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Veterans Emergency Fund

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are using the Veterans Emergency Fund to the full extent possible to support Veterans’ safety and well-being. Read more about updates to the Emergency Fund during this time in the Frequently Asked Questions below.

Support you need, when you need it. When the unexpected happens we can get you quick access to funds for urgent needs such as food, shelter or medical expenses.

About this program

The Veterans Emergency Fund (VEF) provides financial support to Veterans, their families or their survivors whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected situation.

What is an emergency?

Every situation will be different and unique, which is why applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The emergency fund covers essentials, such as:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Rent, mortgage
  • Medical care/expenses
  • Expenses required to maintain safety and shelter.

As this is only temporary financial relief, we will also work with you to identify your long-term needs. Together, we will look for solutions to improve your financial stability.

Do you qualify?

You should apply for this program if you have an urgent financial need, and are:

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

You must be a Canadian resident to receive this grant.

How to apply

Before you apply

We will need as much information as possible about the financial emergency. You can provide such things as: invoices, quotes, notices, or statements to explain the situation.

If this is your first time applying to a Veterans Affairs Canada program we will need proof of identity, for example a drivers licence.

You can expect a decision within one or two business days of submitting your application. If we approve your application, you will receive payment within that time as well.

Apply online

If you are registered for My VAC Account, you can submit your application for this benefit online. If you aren't registered, you can register now.

Although you can apply through My VAC Account, we will contact you personally before a decision is made. The application process will not be conducted exclusively online.

My VAC Account

Mail or in person

Download the application form. Then, drop it off at a VAC office or CAF Transition Centre. You can also mail your completed application directly to the address listed on the form.

Go to form

Get help with your application

The staff at any VAC office or Transition Centre can assist you, or call us at 1-866-522-2122.

Additional information

Find out more

Watch this video for a quick overview of the Veterans Emergency Fund.

Find information about trust and emergency funds to support Veterans in need.

Related programs

Assistance Fund: if you receive the War Veterans Allowance, you may qualify for this cash grant to help in an emergency.

Canadian Forces Income Support: a tax-free monthly benefit to help low-income Veterans, survivors, and dependent children.

Frequently asked questions

Has the VEF changed as a result of COVID-19?

The intent of the fund hasn’t changed, however, VAC has responded to the needs of Veterans. In exceptional circumstances, VAC can approve amounts in excess of $2,500.00 per applicant/family during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the fund provides emergency financial support to Veterans, their families and survivors whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected situation.

I am a Veteran who is facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Is the VEF available to me?

You may be eligible 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).

We also require that you provide as much information as possible about the emergency need (i.e. quotes, notices, statements, letters, etc.) and that you provide documentation demonstrating the resources that you currently have available. We encourage applicants to apply for other sources of income (e.g. Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Employment Insurance) and access opportunities (e.g. mortgage payment deferrals, car payment deferrals) that may be available to them before applying for the VEF. We understand that these benefits or additional options may take some time to take effect. However knowing that you have tried to access other COVID-related supports will help us determine your overall need and VEF eligible expenses.

If the COVID-19 restrictions last for months, can I access the fund multiple times?

Yes, if you qualify, you may access the fund multiple times, up to the maximum amount payable. For COVID-19 situations, you may be able to access up to three months of the requested expense in one payment if it is clear that the financial issues will not be resolved by other means and will be ongoing during this unique period.

Will the method of payment change because of COVID-19?

At this time, there are no changes to the way the VEF is paid. The preferred method of payment is a payment directly to the 3rd party using a VAC credit card. Where a payment by credit card is not possible, payment by priority direct deposit is available. Payment by priority cheque may be possible but may cause a delay in the payment being received.

When can I expect to receive the funds?

Once we receive your completed application and supporting documents, most decisions and payments will be made within one to two business days. Although we have a one to two business day service standard, we will work to address the emergency situation more quickly where it is possible to do so.

Are there policies for this program?

Yes. Read more about the Veteran Emergency Fund policies.

View all Veterans Emergency Fund FAQs.

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