VAC Benefits – CAF Pay and Allowance Increase

Background:

The Canadian Armed Forces announced a pay and allowance increase for CAF members on June 2, 2017. Former members—those who left the Canadian Armed Forces after March 31, 2014—will receive a lump sum back-payment and adjustments to their retirement benefits based on the new rates effective at their release.

Questions and Answers

  1. What VAC benefits will be affected by the CAF’s recent pay and allowance increase?
  2. Why will the new CAF pay rates impact my Financial Benefits from VAC?
  3. I released from the CAF after March 31, 2014. What is the first thing I need to do?
  4. I received a lump sum payment from the Canadian Armed Forces as a result of this pay change. Should I notify VAC?
  5. Will I have to submit new income information to Veterans Affairs Canada?
  6. If my benefits are affected, when will I be notified?
  7. Could this possibly result in an overpayment situation?
  8. I recently applied for the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB). Will you be using the new Canadian Armed Forces rates to calculate my potential benefit?
  9. Why is VAC processing ELB payments using the old rates?
  10. I believe there was a calculation error, how do I get this corrected?
  11. I received a letter from Manulife with an explanation of my new CAF LTD (SISIP) benefits. There is a section in the letter that talks about my VAC benefits. What do I do with this letter?
  12. I am a current CAF LTD (SISIP) client and I did not receive a letter from Manulife about the changes to my SISIP benefit as a result of the changes to the CAF salaries.

 

Q1: What VAC benefits will be affected by the CAF’s recent pay and allowance increase?

A1: A number of financial benefits will be affected by CAF’s pay and allowance increase, including:

  • Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB)
  • Canadian Forces Income Support (CFIS)
  • Career Impact Allowance (CIA)
  • Supplementary Retirement Benefit (SRB)
  • Retirement Income Security Benefit (RISB)

 

Q2: Why will the new CAF pay rates impact my Financial Benefits from VAC?

A2: When we calculate your financial benefits, we consider a number of different factors that may impact your benefit, including any other income you already receive.

We know the new CAF pay rates will impact the Canadian Forces Superannuation (CFSA) and Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Disability (CAF LTD/SISIP) benefits. If you left the Canadian Armed Forces after March 31, 2014, and you receive these benefits, VAC will need to recalculate your financial benefits to reflect the change in these amounts.

We will contact you if you are affected by the change.

 

Q3: I released from the CAF after March 31, 2014. What is the first thing I need to do?

A3: Contact the Release Personnel Pay Office. You will need to confirm that they have the correct banking and address information for your back-payments. Any banking updates need to be sent by e-mail and will not be accepted over the telephone.

You can find more information on CAF’s pay rate changes at forces.gc.ca.

 

Q4: I received a lump sum payment from the Canadian Armed Forces as a result of this pay change. Should I notify VAC?

A4: No. VAC will contact you if we need additional information to recalculate your benefits.

 

Q5: Will I have to submit new income information to Veterans Affairs Canada?

A5: In some cases, yes. VAC is working closely with the Canadian Armed Forces and Public Services and Procurement Canada to obtain the required information. You may need to provide information directly to VAC.

 

Q6: If my benefits are affected, when will I be notified?

A6: Once changes have been made to the Canadian Forces Superannuation (CFSA) and the Canadian Armed Forces Long Term Disability (CAF LTD/SISIP) benefits, VAC will need to recalculate your Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB). A letter will be sent to you if there are any changes to your Financial Benefits. VAC is processing cases as the information is made available from these departments. It is anticipated that the changes will take several more months to complete, continuing through 2018.

 

Q7: Could this possibly result in an overpayment situation?

A7: In some cases, yes; lump sum and salary changes may result in additional payments or overpayments depending on individual circumstances. A letter will be sent to you if there are any changes to your Financial Benefits.

 

Q8: I recently applied for the Earnings Loss Benefit (ELB). Will you be using the new Canadian Armed Forces rates to calculate my potential benefit?

A8: Yes, if you released from the CAF in 2017, and your ELB was processed after the new salary rates came into effect, we used them to calculate your ELB payment.

If you released from the CAF before 2017, in order to avoid an overpayment now, we are using the 2013 CAF salary rates to calculate ELB payments.

 

Q9: Why is VAC processing ELB payments using the old rates?

A9: To avoid an overpayment now, we are using the 2013 CAF salary rates to calculate ELB payments. The CAF LTD and CFSA benefits have not yet been updated. If we were to use the new rates now, there would be a risk that we would overpay your ELB. Once these rates are updated, we will notify you of your benefit recalculation. We are taking this approach in order to minimize overpayment situations. If you have additional payments these will be made to you and explained in our decision letter.

 

Q10: I believe there was a calculation error, how do I get this corrected?

A10: You will receive a letter with details about your calculation. If you feel there has been an error or you are not satisfied with your decision, you may request a review by writing, within 60 days after receiving your decision letter, to the address below:

Veterans Affairs Canada
National 1st Level Appeals Unit
PO BOX 6000
Matane QC G4W 0E4

Or, register and send a secure message through My VAC Account.

 

Q11: I received a letter from Manulife with an explanation of my new CAF LTD (SISIP) benefits. There is a section in the letter that talks about my VAC benefits. What do I do with this letter?

A11: **if Veteran currently eligible for VAC Financial Benefits**

As you are currently eligible for the Earnings Loss Benefit or the Retirement Income Security Benefit, VAC can use this information to update your benefit. Please send this letter to VAC, either by uploading to your My VAC Account or by mailing it to:

Veterans Affairs Canada
Centralized Processing Centre
PO BOX 6000
Matane QC G4W 0E4

**if not currently eligible for VAC Financial Benefits**

You are not currently receiving VAC’s Earnings Loss Benefit or the Retirement Income Security Benefit, so you do not need to send this letter in to us. If you wish to apply for VAC's Rehabilitation and Vocational Assistance Program and the Earnings Loss Benefit, you can call us to request an application, or access it on our website or via My VAC Account. Please include this letter with your application.

 

Q12. I am a current CAF LTD (SISIP) client and I did not receive a letter from Manulife about the changes to my SISIP benefit as a result of the changes to the CAF salaries.

A12: Manulife is working over the coming months to update their benefit amounts to reflect the new rates. If you have concerns about your benefits you can call SISIP/ Manulife at 1-800-565-0701.

When Veterans call Manulife they are prompted to select their language of preference (1 for English & 2 for French) or they can simply stay on line and listen to the information pertaining to the Salary Increase Adjustments. The Manulife voicemail system will be updated regularly as new information is available.

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