Budget 2018 includes details of the proposed Pension for Life package which will deliver what veterans have asked for: a monthly pension for life, enhanced supports, and a simpler system. The core elements of the Pension for Life package include:
Tax-free financial compensation for ill and injured veterans through monthly Pain and Suffering Compensation of up to $1,150 that is payable for life, with the choice to receive it as a lump-sum. In order to benefit from the introduction of this new benefit, members and Veterans who have received the Disability Award since 2006 may receive an additional monthly amount.
Monthly tax-free Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation of up to $1,500, payable for life, for veterans whose injuries greatly impact their quality of life.
A streamlined Income Replacement Benefit equal to 90 per cent of pre-release salary for veterans experiencing barriers returning to work. In some circumstances, veterans may be eligible for an additional 1 per cent career progression factor each year. This benefit is in addition to pain and suffering compensation.
Support for survivors will increase from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of the Veteran’s Income Replacement Benefit.
$42.8 million to improve service delivery capacity at Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure veterans get the benefits and services they need and deserve in a timely manner. This investment will support the increasing number of veterans that are coming forward to access the new benefits and services that the Government is making available to veterans.
The Government is committed to honouring the sacrifice of veterans by maintaining the graves and grave markers for Canadians who were buried or had grave markers erected by the Government of Canada. To this end, Budget 2018 proposes funding of $24.4 million over five years, starting in 2018-19 to address a backlog of repairs needed on graves and sites in Canada maintained by Veterans Affairs Canada.
Through Budget 2018, the Government proposes to expand the Medical Expense Tax Credit to recognize costs for psychiatric service dogs for the 2018 and future tax years. This measure will directly benefit veterans and others in the disability community who rely on psychiatric service dogs, and complements the work of organizations that support them, such as the Royal Canadian Legion, and Paws Fur Thought, which provides service dogs to veterans and First Responders with invisible disabilities.
To support the well-being of veterans, Pension for Life builds from the major initiatives announced in Budget 2016 and Budget 2017. When combined with previous improvements in veterans’ benefits and services since 2016, the Government of Canada’s investments add up to nearly $10 billion. These include:
Enhancing the Career Transition Services program to equip veterans with the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to successfully navigate and transition to the civilian workforce.
Creating a new Veterans’ Education and Training Benefit that would provide up to $80,000 in support of college, university, or technical education for Canadian Armed Forces veterans after completion of service.
Recognizing and honouring the sacrifices made by caregivers through a non-taxable $1,000 monthly benefit.
Expanding the Military Family Services Program to provide access to the families of all medically-released veterans.
Creating a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions to increase knowledge of how to prevent, assess and treat Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans’ mental health issues.
Establishing a Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund to partner with third-party organizations to develop innovative programs to improve the quality of life of veterans and their families.
Establishing a Veteran Emergency Fund to enable Veterans Affairs Canada to address unique and urgent veteran-specific situations.
$4.5 billion over five years to improve financial benefits for veterans. This included increasing the Earnings Loss Benefit to 90 per cent of income replacement, increasing the Disability Award to $360,000 and changes to the Permanent Impairment Allowance.