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Questions and answers

SummaryQuestions and answers about the Veterans Emergency Fund

  1. What is the Veterans Emergency Fund?
  2. What is the purpose of the Veterans Emergency Fund?
  3. Who qualifies for the Veterans Emergency Fund?
  4. How do I apply?
  5. What information do I need to apply for the Veterans Emergency Fund?
  6. I am a Veteran’s spouse, common-law partner, survivor or orphan. Do I still need to submit the Veteran’s service information?
  7. Do I need to be receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada to apply?
  8. Can I apply for the Veterans Emergency Fund without proof of identity?
  9. What is considered an Emergency?
  10. What is considered an Essential Need?
  11. What essential needs can be covered by the Veterans Emergency Fund?
  12. Can I apply for the Veterans Emergency Fund for urgent costs related to my children?
  13. How much can I receive?
  14. How long will it take to receive a decision/payment?
  15. How will I receive the funding?
  16. I am currently living outside of Canada. Can I be approved for the Veterans Emergency Fund?
  17. Will I have to pay back the Veterans Emergency Fund payment?
  18. Can the Veterans Emergency Fund be approved for recurring payments?
  19. Can the Veterans Emergency Fund be approved to pay back borrowed funds?
  20. Can I access the Veterans Emergency Fund outside of VACs office hours?
  21. Why is the Veterans Emergency Fund not available to former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members?
  22. Can I appeal my decision?
  23. Are there other funding sources available to me if I require financial assistance?
  24. How will you assist me in the longer term?

Q1. What is the Veterans Emergency Fund?

The Veterans Emergency Fund provides quick financial assistance to Veterans and their family members whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected financial emergency.

Q2. What is the purpose of the Veterans Emergency Fund?

The Veterans Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to Veterans and their families quickly without complicated eligibility requirements and approval processes.

Q3. Who qualifies for the Veterans Emergency Fund?

You may qualify if you are a Canadian resident* and a:

  • Veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)
  • current spouse/common-law partner of a Veteran;
  • survivor of a deceased Veteran or deceased CAF member; or
  • an orphan of a deceased Veteran or deceased CAF member (or the legal guardian if the orphan is under the age of 18).

*Someone who has resided in Canada for at least 183 days in the current fiscal year (April 1-March 31).

Current and former RCMP members, who do not have previous CAF service, do not qualify for the Veterans Emergency Fund. RCMP members can apply for emergency funding through the Legion at The Legion - Financial Assistance.

Q4. How do I apply?

You can apply by submitting a Veterans Emergency Fund application (VAC 1571e/f) via:

If you have any questions or need help completing the application, please contact us at 1-866-522-2122 or send a My VAC Account secure message. A decision maker will contact you to answer your questions.

Please note: The most efficient way to apply is using My VAC Account.

Q5. What information is required to apply for the Veterans Emergency Fund?

We require the following information to be able to process a Veterans Emergency Fund application.

1. Verification of identity

If your identity has not already been verified, you will need to provide one of the following documents:

  • provincial driver's license;
  • provincial healthcare card (excluding Alberta and Manitoba);
  • other provincial identification cards;
  • certificate of Indian Status;
  • vital statistics documents (birth certificate, marriage certificate);
  • employee identification card (federal, provincial, or municipal);
  • Canadian passport; or,
  • other federal identification cards.

2. Veteran’s Service

If your (or the Veteran’s) service has not already been verified, you will need to provide all of the following information:

  • full name;
  • service number;
  • date of birth; and,
  • date of Veteran's death (if the applicant is a survivor or orphan).

3. Financial Emergency

You may need to provide information about the financial emergency. For example:

  • quotes;
  • financial statements; and,
  • letters (i.e. disconnection/eviction notices, statements from qualified professionals such as health professionals, lawyers, etc.).

We may request additional information and will call you to discuss your situation.

Q6. I am a Veteran’s spouse, common-law partner, survivor, or orphan. Do I still need to submit the Veteran's service information?

Yes. In all cases, we need to verify the Veteran's service with the Department of National Defence (DND), and/or Library and Archives (LAC) prior to processing a VEF application.

Please see Question 5 for more information about what is required to apply for the fund.

You can contact the local Transition Centre for help getting the proper service information.

Q7. Do I need to be receiving benefits from Veterans Affairs Canada to apply?

No. You do not need to be a current recipient of our services and benefits to be eligible.

Q8. Can I apply for Veterans Emergency Fund without proof of identity?

Yes. Our priority is to ensure that you receive financial help when you need it. We will work with you to find a way to prove your identity by working with the Department of National Defence and the local Transition Centre.

Q9. What is considered an emergency?

An emergency is defined as a situation that requires immediate financial support that may have been can be caused by a specific event or unexpected circumstances.

Q10. What is considered an essential need?

An essential need is a service or item that, if removed or unavailable, would have an immediate and negative impact on the health and wellbeing of the applicant. Each application will be reviewed based on your unique circumstances.

Q11. What essential needs can be covered by the Veterans Emergency Fund?

Veterans Emergency Fund is intended to help cover the cost of essential needs that could include:

  • food
  • clothing
  • shelter
  • medical/dental expenses (uninsured); and,
  • personal care items

These are not considered essential needs:

  • business related activities
  • vacation and/or travel
  • funds for entertainment
  • gifts
  • credit card bills
  • banking/legal fees
  • elective surgery
  • elective home renovation and/or vehicle maintenance; and,
  • reimbursement for goods or services

Please note: Your personal circumstances and demonstrated need will be considered.

Q12. Can I apply for the Veterans Emergency Fund for urgent costs related to my children?

Yes. Essential needs related to dependents may be covered if they are not covered by other benefits or plans (I.e., one-time payment of a medication for an ill child).

Q13. How much can I receive?

There is a maximum amount of $2,500 payable per Veteran per household per fiscal year (April 1 – March 31). In exceptional circumstances, this amount may be exceeded.

Q14. How long will it take to receive a decision/payment?

Once we have received a completed application with all the required supporting documentation, a decision will be made within one to two business days.

If the application is approved, a payment will usually be processed within one to two business days.

Q15. How will I receive funding?

If your application is approved, we will determine which of the following payment types is best based on your situation:

  • direct payment to a third-party;
  • direct deposit to the applicant; or,
  • cheque to the applicant or to a third-party.

Q16. I am currently living outside of Canada. Can I be approved for the Veterans Emergency Fund?

The fund is available to those who have resided in Canada for at least 183 days during the current fiscal year (April 1 – March 31). Individuals must reside in Canada to be approved for funding. If you are temporarily outside of Canada, you may be eligible based on the duration of your absence.

Scenario (hypothetical): A Veteran who travels to Florida for the winter but has spent April to December of the fiscal year in Canada qualifies for the Veterans Emergency Fund because they have been in the country longer than 183 days.

If you have any questions, please contact us at 1-866-522-2122 or send a My VAC Account secure message.

Q17. Will I have to pay back a Veterans Emergency Fund payment?

No. This payment is considered a grant, not a loan. The funds are non-taxable and do not need to be reported on your income tax.

Q18. Can the Veterans Emergency Fund be approved for recurring payments?

Recurring payments, such as rent or vehicle payments, cannot be funded

Q19. Can the Veterans Emergency Fund be approved to pay back borrowed funds?

The intent of the program is to provide one-time payments to assist in emergency situations. It cannot be used to re-pay borrowed funds. If your financial situation is impacted by the need to repay borrowed money, it can be approved to help cover essential needs.

Scenario (hypothetical): A Veteran borrowed money to repair their home’s furnace and no longer has funds to feed themselves and/or their family. The Veteran could apply to the Veterans Emergency Fund for food, but not for the reimbursement of the heating source.

Q20. Can I access the Veterans Emergency Fund outside of VAC’s office hours?

Our working hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm local time, minus statutory holidays.

If you are experiencing a crisis that is threatening your health and well-being outside of these hours, please contact the VAC Assistance Line at 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for CAF Veterans and their families. The provider will assess your needs during the call and redirect you to the proper emergency service to help you. The service is free and confidential.

Q21. Why is the Veterans Emergency Fund not available to former Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) members?

We do not have an agreement with the RCMP to provide Veterans Emergency Fund to current or former RCMP members. An RCMP member can be considered if they are also a Veteran of the CAF.

RCMP members can apply for emergency funding through the Legion at The Legion - Financial Assistance.

Q22. Can I appeal my decision?

If you are unsatisfied with your decision, you can request a Reconsideration in writing within 60 days of receiving your decision by sending a secure message through your My VAC Account or by mailing it to:

Veterans Affairs Canada
Benefits Program Officer, Veterans Emergency Fund
Benefits Adjudicating and Processing
PO Box 6000
Matane QC G4W 0E3

Reconsiderations will be completed within two business days from their receipt. No additional information is required for a Reconsideration. If you have more relevant information, please complete another application.

All Reconsideration decisions are final.

Q23. Are there other funding sources available to me if I require financial assistance?

Yes. The following benefits exist to help vulnerable Veterans and their families.

There are several Trust Funds available to eligible Veterans and their families. Each Trust Fund has specific eligibility criteria, and a means test is also required.

Please contact us at 1-866-522-2122 or send an MVA secure message for more information on VAC’s Trust Funds.

Q24. How will you assist me in the longer term?

We will refer applicants to other applicable funding sources (federal, provincial, or municipal governments, charitable organizations, etc.) and other internal and external programs to assist them on a longer-term basis. The Benefits Navigator is an online questionnaire that can help you to identify other appropriate VAC programs and services.

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