Money Matters

Veterans Service Excellence Plan Launched

Minister of Veterans Affairs Erin O’Toole recently announced a new Service Excellence Plan meant to boost veteran’s access to case managers, to further enhance one-on-one support.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is taking this immediate action to improve how it serves veterans and their families.

“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,” said Minister O’Toole.

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 VAC 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 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.

The announcement builds on recent commitments, including the new Retirement Income Security Benefit, which will provide moderately to severely disabled veterans with continued assistance in the form of a monthly income support payment beginning at age 65.

The Family Caregiver Relief Benefit, another newly announced benefit, will provide eligible veterans with a tax-free, annual grant of $7,238 so that their informal caregivers, who are often their spouse or other family members, will have flexibility or relief when they need it while also ensuring the veteran’s care needs are met.

The newly proposed new Critical Injury Benefit is meant to provide a $70,000 tax-free payment to recognize and compensate the most severely injured or ill Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and veterans.

Recently eligibility criteria for the Permanent Impairment Allowance (PIA) was broadened by O’ Toole, together with the PIA Supplement, the PIA 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.

“Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) 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 VAC staff do,” said O’ Toole.

Part-time Reserve Force members and veterans have also recently seen their benefits enhanced by VAC to assure they receive the same minimum income support payment through the Earnings Loss Program as full-time Reserve Force and Regular Force veterans.

The Service Excellence Plan, including the hiring of 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.

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Vicki L Morrison

Thanks to her husband's military career Vicki reinvented herself as a writer so she could work from home, while taking care of their three kids. A former MFRC executive director Vicki is a passionate advocate for military families who loves telling their stories.

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