What do I need to include in my application for a disability benefit?

A completed application for a disability benefit will show that you have a diagnosed medical condition (or disability) and that your condition is related to your service.

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An application for a disability benefit (form# PEN923) will include:

The application forms

The first sections of the form (A through D) are for your personal information (name, address, marital status, etc.). Section E is for your service information. Section F is where you detail your condition and its impact on your life, it includes two main components:

  1. Health condition details – to identify your permanent or chronic condition and to describe how your condition affects you (e.g. daily activities at home, recreation, your relationships, etc.)
  2. Your applicant statement – an opportunity to provide an explanation of how your condition is related to service. This is a key part of your application and will be an important element for determining your eligibility for disability benefits.

An effective applicant statement about your condition will answer these types of questions:

  • When and where did the event occur?
  • Did you seek medical attention?
  • Do you have a CF98 (Report on Injuries) or a witness statement related to this event?
  • Were you on leave or on duty?
  • Were you serving in a Special Duty Area or on Special Duty Operations?

If your condition was caused by more than one event, your applicant statement should identify the series of events related to your service (or to a different service-related condition) that caused your permanent or chronic condition.

Guidance and advice

If you are applying for more than one condition, your best choice is to complete a separate “Section F – Tell us about your condition” for each condition.

The completed application package will also include:

Your health records

VAC will get your service health records for you.

Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) – We will request a copy of your health records directly from the Department of National Defence or from Library and Archives Canada.

RCMP – We will get a copy of your health records and service file directly from the RCMP. Before we can do that, you need to complete the Consent for VAC to collect personal information from third parties (VAC928). On the form, you can select, ‘My complete file’ to allow the release of both your service and your medical files. If you choose ‘specific information only’, you need to indicate the name of each report. Include any specific instructions if you want to apply limits on how your records are shared with VAC.

Medical reports

Medical reports include such things as:

  • diagnostic reports
  • discharge summaries
  • consultation reports

Usually, we will get these from your service health records. If the information is not in those records, we will contact you.

If you also have medical documentation from a non-CAF or non-RCMP health professional that would support the diagnosis of your condition, please include these medical reports with your application.

Medical questionnaires

If you are still-serving, your service health records will usually have the information we require. If the information is not in those records, we will contact you.

If you have been released, we will send the relevant medical questionnaire(s) directly to you for your current doctor or health care professional to complete and sign.

There are two main ways to send us your application

Using My VAC Account

Guidance and advice

Through My VAC Account, you can apply for disability benefits using a guided web form. Guided web forms are functional, easy to use, and designed based on feedback from Veterans. Your progress is saved as you make your way through the form, so you can come back at any time to continue your application. You will only be asked questions that are relevant to your condition(s).

Sending your application by mail

Guidance and advice

If you are mailing in your application, be sure to carefully review the checklist (Section I of the application package) and the ‘before you submit your application’ section to ensure that you have included all the information we need.

How do I know I have a complete application?

A complete application for a disability benefit will have all the information we need to determine that you have a diagnosed medical condition related to your service. Read more about how we review a disability benefit claim.

Your application package may also need to include:

Third-party consent form

To have VAC communicate directly with your doctor or health professional, you need to provide a signed Consent for VAC to Collect Personal Information from Third Parties (VAC 928) with your application.

Some additional situations where this form is required include if:

  • you are a current or former member of the RCMP, or
  • you receive, have received, or are currently applying for Workers' Compensation (or similar benefit) for the same condition.

Direct Deposit form

The Direct Deposit form (VAC441) allows us to send your financial benefits directly to your bank account. If you have previously enrolled for Direct Deposit with VAC, you would only complete and return this form if you want to make changes to your banking information.

Proof of identity

If it is your first time applying for a VAC benefit, you will also need to provide your proof of identity. You can mail a copy or submit an electronic copy using My VAC Account of any of the following:

  • Driver's license (provincial)
  • Health card or another type of provincial identification card
  • Certificate of Indian Status
  • Vital statistics documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate)
  • Employee identification card (Federal, provincial or municipal)
  • Canadian passport or other federal identification card

You only need to re-submit your proof of identity if there has been a change (such as a name change, moved to another province, etc.).

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