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2020-21 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 under normal circumstances. Special circumstances where regular service standards may not apply include holidays, natural disasters, or emergencies as these are not within our control.

Some of our standard processing times were significantly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Current Service Standard and 2020-21 Results
Accessing Services
When you... You can... Target 2020-21 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% 85%
Applying for ProgramsFootnote 1
When you apply for VAC's... Your decision will be made within... Target 2020-21 Results
Disability Pension / Pain and Suffering Compensation 16 weeks. 80% 30%
Note: Between 2015-16 and 2019-20, Veterans Affairs Canada experienced a 40% increase in disability benefit applications, including an increase of more than 75% in first applications. In 2020-21, applications received by VAC returned to 2015-16 levels, possibly due to the pandemic. In June 2020, the Department published Timely Disability Benefits Decisions: Strategic Direction for Improving Wait Times. The plan outlines four ways to reduce processing times: Increasing Public Service Capacity, Improving Integration, Process Innovation and Digital Solutions. Since the release of this plan, we have made progress in improving our production rate. This is being seen in early results for 2021-22 which show continued improvement being made toward this service standard. Applications continue to be fast tracked for those who are medically at risk (e.g., palliative, advanced age, etc.) or who have an immediate, unmet health need related to their claimed condition.
Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation 16 weeks. 80% 37%
Note: The service standard for Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation was impacted by system issues during the first two quarters of 2020-21. While this set us back, we made considerable improvement in the last two quarters. Another factor impacting results is that the department receives applications from serving Canadian Armed Forces members who are not eligible to be paid until after they have released from service. In order to better support these members, we hold their applications in a pending status until they release so we render decisions based on the most up to date information. This has a negative impact on the service standard results as these are included in the application count. The department is looking at ways to more accurately report these in future. The department will also revise communications messaging to provide clarity for front line staff, as well as Veterans and members, around the eligibility criteria for this benefit. Early results for 2021-22 indicate improvements are being made for this service standard.
Long Term Care Program 10 weeks. 80% 91%
Rehabilitation Program 2 weeks. 80% 66%
Note: The Rehabilitation Program made decisions on 4,388 applications in 2020-21. VAC introduced a new system for managing applications and met some challenges that impacted our results, specifically in cases where Veterans applied for a number of health problems with each having its own supporting documentation. It was also found that the service standard start date was not being correctly recorded (i.e. only once the completed application has been received). Training was provided to all 450 case managers and work is being undertaken to automate the input of this Service Standard start date in future.
Career Transition Program 4 weeks. 80% 92%
Income Support: (Income Replacement Benefit and Canadian Forces Income Support) 4 weeks. 80% 93%
Health Benefits Program (Public Service Health Care Plan) 4 weeks. 80% 96%
War Veterans Allowance Program 4 weeks. 80% 83%
Attendance Allowance 6 weeks. 80% 91%
Reviewing a previous decision
Disability Benefits Program - Bureau of Pensions Advocates (BPA) Target 2020-21 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% 35%
Note: The impact of COVID-19 on Bureau operations was significant. BPA had to transition all of its paper-based operations to a digital workspace and at the same time find a replacement model for in-person hearings. BPA’s initial focus was on digitizing client files, creating a secure teleconference and video-conference space for hearings and finalizing an electronic case-management system so that operations could resume. The initial impact of the pandemic resulted in a workload backlog increase of 17%. While our current output is back to 100% or more from pre-COVID levels, the age of the cases completed remains high which is impacting our ability to meet our published service standard. Our expectation is that with the digital innovations now in place we will be able to decrease our backlog and improve our service standard results for 2021-22.
All other programs Target 2020-21 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 will complete a review of that decision within 12 weeks of receiving your written request for review. 80% 55%
Note: Our ability to achieve this service standard was impacted by a high number of complex appeal cases which often required consultations with other areas of the Department. Although additional temporary resources were added to meet the demand resulting from PFL, the full staff complement was not available for the entire year. To improve results for 2021-22, VAC will fill vacant positions, continue to review staffing levels and provide enhanced training opportunities to ensure staff are knowledgeable and sufficiently resourced to manage the complexity of files and the number of requests being received. Early results for 2021-22 indicate improvements are being made for this service standard.
VAC Program Recipients
Once you are eligible for VAC’s... You will... Target 2020-21 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% 91%
Case Management Veterans
  Target 2020-21 Results
The ratio of case managed Veterans to case managers will not exceed 25:1 25:1 34:1Footnote 2
Note: The Department continues to strive to decrease the ratio of Case Managers to Veterans to bring it in line with Government of Canada commitment of a 25:1 ratio. Case Management Renewal was introduced in 2021, and will continue into the next fiscal year with a focus on improving tools, technology, processes and caseloads. This initiative aims to improve the Case Manager ratio and generate efficiencies for Case Managers, giving them the ability to spend more time with Veterans and supporting them to achieve their goals. Early results for 2021-22 show that as new practices, technology and tools are introduced, service standards results are improving.
Applying for Commemoration Programs/Services
When you request... You can expect... Target 2020-21 Results
War service medals (first issue) Your medals to be shipped within 8 weeks. 90% 92%
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% 100%
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 2020-21 Results
Care and Maintenance of Veterans’ Graves A response within 5 working days. 90% 99%
Required actions to be completed within 12 months of the requestFootnote 4. 90% 100%
When you apply for... Your decision will be made within... Target 2020-21 Results
Community Engagement funding under the Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP) 12 weeks of receiving your completed application. 80% 97%
Community War Memorial funding under the Commemorative Partnership Program (CPP) 12 weeks of the posted application deadline. 80% 87%
Means-tested funeral and burial benefits 30 calendar days. 80% 93%
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