New benefit for Canadian Armed Forces members and Veterans

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Bryan Hayes, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie, is pleased to be part of a government that yesterday unveiled the proposed new Critical Injury Benefit (CIB), which will provide a $70,000 tax-free award to support the most severely injured and ill Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans.

“The Critical Injury Benefit will ensure that Canada’s most seriously injured Veterans and serving members will receive recognition and financial assistance. As part of the Support for Veterans and their Families Act, this new benefit is introduced alongside further key amendments and new benefits. In my role on the Standing Committee for Veterans Affairs, I am extremely pleased to see our government responding to the needs of our veterans in a highly effective way.”
said Bryan Hayes, MP for Sault Ste. Marie

The proposed new CIB is intended to address the immediate impacts of the most severe and traumatic service-related injuries or diseases sustained by CAF members and Veterans, between the time the injury or disease occurs and the time when their condition becomes medically stable. The CIB is in recognition of the stress and hardship CAF members and Veterans go through in the weeks and months following a sudden event resulting in traumatic injury or disease. The CIB is intended to work alongside the existing benefits and supports delivered by Veterans Affairs Canada for which injured Veterans are eligible, and it is separate and apart from disability award payments.

“This new benefit will provide immediate recognition and compensation to CAF members and Veterans who have made a tremendous personal sacrifice, and will provide them with security and peace of mind following a critical injury or illness. Our Government will continue to support Canada’s Veterans and ensure the changing nature of the needs of Veterans is met with the best possible service.” said The Honourable Erin O’Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs

This announcement was one element of the new Support for Veterans and their Families Act introduced in the House of Commons today to provide new support for CAF members and Veterans, and their families. Along with the Critical Injury Benefit, other proposed initiatives in this new legislation include:
· the Retirement Income Security Benefit for moderately to severely disabled Veterans beginning at age 65 and their survivors;
· the Family Caregiver Relief Benefit for eligible Veterans requiring ongoing informal care—a tax-free grant of $7,238 annually;
· the addition of a purpose statement to the New Veterans Charter recognizing the Government’s obligation to CAF members, Veterans and their families; and
· the authority for Veterans Affairs Canada to provide advice and information to CAF members and Veterans, and make decisions on applications for benefits and services prior to their release from the military to help them successfully transition to civilian life.

Quick Facts

· The new Critical Injury Benefit will be one of many supports available to serving members and Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces with service-related injuries or diseases.
· The Critical Injury Benefit focuses on those who need it the most: Veterans who endure sudden and severe injury or disease while in the line of duty.
· The Critical Injury Benefit will work in concert with existing services and benefits to establish a continuum of support from the onset of a severe and traumatic injury or disease.
· The critical injury benefit will be paid to eligible CAF members and Veterans who have suffered a sudden, severe and traumatic injury or developed an acute disease since April 1, 2006.