Veterans Affairs Canada

Submitted by Lorrie Brown, R.N., BSN, MA, District Nursing Officer, British Columbia Interior District, Veterans Affairs Canada

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion salute the cenotaph after laying their wreaths on Remembrance Day 2009 at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt. Photo courtesy of Department of National Defence.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) is a department of the Government of Canada which exists to repay the nation’s debt of gratitude to those whose courageous efforts have given us a legacy of peace and freedom, and have contributed to our growth as a nation.

VAC provides services to a highly diverse clientele which reflects the remarkable breadth of Canada’s contributions to world peace. Our clients include Veterans of both World Wars and the Korean War, along with modern Veterans and our allies. We also serve certain civilians who are entitled to benefits because of their wartime services, released RCMP members with service-related injuries, and survivors and dependants of these groups.

In addition to serving these clients, VAC receives many inquiries from members of the public and supports remembrance activities like parades, wreath ceremonies, and the construction and maintenance of monuments.

Information on eligibility, programs, services and activities is available by calling our toll-free National Contact Centre Network (NCCN) 1-866-522-2122.

District Nursing Officers
The role of the District Nursing Officer (DNO) is multifaceted, providing nursing consultation services to client service teams and outside agencies. The DNO provides nursing and advisory services on health benefits to clients, conducts and reviews nursing assessments, and adjudicates designated health care benefits and services. The DNO works closely with an interdisciplinary team of case managers, client service agents, physicians, and mental health and rehabilitation consultants.

In British Columbia, Veterans Affairs has three District Offices with centres in Penticton, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria. The local DNO for the British Columbia Interior District provides coverage to the interior of British Columbia between the U.S. & Alberta borders.

VAC Services and Benefits available to eligible Veterans:

Case management services are available for Veterans and their families who are coping with a serious injury, career transition or the loss of a loved one and may need assistance in this period of transition.

A Disability Award is tax-free compensation for the noneconomic impacts, such as pain and suffering, of a servicerelated illness or injury. It is independent of rank and duration of service and is not linked to other New Veterans Charter payments. Disability Pensions are another form of financial compensation. Veterans (or family members) may be eligible if they served in the First World War, Second World War, Korean War, or the RCMP. Modern Veterans who applied prior to the introduction of the New Veterans Charter in 2006 were also eligible under the pension system.

The Financial Benefits program can help compensate for the economic impact of a service-related injury on Veterans or their families, like the loss of the Veteran’s salary due to a service-related injury or illness.

Funeral, burial and grave-marking assistance provides and maintains grave markers and offers financial assistance to Veterans’ estates where the Veteran died as a result of a service-related disability or where there are insufficient funds to provide the Veteran a dignified funeral and burial.

The Health Care Benefits Program offers a wide range of health care benefits and services to eligible Veterans. These include, but are not limited to, ambulance services; hearing, dental, medical, and hospital services; medical supplies; and vision care.

Services are also available for eligible Veterans, Canadian Forces members, and RCMP members living with a mental health condition.

Our rehabilitation program assists Veterans who have medically released or have a rehabilitation need that is primarily related to military service. VAC can provide the support needed to transition from the military to civilian life.

For eligible clients, residential care contributes to the cost of long-term care for injured, disabled, and aging Veterans residing in contract and provincially funded residential care beds.

Through surviving dependent benefits, when a disability pensioner dies, their survivor will continue to receive the same pension for a period of one year. After this period a survivor’s pension will be automatically paid.

The Veterans Independence Program is a national home care program to help eligible clients remain healthy and independent in their own homes or communities. The program offers a variety of services to eligible clients based on individual circumstances and health needs. All services under this program must be pre-authorized by VAC. The services may include grounds maintenance, housekeeping, personal care, home adaptations, access to nutrition, and transportation.

The War Veterans Allowance provides financial assistance for eligible low-income Veterans of the Second World War and/or the Korean War.

For further information please visit our website: www.veterans.gc.ca or call 1-866-522-2122. Reference: www.veterans.gc.ca