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Frequently Asked Questions

1. How is the amount of a disability benefit determined?

The amount of a disability benefit you receive will be determined by:

  • the degree to which that disability is related to your service (entitlement); and
  • the extent of the disability (assessment).

Once it is established that your disability is related to your service, the next step is to determine the extent or severity of your disability so that we can assign an assessment level.

To learn more, see the How Benefits Are Determined section.

2. What are Entitlement Eligibility Guidelines?

Entitlement Eligibility Guidelines are policy statements used to guide the decision-making process and help in determining the relationship between your medical condition or disability and your service. The guidelines are based on credible medical evidence and research. Similar guidelines from across the country as well as the United States and Australia were reviewed during the development process. Entitlement Eligibility Guidelines help to ensure our decisions are consistent and fair.

3. What is the Table of Disabilities (TOD)?

The TOD is a legislated/statutory instrument used to assess the extent of a disability for the purposes of determining disability benefits. The table considers the relative importance of a certain body part/system in assessing the level of impairment and the impact of on an individual's lifestyle. The disability assessment is established based on the medical impairment rating, in conjunction with quality of life indicators.

4. What are medical questionnaires?

Medical questionnaires are forms we have developed for your healthcare provider to complete with all of the details of your disability. These standardized forms provide guidance for your health care provider to ensure he or she provides all of the necessary and relevant information we need to make a decision on your application for disability benefits. The medical questionnaires are used, along with other submitted medical information, to confirm your medical diagnosis and determine the impairment rating of your disability.

When you give your health care provider the medical questionnaire, please be sure to also provide your completed and signed Consent for Veterans Affairs Canada to Collect Personal Information from Third Parties form which gives him or her the authority to release your personal medical information to us. If your health care provider does not wish to fill out the questionnaire, they can provide a "narrative report" as an alternative. This report must include the same basic information as the questionnaire. Please do not have a medical questionnaire completed until you have been provided with specific instructions from us regarding the questionnaire(s) required. .

5. When can I expect to receive a decision?

We are committed to getting you a decision as soon as possible. In most cases, a decision will be made within 16 weeks of the Department receiving all the information required from you to support of your application.

6. What happens if my disability gets worse?

If the disability for which you are receiving VAC benefits worsens, you can request a reassessment if there is medical evidence to show that there has been a change in the severity of your disability. If a new condition develops that you think is related to your service, you can submit an application for that condition. If the reassessment confirms that your condition has worsened, your benefit will be adjusted accordingly-unless you are already receiving the maximum assessment as set out in the Table of Disabilities. If that is the case, no additional amount can be provided.

7. I do not agree with the Department's decision on my application? What can I do?

If you do not agree with the decision you have received regarding your application for disability benefits, you have the right to appeal the decision or request a Departmental Review if you have new evidence. The Bureau of Pensions Advocates (BPA) and The Royal Canadian Legion both provide free assistance with reviews and appeals.

8. I'm having difficulty preparing my application for Disability Benefits. Can anyone help?

Yes, VAC staff are always happy to help you with your application or any other questions you may have. In addition, Service Officers with The Royal Canadian Legion or The War Amps of Canada also provide assistance with applications free of charge. You can find out more in the "Who Can Help?" section.

9. I am no longer living in Canada. Can I still get benefits?

In some circumstances, we can provide benefits to you while you are living or vacationing outside of Canada.

You can contact us toll-free, from:

  • United States – Call 1-888-996-2242 (toll free)
  • United Kingdom, Germany, France, or Belgium – Call 00-800-996-22421 (toll free)
  • Any other country – 613-996-2242 (collect)

10. When will benefits start?

If you receive a favourable decision letter, it will indicate a start date.

11. How do I get my service health records?

12. Why can I only get a Disability Award and not a monthly pension?

The monthly disability pension has been replaced with a combination of financial benefits that have been designed to meet your individual needs.

Our Earnings Loss program, for example, provides you with a monthly income of 90 % of your pre-release salary while you are participating in our rehabilitation program or until age 65 if you are not able to work. The Disability Award is paid as a one time award to help you overcome any immediate financial concerns and as an opportunity for you to generate income. It is not taxable. There are flexible Disability Award payment options from which to choose: a lump-sum payment, annual payments over the number of years of your choosing, or a combination of these two payment options.

13. If I receive a significant compensation through the Disability Award, can I get advice to help me manage it?

Yes. In fact, we encourage you to get a financial expert's advice to help you manage this compensation. Veterans Affairs Canada will cover the cost of that advice up to $500.

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