Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

June 21, 2010 09:51 ET

"An internal survey reveals that the Disability Award is the preferred option for the majority of Veteran beneficiaries" - Jean-Pierre Blackburn

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 21, 2010) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture), today made public the findings from an internal survey conducted by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC)'s Disability Award program. The Disability Award is a lump-sum, tax-free payment available to Canadian Forces members and Veterans injured in service. It provides them with immediate financial help.

"I am delighted by the results of this survey because they indicate that the lump-sum award is the preferred option for 69 per cent of Veterans who are injured in service as they and their families make the transition to civilian life," said Minister Blackburn. "Today, I am making public the best available data we have on this subject. The results of this survey also help us better understand how those clients who benefit from it are using their award and determine areas that require attention."

In May 2010, approximately 1,000 clients who have received the Disability Award were contacted to find out how it has impacted them. Among the key findings, 85 percent of these clients reported their lump-sum payment was well used. As well, the majority of clients indicated they would prefer to receive their award as a lump-sum payment, rather than receive the same amount through payments over time. While recipients of the Disability Award are counselled on the importance of getting independent financial advice, the report indicated that only 35 percent of clients had done so.

"I was surprised to learn that less than half of the Veterans who received a lump sum payment sought independent financial advice. I was disappointed by this finding. I have asked staff to begin work immediately to ensure that those clients who receive a Disability Award understand the importance of receiving financial advice, in order to benefit more fully," added Minister Blackburn. "I also hope we can better inform them about all the other benefits and services offered by the New Veterans Charter. My goal is always to ensure that our Veterans receive all the help they need, when they need it."

The Lump Sum Disability Award is only one piece of Veterans Affairs Canada's approach to compensation offered to modern-day Veterans and their families. It recognizes and compensates them for the non-economic effects of a disability, including pain and suffering. In addition to the Lump Sum Disability Award, Veterans are offered a full range of New Veterans Charter (NVC) benefits and services, including practical help finding a job, psychological and physical rehabilitation and health care coverage. A complete review of the New Veterans Charter is currently underway and will be completed in December.

Highlights from the report are included in the attached backgrounder. A complete copy of the report is available at www.vac.gc.ca.

BACKGROUNDER

Veterans Affairs Canada Disability Award Review

  • A total of 9,138 Veterans Affairs Canada clients have received a Disability Award since the implementation of the New Veterans Charter.
  • A random sample of 2,040 clients were contacted from the total number of clients who have received a Disability Award.
  • These clients were contacted by phone and 1,048 clients were asked how they have used their award and how satisfied they were with the use of the award.

Key Findings:

  • 85 percent* of clients reported their lump sum payment was well used.
  • 71 percent * of clients reported they invested at least a portion of their lump sum payment.
  • 69 percent * of clients reported they would prefer to receive their lump sum payment with the same dollar amount as a single payment rather than payments over time.
  • 77 percent * of clients reported they were aware of other New Veterans Charter services.
  • 35 percent * of clients reported they had sought financial advice.

* All percentage figures above are accurate to within ± 3 percent.

This is a statistically valid representative of those Veterans Affairs Canada clients receiving a Disability Award.

Lump Sum Disability Award:

  • As part of the New Veterans Charter, the Lump Sum Disability Award supports the transition of Canadian Forces members, Veterans and their families to civilian life.
  • The Lump Sum Disability Award is only one piece of Veterans Affairs Canada's approach to compensation. It recognizes and compensates modern-day Veterans and their families for the non-economic effects of a disability, including pain and suffering.
  • In addition to the Lump Sum Disability Award, Veterans are offered a full range of New Veterans Charter benefits and services, including: practical help finding a job; psychological and physical rehabilitation and health care coverage.
  • Eligible Veterans also receive a monthly Earnings Loss Benefit of up to 75 percent of their pre-release salary while they are in rehabilitation.
  • The Lump Sum Disability Award is a tax-free payment of up to $276,080 based on the extent of the disability. Veterans are counselled about the importance of getting independent financial advice, the cost of which is covered by Veterans Affairs Canada.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Jitka Licenik
    Acting Media Relations Advisor
    613-943-7878
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Sophie Doucet
    Director of Communications
    613-992-3465
    Cell.: 613-608-3252