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Questions and answers

SummaryQuestions and answers about the Caregiver Recognition Benefit

General

Q1. What is the Caregiver Recognition Benefit?

The Caregiver Recognition Benefit provides informal caregivers with a monthly tax-free payment  to recognize the contributions caregivers make to the health and well-being of Veterans. The Caregiver Recognition Benefit is paid directly to the informal caregiver designated by the Veteran. View current rates.


Q2. I heard there have been changes made to CRB. What are they?

The Caregiver Recognition Benefit Policy has been updated to include clearer definitions on eligibility criteria set out in the Veterans Well-being Regulations, particularly for Veterans living with mental health conditions.

Also, we will now pause the Caregiver Recognition Benefit application if there are health assessments underway that could support the Veteran’s application or seek updated information that better reflects the Veteran’s current health status.


Q3. How do these changes affect me?

The updates to the policy make it easier to apply for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit. The eligibility criteria for Veterans with mental health conditions is more clear and we’ve reduced the administrative burden on Veterans and their caregivers.


Eligibility

Q4. Who is eligible for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit?

You may receive the Caregiver Recognition Benefit if:

  • you are in need of ongoing care as a result of a service-related disability;
  • you are not a permanent resident of a nursing home or long-term care facility,
  • you are a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces; and,
  • have a Disability Award or Pain and Suffering Compensation*.

*If you have a disability pension (or POW compensation) of 1% or more, you may be eligible to receive support through Attendance allowance.


Q5. What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living are those necessary for self-care. They include:

  • feeding – the ability to eat and drink prepared foods (e.g. cutting up food, buttering bread, etc.);
  • washing – the ability to wash your face, trunk, extremities and hair;
  • dressing – putting on and taking off all pieces of indoor and outdoor clothing;
  • grooming/foot care/personal care – the ability to brush your hair and teeth, shave and apply make-up, skin and nail care, cleansing and personal care associated with toileting;
  • toileting – the ability to get to and from the toilet facilities and the ability to control continence of bowel and bladder;
  • taking medication – the ability to prepare and self-administer medication; and,
  • mobility
    • transfers – changing body position independently (e.g., positioning the body from lying to sitting, sitting to standing, lying on the back to lying on the side)
    • ambulation – moving the body from one point in space to another (e.g., climbing stairs, walking).

Q6. What if my Disability Award and/or Pain and Suffering Compensation is for a mental health condition and not a physical condition? Can I still apply for the benefit?

Yes. If you have a mental health condition, you may be approved for the benefit, as long as you meet the above-noted criteria (please see Q4).


Q7. Can serving Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members receive the Caregiver Recognition Benefit?

No. Members of the CAF  who are currently serving are not eligible for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit.  If you’re a CAF member that has an upcoming release date, within six (6) months, you can apply for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit. A decision on your eligibility for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit will be rendered once your release date is verified by CAF. If you are approved for the benefit, the effective payment date will be the 1st day of the month of your release. If you release on the last day of the month, the effective payment date will be the 1st of the following month.


Applications

Q8. How do I apply?

If you are registered for My VAC Account, you can access the application for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit online. If you are not registered; you can register now.

You can also call us at 1-866-522-2122 to have an application mailed to you.

All applications must be signed by both the Veteran and caregiver. Download the application and fill it out with your caregiver.

You can send a complete printed application form to us directly by mail or upload a copy on your My VAC Account.

Veterans Affairs Canada
PO Box 6000
Matane, QC G4W 0E4

Q9. When can I expect a decision and when will my caregiver receive a payment?

You can expect a decision within eight weeks of submitting a complete application. If approved, your caregiver will begin to receive the benefit within nine weeks and is payable the first day of the month we received your application.


Q10. What if I need help with my application?

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

*Offices may not be open due to COVID restrictions. Please call 1-866-522-2122 to confirm.


Q11. Will I need to provide any additional information with my application?

Providing medical evidence is not mandatory when you apply for the Caregiver Recognition Benefit. However, you have the option of providing supportive medical documentation as evidence to support your application. We may also ask that you participate in an assessment with one of our health professionals.


Q12. Is there a time limit to apply for this benefit?

No. You can apply for this benefit at any time. If approved, the Caregiver Recognition Benefit is payable the first day of the month we received your application.  


Appeals

Q13. If my application is denied, can I appeal the decision?

Yes. You can request a review of a decision by contacting Veterans Affairs Canada in writing, by mail or by My VAC Account, within 60 days of the date you receive the decision. You are not required to provide additional information for a review, but you may do so if you believe it may help explain why you feel the decision was incorrect.


Ongoing Eligibility

Q14. Do I need to renew this benefit yearly?

No. The Caregiver Recognition Benefit is paid on an ongoing basis to a Veteran’s designated informal caregiver as long as the Veteran continues to meet the eligibility requirements. No renewal applications are required. However, you or your caregiver may be asked to provide supporting information and undergo an assessment to confirm ongoing eligibility.


Q15. If my health improves and I no longer require a caregiver, what do I need to do?

If your circumstances change and you no longer require a caregiver please call us at 1-866-522-2122 to let us know as soon as possible. This will stop payments to your caregiver so that they are not in an overpayment situation.  It is your responsibility to inform VAC if your needs or circumstances change.


Q16. What do I need to do if I move into a long term care facility?

Please notify us as soon as possible if you permanently move into a long term care facility. This will stop payments to your caregiver so that they are not in an overpayment situation.


Caregivers

Q17. Who is considered a caregiver?

A caregiver is a person 18 years of age or older who plays an essential role in the provision or coordination of ongoing care to you in your home for which they receive no payment.

The informal caregiver is not required to live with you. At the time of application, the caregiver will need to provide proof of identity (e.g. driver’s license) and attest to the fact that they are:

  • 18 years of age or older;
  • plays an essential role in providing or coordinating your ongoing care in your home; and,
  • is not paid for providing or coordinating this care.

Q18. If the benefit is paid to my caregiver, why can't my caregiver apply?

Since it is your health needs that require the services of a caregiver, you must apply for the benefit. If you have granted power of attorney to someone, that person may apply on your behalf. However, your caregiver is also required to complete and sign a section of the application.


Q19. Can I change my caregiver?

Yes. If you want to change your caregiver, please call us to let us know as soon as possible. You will need to submit a new application (VAC1540e). An application will take approximately eight weeks to process and if approved, your new caregiver can expect payment within nine weeks. The payable date will be the first day of the month in which the application is received.


Q20. Can a caregiver receive the benefit on behalf of multiple Veterans?

Yes. It is possible for more than one Veteran to designate the same caregiver. The caregiver must be capable off fulfilling the role of providing support to multiple Veterans in order to be entitled to receive multiple payments.


Q21. Can the benefit be paid to my caregiver if we do not reside in the same household or even live in the same country?

Yes. The caregiver is not required to reside with the Veteran or even reside in the same province or country, as long as they demonstrate that they are coordinating the care for the Veteran and meet all other eligibility criteria. The benefit can be paid to your caregiver even if you both live outside Canada.


Q22. Are payments to the caregiver retroactive to the date of application if there is a delay in processing?

If your application is approved, the Caregiver Recognition Benefit is payable from the first day of the month we receive your application.  


Resources

Q23. What other resources are available for caregivers?

Veterans Affairs Canada can provide access to some resources that may be beneficial for you or your caregiver:

Caregiver Zone
The Caregiver Zone is an Online resource that provides videos and other resources, on a wide range of topics, specifically for family members caring for ill or injured Veterans.
VAC Assistance Service
You can talk to a mental health professional by calling the VAC Assistance Service 24/7 at 1-800-268-7708 or 1-800-567-5803 for the hearing impaired. This service is confidential and free.
Peer Support
Talk to someone who can relate. A peer support network for CAF members, Veterans and their families experiencing an operational stress injury (OSI).
LifeSpeak
LifeSpeak is a self-help website with videos and information about mental health, nutrition and more. For more information:
Pastoral Outreach
Veterans and their immediate family can get spiritual support when the need arises through VAC’s pastoral outreach service.

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