Veterans Affairs Canada to hire new case managers to enhance one-on-one support
COURCELETTE, QC, April 13, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced that Veterans Affairs Canada is taking immediate action to improve how it serves Veterans and their families. The service excellence plan will boost Veterans' access to case managers. The Minister was joined by Member of Parliament for Lotbinière–Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, Jacques Gourde.
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) will deliver on its service excellence commitment by reducing caseloads to an average of 30 Veterans for each VAC case manager and will hire more than 100 permanent case managers in order to provide improved one-on-one service. VAC frontline employees will work in locations where they are needed the most.
By increasing the number of case managers, workloads will be balanced, allowing case managers to dedicate more time and attention to meeting the individual needs of Veterans.
The Minister also announced that VAC would continue to work with the Department of National Defence (DND) to access medical records as quickly as possible in order to reduce the amount of time Veterans wait for decisions on disability benefits applications.
Today's announcement builds on recent commitments, including:
- the new Retirement Income Security Benefit, which would provide moderately to severely disabled Veterans—those who need it most—with continued assistance in the form of a monthly income support payment beginning at age 65.
- the new Family Caregiver Relief Benefit, which would provide eligible Veterans with a tax-free, annual grant of $7,238 so that their informal caregivers—who are often their spouse or other devoted family members—will have flexibility or relief when they need it while also ensuring that the Veterans' care needs are met.
- the proposed new Critical Injury Benefit, which will provide a $70,000 tax-free payment to recognize and compensate the most severely injured or ill Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans.
- broadened eligibility criteria for the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) which, together with the PIA Supplement, provides approximately $600 to $2,800 a month in life-long monthly financial support to Veterans whose career advancement opportunities have been limited by a permanent service-related injury or illness.
- enhanced benefits for injured part-time Reserve Force members and Veterans, who will now be assured the same minimum income support payment through the Earnings Loss Program as full-time Reserve Force and Regular Force Veterans.
- Hiring additional case managers means improved access to case management and mental health support for case-managed Veterans and allows case managers to dedicate more time and attention to the needs of seriously ill or injured Veterans.
- The majority of case managers will be hired within the next 12 months and will work where they are most needed.
"The Government of Canada is committed to service excellence for Veterans and their families and to understanding and meeting their needs. We are refreshing and boosting resources so Veterans Affairs Canada has the support it needs to provide such excellence. This rebuilding comes at a time when Veterans need it most."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs
- Backgrounder: Service excellence by hiring new employees
Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to ensuring Veterans are treated with the care, compassion and respect they deserve. Veterans and their families are at the center of everything we do. #Veterancentric
Achieving service excellence through improved case management
The Government of Canada places the highest priority on service excellence by making sure Veterans and their families have the support and services they need, when they need them. Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers a dedicated one-on-one case management service model to support Veterans and their families who have complex health and re-establishment needs. Currently, there are approximately 7,200 seriously ill and injured Veterans being case-managed by VAC case managers whose professional backgrounds include social work, nursing, occupational therapy and related health professions.
Veterans Affairs Canada recognizes the need for accelerated access to case management services. VAC will deliver on its service excellence commitment by reducing caseloads to an average of 30 Veterans for each VAC case manager and will hire more than 100 permanent case managers in order to achieve this goal. Hiring more frontline employees reflects VAC's new Veteran-centric approach to service excellence by making it easier for Veterans and their families to get the help they need, when they need it most. Caseloads for individual case managers will be reduced, allowing more time and attention to be dedicated to each Veteran. New case managers will provide greater access for Veterans who are experiencing increasingly complex and intensive needs, particularly those with mental health conditions.
As part of its ongoing efforts to emphasize Veteran-centric service excellence, the Department is implementing a number of changes. Departmental processes are being streamlined to allow for faster decisions, including waiving applications in some cases for the Retired Income Security Benefit and the Critical Injury Benefit. As well, forms are being streamlined to make the application process easier.
Example of a Veteran who could benefit from these changes
Jason, a 41-year-old sergeant, has serious physical and psychological injuries due to his service. Before releasing from the military, Jason has a transition interview with a VAC employee, where he learns about the benefits and supports available to help him and his family transition, including a disability award, rehabilitation, financial benefits and case management services.
Under the current system, when Jason is assessed with highly complex needs requiring intensive case management support, he may have to wait several weeks to be assigned a VAC case manager. After the new VAC case managers are hired, Jason will have a case manager within five days and his case manager will be able to dedicate more time and attention to his specific needs.
A continuum of care
Today's announcement of service delivery improvements complements the spectrum of benefits and supports available to Veterans, including those new benefits recently announced. Benefits and services such as rehabilitation and vocational assistance are designed to help support the needs of ill and injured Veterans.
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Martin Magnan, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans of Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468