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Decreased Earnings Capacity


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I was reviewing VAC financial benefits and read a little about the DEC designation within the Income Replacement benefit. I am wondering if anyone has personal experience with this benefit, did you/your CM initiate the application, what was the process like, types of screenings/questionnaires etc...
As with most veteran’s experiences, none of this applies to every situation.

Answering in very general terms:

Once a veteran’s recognised injuries are stable and at a maintenance stage, Diminished Earning Capacity (DEC) is a policy tool used by VAC to determine if the veteran has the capacity to be reintegrated full-time into the workforce at 66.6% of their CAF pay at release. DEC itself is not a benefit or an entitlement. Nothing extra is gained by a DEC determination. There is no timeline when or if the DEC process will be started by the Case Manager (CM).

If the DEC process determines the veteran is employable full-time at 66.6%, in a suitable occupation, VAC will:
  • if required, arrange for vocational training / education to enable the veteran to be employable,
  • if required, arrange for employment search services before IRB payments cease.
  • At a future date (years, months or weeks later), if an employed veteran’s recognised injuries worse and affect the veteran’s full-time
employability, it is possible to reapply for IRB, be approved and go through the with a DEC determination again.

If the DEC process determines the veteran is NOT employable full-time at 66.6%, in a suitable occupation, VAC will:
  • continue IRB payments at 90% of CAF pay, until age 65, then
  • At age 65 and after, IRB payments are reduced to 70% of the 90% rate.
  • VAC can request additional DEC reassessment(s) if they believe a veteran’s health / barriers have improved sufficiently to enable the veteran’s employable full-time at 66.6%, in a suitable occupation.

Depending on variable factors, some or partial parts of the DEC process will apply to a veteran.

Generally, the simple outline is:
  • CM sends file to Canadian Veterans Vocational Rehabilitation Services (CVVRS) to conduct the Vocational Rehabilitation (Voc Rehab) workplace assessment. It is an average of 6 months turn around, from the CM’s referral for assessment until the report returns to the CM.
  • Once the report returns to the CM, the veteran will be informed of the employability recommendations.
  • If employable full-time, see above for Voc Rehab, job search assistance.
  • If not employable full-time, the CM will send the file and recommendations to the DEC group in Winnipeg for a final DEC determination. It is an average of 3 months wait for a letter through the MyVAC confirming DEC or not.

Answering your query about the interviews, questions ect…
- CVVRS will do an intake interview, they have access to your VAC file, but want to hear your answers. Things like your history, MELs, education, interests and needs to be done to support or disprove employment limitations.
-CVVRS will then contract with March of Dimes (MoD) to hire Psychologist and Occupational Therapists to assess the veteran’s mental and physical abilities. Some or all of this may happen, it varies, based on the veteran.

Nobody in the DEC process is there to harm the veteran or “mess with benefits”. It’s simply an objective tool to measure where a veteran is at and if they can further benefit from Vocational Rehabilitation and reintegration to the civilian workplace, full-time. Be honest with each person making the assessment. Some of it may seem repetitive. When done right, some veterans have discovered terrific new paths never available before. Speak up for yourself. Mention what direction you are interested in exploring.
To add to Kratz post my CM initiated the application but you can also initiate it by speaking to your CM or VAC.

March of Dimes is the organization VAC uses for DEC assessments.

If deemed DEC and you have less then 20 years of service and under age 65 VAC will add a 1% increase to your IRB each year until you would have hit 20 years of service or age 65.