Harper Government delivers improved benefits for Canadian Veterans

VALCARTIER, QC, and Ottawa, ON, Oct. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today that effective immediately, the Government of Canada will deliver increased benefits to Canadian Forces Veterans. This will be accomplished by ending the deduction of Veterans' disability pensions when calculating their Earnings Loss and Canadian Forces Income Support benefits.

"We have worked quickly to make changes to Veterans' benefits to put more money in the pockets of Veterans and their families, including some who haven't been receiving these benefits until now," said Minister Blaney. "We are also working quickly to make the necessary changes to the War Veterans Allowance Act so a disability pension will no longer be considered when calculating the War Veterans Allowance benefit."

"These changes, amounting to an investment of $177.7 million over five years, demonstrate the Harper Government's ongoing determination to meet the needs of Veterans and their families," added Minister Blaney. "We are working hard to bring real help where and when it's needed most for Canada's heroes."

"The Harper Government will continue to work to provide more help for Veterans and their families where and when they need it most." said Parliamentary Secretary Adams. "At the direction of the Minister, officials will also be reviewing the records of those who are eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit and may now be able to receive a payment."

Earnings Loss Benefit and Canadians Forces Income Support Benefit recipients who are also in receipt of a disability pension from Veterans Affairs Canada may see a significant increase in their payment in the coming weeks. All affected recipients will be notified in writing with details of the recalculation and change to their payment.

"This is a significant step forward and Minister Blaney should be commended for addressing this major issue in Veterans' benefits," said Ray Kokkonen, President of the Canadian Peacekeeping Veterans Association.

"We are happy with the announced changes today," says Gordon Moore, Dominion President of the Royal Canadian Legion, an association with more than 330,000 members. "The Legion is encouraged that the Government has looked at the unfairness of these clawbacks."

For more information on these changes, visit veterans.gc.ca.


Backgrounder


October 10, 2012

End of Disability Pension Offset for
Earnings Loss and Canadian Forces Income Support Benefits

  • Earnings Loss (EL) and Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS) benefits were introduced in 2006 under the New Veterans Charter and are designed to provide monthly financial support.
  • Effective immediately, Veterans Affairs Canada's disability pensions will no longer be deducted from either the Earnings Loss, or Canadian Forces Income Support benefits.
  • These changes represent a $177.7 million investment over five years for Veterans and their families.
  • Veterans who receive these benefits will soon receive a letter explaining this important change to their income. The letter illustrates how the benefits are being recalculated and also how much the payment is being increased by.
  • In the coming weeks, all Veterans in receipt of these benefits will see this increase reflected on their monthly income.
  • VAC is issuing adjustment cheques for October. Any increase in normal monthly payments will begin in November.
  • These changes demonstrate the Government of Canada's ongoing commitment to meet the needs of Veterans and their families.

The following examples are for illustration purposes only:

Earnings Loss (EL), Example 1:

A Veteran with a pre-release salary of $5,000.00/month is in receipt of a disability pension of $382.00/month (i.e. 15% disability pension). His maximum monthly EL benefit before deductions is $3,750.00 (i.e. 75% of monthly imputed income), and he has no other offsets. Before this change, his monthly EL payment was $3,368.00. With this change, his monthly EL payment is now $3,750.00.

The Veteran will see a net financial gain per month of $382.00, as he will no longer have his disability pension offset from his EL benefit.

Earnings Loss (EL), Example 2:

A Veteran with a pre release salary of $5,000.00/month is in receipt of a disability pension of $1,529.00/month (i.e. 60% disability pension). He is also in receipt of Canadian Forces Superannuation Benefit of $2,012.00/month. His maximum monthly EL payment before deductions is $3,750.00 (i.e. 75% of monthly imputed income). Before this change, his monthly EL payment was $209.00. With this change, his monthly payment is now $1,738.00.

This Veteran will see a net financial gain per month of $1,529.00, as he will no longer have his disability pension offset from his EL benefit.

Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS), Example 1:

A single Veteran has a maximum monthly CFIS rate of $1,393.00. He is in receipt of a disability pension of $382.00/month (i.e. 15% disability pension). He has no income or other monthly deductions. Before this change his monthly CFIS payment was $1,011.00. With this change, his monthly CFIS payment is now $1,393.00 plus he will continue to receive his disability pension.

The net financial gain this Veteran will see per month is $382.00, as he will no longer have his disability pension offset from his CFIS benefit.

Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS), Example 2:

A married Veteran has a maximum monthly CFIS rate of $2,114.00. He is in receipt of a disability pension of $1,433.00/month (i.e. 45% disability pension). He has a monthly household income of $1,000.00. Before this change his monthly CFIS payment was zero as his total deductions ($1,433.00 + $1,000.00 = $2,433.00) exceeded the maximum CFIS rate. With this change, he can now receive a CFIS payment of $1,114.00/month.

This Veteran will see a net financial gain per month of $1,114.00, as he is now eligible to receive a CFIS payment.


 

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

Image with caption: "The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today at Valcartier Garrison that, effective immediately, the Government of Canada will end deductions of Veterans' disability pensions when calculating their Earnings Loss and Canadians Forces Income Support benefits. (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20121010_C5546_PHOTO_EN_19103.jpg




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