Canadian veterans have served our country for generations, honourably sacrificing the comforts and safety of home in order to defend our rights and freedoms. With determination and valour, they’ve helped ensure that we live in a free and peaceful country. Now, it’s Canada's turn to support them.
Our country has many benefits in place to provide financial support and services to veterans and family members. In addition to these government benefits, funds have been established by various organizations to provide additional assistance. The eligibility for these benefits and funds depends on a variety of factors, so it’s important to look into each program individually.
If you’re unsure of your eligibility or the eligibility of a family member, or are unclear on your rights as a veteran, consider speaking with a lawyer or professional who specializes in veterans’ rights. Vexxit can match you with a qualified lawyer today. Veteran Affairs Canada also offers a number of useful links on the topic.
Let’s look at the benefits and funds that are currently in place for the financial care of Canadian veterans.
Veterans Affairs Canada offers income support, health services and emergency funding for veterans in six different categories:
Income support involves monthly payments to maintain and support a veteran’s income. These include initiatives such as:
Income Replacement Benefit: A taxable benefit that helps maintain income while taking part in the VAC rehabilitation program. It ensures your total income is at least 90 per cent of your gross pre-release military salary.
War Veterans Allowance: A tax-free monthly payment for Second World War or Korean War veterans with low household incomes.
Canadian Forces Income Support: A tax-free benefit that helps low-income CAF veterans who no longer qualify for the Earnings Loss Benefit after participating in the rehabilitation program.
Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation: A tax-free monthly payment to recognize severe and permanent disability related to one’s military service and which creates a barrier to life after service.
Income Replacement Benefit: This benefit is also offered to eligible survivors and orphans of a deceased CAF member or veteran.
Emergency funds are in place in case of a financial crisis or emergency for a veteran and his/her family, including:
The Veterans Emergency Fund: Provides quick access to funds for eligible veterans and their families facing an unexpected financial emergency. Currently, this fund is being used to help offer financial support to veterans affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The War Veterans Allowance Assistance Fund: Provides grants of up to $1,000 in an emergency situation.
Prisoner of war benefits are offered for eligible former prisoners of war and include:
Detention Benefit: A tax-free lump-sum payment awarded to veterans who were detained by an enemy, opposing force or group carrying out a terrorist activity.
Prisoner of War Compensation: A tax-free monthly payment for veterans or Canadian merchant mariners who were prisoners of war. The minimum period of time spent in captivity, or evading capture, required to qualify for both the Detention Benefit and Prisoner of War Compensation is 30 days.
Veterans can also receive compensation for service-related illnesses or injuries. These include disability benefits, caregiver recognition benefits, clothing allowance, exceptional incapacity allowance, medical costs, attendance allowance, critical injury benefit and additional pain and suffering compensation.
The Veterans Independence Program, for instance, provides funding for services such as grounds maintenance, housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care, and professional health and support services.
Through the treatment benefits program, veterans can get help paying for healthcare services and medical costs. These expenses include any health-related travel costs, as well as coverage for home health or hospital services, nursing services, appointments with specialists (such as physiotherapists, audiologists, and mental health providers), medical equipment, prosthetics and prescriptions.
Finally, a veteran’s family members are entitled to death benefits, which include survivor's pension, burial assistance, and grave marker maintenance in the event of death and bereavement.
There are also a number of funds available to Canadian veterans from various organizations:
Vacations for Vets is an initiative by Shell Vacations Club and Wyndham Worldwide members who donate excess timeshare points as a way to thank those who serve or have served our country. The program offers one week complimentary lodging to eligible serving and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
The Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Trust Fund offers grants for food, fuel, clothing, prescription medication, medical appliances or equipment, essential home repairs and emergency shelter or other similar types of assistance.
The Royal Canadian Naval Benevolent Fund is available to veterans who served in the Navy and their spouses.
The Support Our Troops Program provides emergency financial assistance for families who need extra support due to challenges arising from Canadian Armed Forces service. These include a holiday food hamper program, distress loans and grants and small preventative loans.