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Proposed Earnings Loss Benefit increases for part-time Reserve Force VeteransMinisterial Questions and Answers

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Proposed Earnings Loss Benefit increases for part-time Reserve Force VeteransMinisterial Questions and Answers

Post by Teentitan on Tue 17 Mar 2015, 11:47

Q1 Who would be eligible for this proposed benefit increase?
Veterans of the Reserve Force who are eligible for VAC’s Rehabilitation Program are eligible for the Earnings Loss (EL) Benefit and rehabilitation services (medical, psychosocial and vocational rehabilitation). Survivors and orphans of those part-time reservists who are in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit would also be eligible.
There would be no change to eligibility for the Rehabilitation Program, only to the amount of EL that would be received by part-time Reserve Force Veterans.

Q2 What EL Benefit do part-time Reserve Force Veterans currently receive?
Currently, part-time Reserve Force Veterans in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit are eligible for an annual amount of $24,300.
Q3 How would this benefit increase help for part-time Reserve Force Veterans?
Beginning in April 2015, all Veterans of the Reserve Force in receipt of the Earnings Loss Benefit will be eligible for—or in receipt of— a minimum of $42,426 annually (the current EL benefit of a basic Corporal in the Regular Force). Higher ranks will receive more as the EL benefit is calculated at 75% of reserve Force Veterans’ monthly salary.
Survivors of part-time Reserve Force Veterans, who died as a result of service, would also benefit from this change. This would also include orphans.
Q4 Why was there a difference between part-time Reserve Force and Regular Force Earnings Loss benefits before making this change?
The Government of Canada is responding to concerns raised by Veterans advocates as well as the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) and the Veterans Ombudsman. This proposed change demonstrates the Government’s commitment to strengthen support for Canada’s Reserve Force Veterans and their families.

Q5 Could a reservist receive comparable benefits from VAC and SISIP LTD?
Certain Veterans are eligible for income support benefits from both VAC and Department of National Defence’s (DND) Service Income Security Insurance Plan Long Term Disability (SISIP LTD). Any amounts received from SISIP are offset against VAC’s EL Benefit.
Currently the benefits from both SISIP (LTD) and VAC (EL) are the same. However, if VAC increases the minimum EL provided to part-time Reserve Force Veterans, the EL Benefit payable to part-time reserve force Veterans will be greater than what is payable by SISIP LTD. Therefore, when part-time Reserve Force Veterans are eligible for the EL benefit increase but receive benefits from SISIP LTD, VAC will top up the difference between the VAC EL benefit and the SISIP LTD benefit.

Q6 Would this benefit be retroactive?
This is a forward-looking benefit designed to ensure respect for Canada’s brave Reserve Force veterans.
Any Veteran who receives the EL benefit now would benefit on a go-forward basis, however, the EL benefit increase would not be retroactive.

Q7 Would the Earnings Loss Benefit increase be indexed to compensate for inflation?
Monthly Imputed Income is used to calculate EL and is indexed under the Act. In addition, VAC would adjust the EL Benefit to account for increases in Canadian Armed Forces Pay Rates.

Q8 When would this change take effect?
The changes would come into effect at the beginning of April 2015.

Q9 How long would it take for Veterans to receive cheques for the Earnings Loss Benefit increase?
Veterans could expect updated cheques reflecting their revised monthly payment to be issued by mid-late April.

Q10 How much will this change cost?
This ongoing benefit is an enhancement to a program, and not a one-time expenditure, so eligible Veterans will always be provided for regardless if one Veteran or 10,000 Veterans come forward. The nature of military injury, as well, is also difficult to accurately predict.

Q11 How many Veterans would benefit from the Earnings Loss benefit increase?
It is expected that by 2019-2020, this enhancement could provide increased income each year for up to 290 part-time Reserve Force Veterans qualifying for EL Benefits.

Q12 Does VAC cover any lost income from a reservist's non-military job?
The Earnings Loss Benefit increase does not consider lost income from civilian employment but it does guarantee a minimum annual income equal to 75% of the current salary of a basic corporal in the Regular Force. ($42,426)

Q13 How was the minimum annual EL rate of $42,426 established?
The minimum annual EL benefit is equal to 75% of the current salary of a basic corporal in the Regular Force. Through the Earnings Loss benefit increase, eligible part-time Reserve Force Veterans would receive the same minimum annual EL Benefit as full-time Reserve Force and Regular Force Veterans. As part of this change, Reserve Force Veterans’ EL Benefit would be calculated using their actual military salary.

Q14 Would the Canadian Rangers and Cadet Instructor Cadre (CIC) be included in this change?
Yes, this change would benefit eligible Veterans of the Canadian Rangers and CIC.
Q15 Would there be any offsets to this monthly payment?
There would be no changes to the offsets currently considered as income under the EL Benefit. Our officials who specialize in those calculations can give you more information on specific offsets that may apply in the technical briefing.

Q16 Would reservists be eligible for other VAC programs?
Yes. Reserve Force Veterans who are injured as a result of military service have access to benefits from VAC regardless of rank or class. This includes treatment benefits, the Veterans Independence Program (VIP), Career Transition Services, financial benefits, disability benefits and Rehabilitation Program,etc.

Q17 Would this change ensure that part-time Reserve Force Veterans now have ‘parity’ or ‘equality’ with full-time Reserve Force Veterans for all benefits?
Eligible part-time Reserve Force Veterans already have access to the same programs and services available to full-time Reserve Force Veterans. This includes supports like the Veterans Independence Program (VIP), Career Transition Services, access to our network of operational stress injury clinics and other treatment benefits.
The changes announced today would ensure income support provided through the EL Benefit is calculated in the same way, using the same criteria and formulas, as are used to administer benefits for any other Veteran (both Reserve Force and Regular Force).

Q18 Would raising the EL Benefit for part-time reservists mean an increase in the Supplementary Retirement Benefit (SRB) for reservists who qualify for that benefit?
Yes, the amount of the Supplementary Retirement Benefit would also increase for reservists affected by this proposal. SRB is calculated based on 2% of EL so if their EL increases, so too would their eventual payment under the SRB.

Q19 Why are you doing this now?
Our Government is demonstrating support for Veterans by taking action on a longstanding issue. This is an example of our commitment to a Veteran-centric approach with a focus on service excellence.

Q20 What does this proposed change mean for the family of Corporal Cirillo?
For privacy reasons, we are not able to speak to individual cases.

Q21 Why did it take the death of Corporal Cirillo to get the government to take action on this issue?
Today’s announcement was not prompted by any single event. The Government of Canada is demonstrating its support for Veterans by taking action on a longstanding issue of inequity. These proposed changes respond to recommendations made by veterans advocates as well as the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) and the Veterans Ombudsman.

Q22 Where does this fit in with various committee recommendations? Is this the Government’s response?
Today’s announcement is the second in a series of announcements aimed at improving support for Veterans and their families. It responds directly to concerns raised by the Ombudsman and Veteran stakeholders.
It also responds to the recommendations coming out of the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs (ACVA) in their 2014 report on The New Veterans Charter: Moving Forward.
Specifically, this benefit responds to the recommendation in ACVA’s report that asks the Minister of Veterans Affairs to ensure all Veterans with service-related disabilities and their families, be entitled to the same benefits and support (as part of their rehabilitation program) whether they are former members of the Reserve Force or of the Regular Force.
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