Benefit to recognize and compensate for very serious injuries and diseases
OTTAWA, March 30, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, unveiled today the proposed new Critical Injury Benefit (CIB), which will provide a $70,000 tax-free award to support the most severely injured and ill Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans.
The proposed new CIB is intended to address the immediate impacts of the most severe and traumatic service-related injuries or diseases sustained by CAF members and Veterans, between the time the injury or disease occurs and the time when their condition becomes medically stable. The CIB is in recognition of the stress and hardship CAF members and Veterans go through in the weeks and months following a sudden event resulting in traumatic injury or disease. The CIB is intended to work alongside the existing benefits and supports delivered by Veterans Affairs Canada for which injured Veterans are eligible, and it is separate and apart from disability award payments.
This announcement was one element of the new Support for Veterans and their Families Act introduced in the House of Commons today to provide new support for CAF members and Veterans, and their families. Along with the Critical Injury Benefit, other proposed initiatives in this new legislation include:
- the Retirement Income Security Benefit for moderately to severely disabled Veterans beginning at age 65 and their survivors;
- the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit for eligible Veterans requiring ongoing informal care—a tax-free grant of $7,238 annually;
- the addition of a purpose statement to the New Veterans Charter recognizing the Government's obligation to CAF members, Veterans and their families; and
- the authority for Veterans Affairs Canada to provide advice and information to CAF members and Veterans, and make decisions on applications for benefits and services prior to their release from the military to help them successfully transition to civilian life.
- The new Critical Injury Benefit will be one of many supports available to serving members and Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces with service-related injuries or diseases.
- The Critical Injury Benefit focuses on those who need it the most: Veterans who endure sudden and severe injury or disease while in the line of duty.
- The Critical Injury Benefit will work in concert with existing services and benefits to establish a continuum of support from the onset of a severe and traumatic injury or disease.
- The Critical Injury Benefit will be paid to eligible CAF members and Veterans who have suffered a sudden, severe and traumatic injury or developed an acute disease since April 1, 2006.
"This new benefit will provide immediate recognition and compensation to CAF members and Veterans who have made a tremendous personal sacrifice, and will provide them with security and peace of mind following a critical injury or illness. Our Government will continue to support Canada's Veterans and ensure the changing nature of the needs of Veterans is met with the best possible service."
The Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs
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
Proposed new Critical Injury Benefit for
Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans
A number of programs and services are currently in place to ensure that the health, rehabilitation and financial needs of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans are met.
The proposed new Critical Injury Benefit (CIB) would provide a $70,000 tax-free award for CAF members and Veterans who, since April 2006, experienced a severe and traumatic injury or developed an acute disease caused by a sudden and single event which resulted in an immediate and severe impairment and interference in quality of life.
This benefit is in recognition of the immediate stress and hardship a CAF member or Veteran experiences after a traumatic incident. It spans the time between the initial incident and when the CAF member or Veteran becomes medically stable.
The proposed new CIB funds would be paid directly to the CAF member or Veteran and are separate and apart from disability award payments. The Critical Injury Benefit focuses on those who need it the most: Veterans who endure sudden and severe injury or disease while in the line of duty.
Other Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada benefits already cover expenses incurred by family members who are traveling to be with the injured or ill CAF member.
As part of the Department's continued commitment to Veteran-centric care, and in order to reduce wait times, Veterans Affairs Canada employees will proactively contact Veterans who have experienced a severe service-related injury or disease to discuss this new benefit.
Example of who could benefit from this new payment
Richard is a paratrooper who was involved in a training accident and fell three stories. He sustained a severe concussion, internal injuries and multiple fractures. He had multiple surgeries and needed intensive rehabilitation to regain strength and the ability to walk. Over time, Richard recovered and was deemed medically stable. While he applied for a VAC disability award, he did not receive a payment because he did not have a permanent disability. However, due to the severity of his injuries, he would now be eligible for the proposed new Critical Injury Benefit.
A continuum of care
While recognition for the most severely injured is the focus of today's announcement, it must be viewed as part of a spectrum of services and supports available to CAF members and Veterans. Benefits and services such as rehabilitation and vocational assistance, and the Health Benefits Program, for example, 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 Affairs, 613-996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, 613-992-7468