Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to providing you with quality service in a timely manner and this is monitored through our service standards. Our service standards tell you how long you can expect it will take our staff to provide a service or make a decision. Each year we review our service standards to ensure we are measuring the services and benefits that matter most to our Veterans and their families.

Current Service Standard and 2018–19 Results
Accessing Services
When you... You can... Target 2018–19 Results
Call our National Contact Centre Network (1-866-522-2122) You can expect to be connected with the next available analyst within 2 minutes. 80% 36%
Note: Staffing challenges continued to be the main issue as NCCN analysts moved to other positions within the Department to support Pension For Life initiatives. With an increased effort to stabilize our workforce, VAC was able to decrease the average call wait time to speak with an analyst from 5 minutes and 30 seconds in 2018-19 to 1 minute and 48 seconds as of December 31, 2019. VAC also saw significant growth in the number of My VAC Account secure messages which analysts respond to. Close to 150,000 messages were received in 2018-19; a 60% increase from 2017-18 and a 180% increase since 2016-17.
Applying for ProgramsFootnote 1
When you apply for VAC's... Your decision will be made within... Target 2018–19 Results
Disability Benefits 16 weeks. 80% 37%
Note: Since 2015, VAC has seen an increase of more than 60% in disability benefit applications; including an increase of more than 90% in first applications. In 2018-2019, the overall volume of claims completed by the Department increased by 15%. However, these gains are being outpaced by the number of Veterans applying for disability benefits. VAC continues to improve the disability benefits process, simplify the decision-making for certain medical conditions, and work with our partners to speed up access to service health records. Applications continue to be fast tracked for those who are medically at risk or, have an immediate, unmet health need related to their claimed condition.
Long Term Care Program 10 weeks. 80% 88%
Rehabilitation Program 2 weeks. 80% 76%
Note: Going forward, VAC anticipates performance against service standards to improve as additional staff, hired in 2017-2018, are now fully trained and are gaining proficiency. We have worked to enhance online services which will improve these results as well.
Career Transition Services 4 weeks. 80% 92%
Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB) 4 weeks. 80% 93%
Health Benefits Program (Public Service Health Care Plan) 4 weeks. 80% 34%
Note: The primary reason for not meeting this service standard is related to the need to confirm Veteran eligibility as a Department of National Defense pensioner. This confirmation takes approximately 12-16 weeks and is impacted by the time it takes a releasing member to finalize their choice about options they have related to their Superannuation (note: anyone who has more than 2 years of military service is required to make this decision). VAC is working with the PSHCP contract owners to find ways to streamline these processes for our Veterans.
War Veterans Allowance Program 4 weeks. 80% 85%
Attendance Allowance 6 weeks. 80% 89%
Reviewing a previous decision
Disability Benefits Program - Bureau of Pensions Advocates (BPA) Target 2018–19 Results
You can expect your case to be ready for hearing 21 weeks from the date of your first contact with the Bureau of Pensions Advocates, less any delays in obtaining necessary medical or other supporting information. 75% 63%
Note: Over 2018-19, BPA’s intake was up 13 percent, with an overall increase in output by 15 percent. This is encouraging and is due to both additional temporary resources and an increased focus on streamlining and simplifying our processes. Every year BPA deals with a handful of cases that are considerably older and already beyond the service standard target. That said, with the current number of cases pending at 10,538 (as of March 2, 2020), coupled with a growing intake, meeting the 75% target will continue to be a challenge. Other factors affecting our ability to achieve our service standard include an increase in benefit decisions, more complex cases, and an increase in evidence required by decision makers to prove a claim. BPA will continue to streamline and simplify its processes to ensure we are providing timely service to Veterans.
All other programs Target 2018–19 Results
If you are dissatisfied with a decision you received for any program other than Disability Benefits, National First and/or Second Level of Appeal we will complete a review of that decision within 12 weeks of receiving your written request for review. 80% 73%
Note: In 2018-19, VAC saw an increase in the number of requests for appeals, compared to 2017-18 (2,827 in 2018-19 compared to 2,767 in 2017-18). The Department also saw a corresponding increase in the number of appeals completed (2,418 in 2018-19 compared to 2,371 in 2017-18). The increase in requests for appeals was partly related to program changes as the Department prepared to transition to Pension for Life programs. The most common appeals included Caregiver Relief Benefit, Education and Training Benefits and Career Impact Allowance. Our ability to achieve the service standard was also impacted by the fact that a higher proportion of appeals are complex and often require consultations with other areas of the Department. Nearing the end of the fiscal year, VAC hired five more employees to work on this influx of appeals which is expected to have a positive impact for 2019-20 as they gain proficiency.
VAC Program Recipients
Once you are eligible for VAC’s... You will... Target 2018–19 Results
Disability Benefits Program or War Veterans Allowance Program Be sent your VAC Health Care Identification Card within 6 weeks of your eligibility. 100% 100%
Veterans Independence Program Have your reimbursement processed within 10 business days of claim receipt by the contractor. 98% 100%
Rehabilitation Program Work with your case manager and develop a plan to best meet your needs within 45 days of your eligible Rehabilitation Program decision. 80% 62%
Note: VAC continued to hire new Case Managers throughout 2018-19, however, it takes time for these new staff to be trained and to take on a full caseload. VAC also received more applications than expected for the Rehabilitation Program, driven by changes to the Earnings Loss Benefits program implemented in October 2016. In addition, preparing for Pension for Life implementation also required Case Managers to complete extensive training on new programs and systems. Finally, VAC experienced delays in obtaining information from third-party service providers that is used to develop case plans. System and program changes, along with a renewed focus on case management, is expected to help us improve this service standard for 2019-2020.
Case Management Veterans
  Target 2018–19 Results
The ratio of case managed Veterans to case managers will not exceed 25:1 25:1 29:1Footnote 2
Note: The Federal Budget investments for 2019 provided additional funding to support the hiring of temporary resources to manage the surge in Veterans requiring Case Management services. The original surge in Case Managed clients was tied to an increase in VACs ELB from 75-90% and an increase in medical releases from 2013-2017. While this additional funding helped manage caseload ratios, the need for Case Management Services for our ill and injured Veterans and their families continues to outpace expectations. VAC is engaged in a multi-year project (Case Management Renewal) to modify the delivery of case management services and leverage the skill of other resources within the department.
Applying for Commemoration Programs/Services
When you request... You can expect... Target 2018–19 Results
War service medals (first issue) Your medals to be shipped within 8 weeks. 90% 100%
Replacement war service medals An entitlement decision within 8 weeks. 90% 100%
Your medals to be shipped within 4 weeks of receiving paymentFootnote 3. 90% 99%
Commemorative information, products and education material Your materials to be shipped within 2 weeks. 90% 100%
When you submit a request related to... You can expect... Target 2018–19 Results
Care and Maintenance of Veterans’ Graves A response within 5 working days. 90% 100%
Required actions to be completed within 12 months of the requestFootnote 4. 90% 90%
When you apply for... Your decision will be made within... Target 2018–19 Results
Community Engagement funding under the Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP) 12 weeks of receiving your completed application. 80% 86%
Community War Memorial funding under the Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP) 12 weeks of the posted quarterly application deadline. 80% 52%
Note: The service standard was not met during the earlier part of the year because VAC was transitioning to a new application process. Now that this approach is fully implemented, the service standard is expected to be met in 2019-20.
Means-tested funeral and burial benefits 30 calendar days. 80% 94%
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