Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

October 06, 2011 12:14 ET

Harper Government Announces Enhancements to the New Veterans Charter Are Now in Effect

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 6, 2011) -

Editors' Note: There is a photo associated with this press release

The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today that significant enhancements to the New Veterans Charter take effect this week and will help thousands of seriously ill and injured Veterans who require additional financial support.

"Our Government promised that the New Veterans Charter would evolve with the needs of the men and women it serves. With our latest enhancements, we're delivering on that promise," said Minister Blaney. "With the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act, an immediate $189 million has been set aside over the next five years to ensure that seriously injured Canadian Forces Veterans receive adequate financial support. This will grow to $2 billion over the life of the program."

The Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act provides additional monthly support for Veterans who are seriously ill and injured, as well as flexible new payment options for recipients of a disability award. It is estimated that a minimum of 4,000 Veterans will qualify for the enhanced financial support over the next five years alone.

"We understand that the needs of today's Veterans are often complex—whether these men and women served our country here in Canada or overseas in such troubled places as Bosnia or Afghanistan," said Ms. Adams. "The enhancements to the New Veterans Charter are a tangible example of how we are changing to meet these needs of our Veterans and our men and women in uniform."

Enhancements to the New Veterans Charter:

  • A minimum pre-tax income of $40,000 a year for Veterans who are in rehabilitation or, if they are no longer able to be gainfully employed, until age 65;
  • Expanded eligibility for additional monthly allowances (worth up to $1,632 per month, payable for life) for seriously injured Veterans;
  • A new $1,000 monthly supplement to the Permanent Impairment Allowance (payable for life) to help our most seriously injured or ill Veterans who are unable to return to suitable, gainful employment; and
  • New payment options for Canadian Forces members and Veterans receiving a disability award. While these men and women still have the choice of a lump-sum payment, they are also now able to receive a disability award as either an annual payment (with interest) over any number of years they choose, or as a combination of a partial lump-sum payment and annual payments (with interest).

For more information on the changes at Veterans Affairs Canada, visit veterans.gc.ca.

Backgrounder – Additional details on the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act.

Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act

Effective October 3, 2011, the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act will offer significant improvements to the supports available to Veterans who are ill or injured. The enhancements address concerns that have been raised by Veterans, their families, as well as members of Veterans' organizations, advisory groups and parliamentary committees.

With these enhancements, the Government of Canada has:

  • Improved access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance and the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance for seriously injured or ill Veterans;
  • Introduced a new monthly $1,000 supplement—payable for life—to help our most seriously injured or ill Veterans who are unable to be suitably, gainfully employed; and
  • Provided flexible payment options for receiving a disability award.

Also, by amending regulations governing the New Veterans Charter, the Government has also established a minimum pre-tax income of $40,000 a year under the Earnings Loss Benefit for all ill or injured Veterans in the Rehabilitation Program or, if they are unable to be suitably and gainfully employed, until age 65.

Improved access to the Permanent Impairment Allowance and the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance:

When the New Veterans Charter was implemented in 2006, it resulted in some unforeseen gaps between the New Veterans Charter and the Pension Act, which had previously served all Veterans. As a result, a number of severely injured Veterans found themselves ineligible for either the new Permanent Impairment Allowance under the New Veterans Charter or the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance under the Pension Act.

By correcting eligibility barriers between the two systems, as many as 3,500 Veterans will now qualify for either the Permanent Impairment Allowance or the Exceptional Incapacity Allowance over the next five years. Some Veterans may have previously applied for the Permanent Impairment Allowance but were not eligible at that time. If these Veterans now meet the expanded eligibility criteria, they are being contacted by the Department and offered an opportunity to re-apply.

Introduced a new monthly $1,000 supplement for permanently and severely injured Veterans:

Severely injured Veterans who are receiving the Permanent Impairment Allowance and are unable to be suitably, gainfully employed will now receive an additional $1,000 per month—payable for life. This will be added to other financial supports they may receive, such as the minimum, pre-tax income of $40,000 a year available through the Earnings Loss Benefit.

Eligible Veterans will need to apply for the new supplement. The Department is currently in the process of contacting Veterans who are considered seriously injured and are receiving the Permanent Impairment Allowance. It is anticipated that approximately 500 Veterans will benefit from this change over the next five years.

Providing payment options for the Disability Award:

The Disability Award is designed to recognize and compensate for the pain and suffering of an injury or illness. It is in addition to other financial supports such as the monthly Earnings Loss Benefit and the Permanent Impairment Allowance which recognize the ongoing economic impacts of an injury.

The tax-free Disability Award was previously a one-time payment. With the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act, CF members and Veterans now have payment options for receiving their disability award. These options are:

  • equal annual payments spread out over the number of years of their choice (with interest);
  • a partial lump-sum payment with the balance paid out in annual instalments over any number of years (with interest); or
  • a single lump-sum payment.

Veterans will also have the option—at any time—to receive the balance of their disability award in a final lump-sum payment.

Introducing a minimum annual Earnings Loss Benefit:

In addition to the legislated changes outlined above, the regulations which govern the New Veterans Charter have been amended to include a minimum annual, pre-tax income of $40,000 for recipients of the monthly Earnings Loss Benefit. This enhancement should, over the next five years, increase the monthly financial support available to approximately 2,300 Veterans who either left the Canadian Forces while still at a low military rank or when military salaries were much lower than they are today.

To view the photo associated with this press release, please visit the following link: http://www.marketwire.com/library/20111006-veaB1006.JPG

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    Veterans Affairs Canada
    613-992-7468

    Codie Taylor
    Director of Communications
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    613-996-4649