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Wait times

Wait times can vary, depending on how many applications we receive and the complexity of your claim.

Please ensure your application is complete to avoid delays.

To check the progress of your application, visit My VAC Account ”Track your applications“ or contact us.

The average wait time provided here is the same information you would receive from us by phone.

Questions and answers

  • What is the Wait time tool?

    The Wait time tool provides the current average wait time for receiving a decision on an application.

  • How are wait times calculated?

    We measure wait times from the day we receive a complete application package—that means when we receive all necessary information—to the day a decision is provided.

    The average wait time is calculated based on how long it took us to process all complete applications in the past 90 days. Since the wait time shown is an average, there are some applications that will take more time and some that will take less time. The data is updated weekly.

  • What is considered a “complete application package” and why is this important to the estimated wait time?

    To determine the actual processing time, we start counting from the day we receive a complete application. This means we have received all required supporting documents (e.g. proof of identity, physician letters, X-ray reports, etc.).

    Note: a complete Disability Benefit application does not require you to have provided your Service Health Record; we will get this on your behalf.

  • What does “updated weekly” mean?

    Every week we recalculate the average time it took to process applications for each program over the last 90 days.

  • What programs are included in the tool?

    Currently, average wait times are available for the following programs and services:

    • Attendance Allowance
    • Caregiver Recognition Benefit
    • Clothing Allowance
    • Critical Injury Benefit
    • Death Benefit
    • Disability Benefits
    • Exceptional Incapacity Allowance
    • Veterans Independence Program
    • War Veterans Allowance

    We are working on adding wait times for more VAC programs and services in the near future.

  • The wait time estimates provided by VAC staff over the phone for Disability Benefits were previously a range (e.g.17-38 weeks). This tool only shows a single number. Why is this?

    This range included complex claims and claims for multiple conditions. We are now able to provide a specific estimate for single condition applications and a different estimate for claims with multiple conditions.

  • Why do some submissions take longer to process than others?

    Wait times vary depending on the type of claim; and the volume and complexity of applications being processed at that time. Also, if a claim is more complex (e.g. a disability benefit application with more than one condition) or additional information is required from third parties, it can take longer.

  • Why are the wait times for some programs not meeting VAC’s service standards?

    Service standards help measure the level of service we provide. Over the past few years, VAC has not been able to meet some of our service standards. There are a number of factors that affect this such as: a significant increase in the number of applications received, the complexity of those applications, and the timeliness of receiving supporting information (health records, doctor’s notes, etc.) for applications. We remain committed to addressing these issues.

    To keep up with the rise in demand and to ensure that Veterans get services and benefits when they need them, the Government has committed to spending $42.8 million over two years, starting in 2018–19, to increase service delivery capacity at Veterans Affairs Canada.

  • Why is VAC investing in a Wait time tool instead of services and benefits for Veterans?

    The Wait time tool was created because Veterans and their families asked for realistic estimates of when decisions can be expected as one way to improve communication around the delivery of benefits and services to them.

  • I would like an update on the status of my personal application. How do I get that?

    Currently, you can track the status of most applications through My VAC Account. My VAC Account shows you where your application is in the process. We are continually enhancing this status tracking feature to provide as much detail to applicants as possible.

  • Will I receive more detailed information on application wait times if I contact VAC by phone?

    No. Whether you call us or use this tool online, the information we provide you on the current wait time for processing applications will be the same.

  • Are Pension for Life benefits (Pain and Suffering Compensation, Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation and Income Replacement Benefit) included in this tool?

    Wait times for Pain and Suffering Compensation are available as part of the Disability Benefits program. Once we have sufficient data to estimate average wait times for Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation and Income Replacement Benefit, we will make those estimates available.

  • What happened as of 1 April 2019 to the financial benefit programs rolled into the new Pension for Life benefits (Earnings Loss Benefit, Career Impact Allowance, Career Impact Allowance Supplement, and Retirement Income Security Benefit)?

    No new applications have been accepted as of 1 April 2019 for Earnings Loss Benefit, Career Impact Allowance, Career Impact Allowance Supplement and Retirement Income Security Benefit. As of 1 April 2019, all of these programs were combined into one under the new Income Replacement Benefit (IRB - a Pension for Life program).

    Since there are still applications for these programs awaiting decisions (applications submitted prior to 1 April, 2019), wait time estimates remain available. These will continue to be reported until all applications for these programs have been processed.

    Once we have gathered sufficient data on the Income Replacement Benefit, average wait times estimates will be added to the Wait time tool.

    Note: Additional information on what happened to the programs listed above after April 1, 2019, is available on our website.

  • Rehabilitation is no longer listed on the Wait time tool. Why?

    Rehabilitation wait times are unavailable as of 1 April 2019. Our internal systems for processing Rehabilitation applications are being upgraded alongside the upgrades to systems associated with Pension for Life. Once enough data has been gathered under the new system, average wait time estimates for Rehabilitation will be added back to the Wait time tool.

  • The Wait time tool looks different now. What changes have you made?

    We have refined the categorization of benefits by dividing them into four groups (Education and jobs, Financial programs and services, Health programs and services, Housing and home life) so that it is easier to find the benefit you’re looking for.

  • Why did you make changes to the Wait time tool?

    We made changes in order to make it easier for you to find information on the program/benefit you’re looking for.

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