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VAC wait times

daftandbarmy

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Don’t worry troops…. The PM’s surfing vacations won’t be disturbed by this news….

More Canadian veterans than ever are waiting to find out whether they qualify for disability benefits, despite repeated government promises and efforts to get the situation under control.

New figures from Veterans Affairs Canada show more than 44,000 applications from veterans for assistance were sitting in the queue at the end of September, a 10 per cent increase from only six months earlier.

The number includes both completed applications and those deemed "incomplete," which Veterans Affairs broke out for the first time after years of criticism for the ever-increasing number of files waiting for a decision.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/veterans-affairs-benefits-backlog-grows-1.5458596
 

Navyynick

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Well after 83 weeks my assessment is finally complete, does anyone know how long is takes to receive a decision letter and is there a way to tell if your assessment is favorable before you receive the letter?
 

Harley52

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In your My VAC Account, check the "Current benefits and payment history" page, your new amount might be shown there if favourable. Or the decision letter may be uploaded in your Inbox.  Either way, check both.....Good Luck and congratulations if favourable.
 

Navyynick

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Harley52 said:
In your My VAC Account, check the "Current benefits and payment history" page, your new amount might be shown there if favourable. Or the decision letter may be uploaded in your Inbox.  Either way, check both.....Good Luck and congratulations if favourable.

Nothing in the inbox that relates to a decision letter, also there is nothing in the current benefits and payments section? How long does it normally take for current benefits and payments to update after completion of the first application. Making me worried :/
 

Rifleman62

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To get a decline after waiting for 83 weeks would be unconscionable.

After 83+ weeks, start the process all over again with an appeal.But that's VAC.

Best of luck. Let us know please.

 

Navyynick

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Rifleman62 said:
To get a decline after waiting for 83 weeks would be unconscionable.

After 83+ weeks, start the process all over again with an appeal.But that's VAC.

Best of luck. Let us know please.

So got the information, It was determined that disability was service related, however they have it as 0%. However, they initiated an reassessment themselves without me even having to appeal, hopefully this goes a lot quicker then the initial application.
 
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stellarpanther

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Harley52 said:
My disability claim has been at Veterans Affairs Canada now since January 8, 2018 which equates to 104 weeks far cry from 16 weeks turn around time.  Am I the only one with a lengthy wait time?  Is this normal?

When I was complaining and calling everyone I could think of including my MP, I was told at the time that the oldest claim was June 2018.  One of the things I was told by one of the managers in VAC and by the VAC Ombudsman is that if your claim is before the oldest claim they are working on they will escalate your claim. You need to call the VAC Ombudsman.

 
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stellarpanther

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Navyynick said:
Well after 83 weeks my assessment is finally complete, does anyone know how long is takes to receive a decision letter and is there a way to tell if your assessment is favorable before you receive the letter?
If you have a VAC office in your city or rep on your base see them. They can print off the letter if it's ready and save you at least a couple weeks waiting for it to be mail it out.  The call centre can tell you if the letter has been created do you don't waste your time.  Just don't listen to them if they tell you that you need to wait for it in the mail.

 

Harley52

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Is Veteran Affairs Canada completely shut down if not are they still processing Disability Claims.
 

PuckChaser

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Rifleman62

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I bet you can now, right now, add another 8 weeks to the process. Could be more depending how things go.
 

Rifleman62

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I am surprised this wasn't published 1 Apr.

Trudeau gives away millions to other countries continuously, but VAC returns funding.


https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/feds-asked-to-automatically-approve-veterans-claims-backlog-amid-covid-19-fears

Feds urged to approve all veterans' claims in backlog amid COVID-19 fears - 2 Apr 20 - Lee Berthiaume CP

OTTAWA — One of Canada’s largest veterans’ organizations is urging the federal government to automatically approve the roughly 44,000 outstanding applications for disability benefits from injured veterans to help them better deal with the COVID-19 crisis. The call from the National Council of Veteran Associations, which represents more than 60 veteran groups, comes amid fears about the financial and emotional toll the pandemic is taking on veterans struggling with mental and physical wounds.

Veterans Affairs Canada says staff are still processing claims as they work from home and that there are no immediate plans to automatically approve the backlog, which was already a source of frustration and anger for many veterans forced to wait years for support even before COVID-19. But the COVID-19 crisis presents yet another barrier for veterans to get their applications approved, said council chairman Brian Forbes, who is also executive director of The War Amps Canada and a member of Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay’s policy advisory group.

“It was bad enough as far as the backlog and the delays and the number of new claims (before COVID-19),” Forbes said in an interview “And then when you put the coronavirus on top of it, you’ve got a perfect storm. Things are just not getting done. One of the issues facing some veterans is that they require a doctor’s assessment of their medical condition before their applications will be processed by Veterans Affairs. Yet many doctors are not seeing patients in person except in extreme circumstances, Forbes said.

Veterans Affairs recently reported more than 18,000 of the 44,000 applications in the backlog were “incomplete.” The federal government has long faced pressure to automatically approve applications for disability benefits for veterans, with Veterans Affairs going back after the fact to conduct audits and verify eligibility. Not only are approval rates for most categories of injuries — including post-traumatic stress disorder — extremely high, advocates warn delays add undue stress on veterans while potentially exacerbating difficult financial and medical conditions.

Yet Forbes suggests it doesn’t make sense for veterans to keep waiting months when the government is promising tens of billions of dollars in support to Canadians and companies to help with COVID-19 — much of which is expected to be disbursed quickly and verified later.

Veterans Affairs says the past week or so has seen more employees (more than 25, 75, 200? How many are working?) whose job is to process the disability claims continuing their work from home to ensure veterans are receiving decisions, especially those with the most urgent needs.

“Although we are not currently using automatic approvals with audits, we are encouraging decision makers to work more efficiently, using available evidence to reach the fastest decision possible,” Veterans Affairs spokesman Josh Bueckert said in an email. The call for automatic approvals comes as some veterans’ organizations are expressing concerns about the impact that the COVID-19 crisis is having on the mental and physical health of Canada’s wounded warriors.

Veterans Affairs says it has been checking up with former military personnel deemed “at risk” ( anyone on this forum been contacted?) while some organizations are using telephones and video conferences to continue providing therapy, counselling and other support. Yet many veterans suffering from physical injuries are now unable to get physio or rehab because of COVID-19 while the pandemic undermines one of the key messages broadcast to vets suffering from PTSD and other mental injuries in recent years: Don’t isolate yourself.

“We have been talking for many years about getting our veterans out,” said Royal Canadian Legion dominion president Tom Irvine, whose branches are helping former service members get groceries, access financial services and stay connected. “It is a concern. There are going to be veterans or members of the Legion that are going to slip through the cracks. Hopefully it’s minimal, but it is a concern. And that is why we’re reaching out on a daily basis.” Irvine also voiced his support for the government to just sign off on the backlogged applications for help.

VETS Canada president Jim Lowther, whose charity provides emergency financial assistance and other services to homeless veterans or those at risk of losing their homes, says the organization has had more calls for help in the past two weeks than usual. A former Canadian Forces member who was previously diagnosed with PTSD, Lowther says many veterans are worried about keeping roofs over their heads while for those suffering from mental injuries, “this is a dangerous time right now and hopefully it won’t last too long.”

Scott Maxwell, executive director of Wounded Warriors Canada, says his non-profit has also received more calls for mental-health assistance, which he took as a hopeful sign veterans suffering from mental injuries aren’t retreating and instead are reaching out for help. And while he says person-to-person contact is the “secret sauce” to his organization’s successful therapy services, he was hopeful its forced shift to online and telephone assistance could eventually see it better supporting veterans in more remote communities.




 

Teager

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Approving all claims is no easy task and backlogs would still exist. A veterans percent would still have to be determined for the injury/illness. This in itself would be a backlog. Then you get another backlog with payments which was already backlogged for all those choosing lump sum.

For new claims it is important for VAC to make sure all relevant information is there because if it's not and they just approve something it could cause issues down the road for other benefits.

Add to the fact VAC employees are working from home and this makes it next to impossible especially for veterans who are not using MY VAC and are still using mail.
 

Rifleman62

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I agree, although the backlog is so huge, the wait so long, something has to be done.

Take the risk. How does the gov't ensure our foreign aid is spent as per the agreement? If it's not what does the gov't do?
 

Harley52

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Coupled with the backlog of Disability Claims prior to Covid-19 and the current lack of approvals due to Veterans Affairs employees working at home, I envision the wait times for approval of all Disability Claims currently in the system will take 4-5 years at minimum.  The backlog will increase substantially with new Disability claims with no end in sight.  How can we help resolve terrible situation.  We are indeed in dire straits.
 

Rifleman62

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Letter from Brian Forbes re Lee Berthiaume's  CP article on 2 Apr 20, above.

I am attaching a news article entitled “Feds urged to approve all veterans’ claims in backlog amid COVID-19 fears,” published by the Canadian Press this week in a wide number of Canadian newspapers across the country.

During these difficult times, it is my considered opinion that the government must take dramatic steps to address the backlog of veterans’ claims and the significant delays in adjudication. As outlined in the article, we have indeed reached a “perfect storm” with the onset of the COVID-19 crisis.

It is noteworthy that many financial assistance programs currently being rolled out by federal/provincial governments are premised on the philosophy of “pay now and verify later.” In regard to a number of financial initiatives, the earlier need for medical reports to substantiate entitlement to these programs has been waived by the government, given the impracticality of accessing any input from the medical profession in Canada at this troubled time.

I raised this particular initiative at last week’s “Coffee Club” meeting in Ottawa convened by Deputy Minister Walt Natynczyk and Minister Lawrence MacAulay and attended by many leading veteran stakeholder representatives. There was a general consensus that this administrative/adjudicative measure leading to a form of automatic entitlement deserves immediate attention.

In my judgement, the department should adopt the position that veterans’ claims be based on the reasonable evidence provided by the veteran and his or her family with the proviso that individual files could be monitored over time and “spot audits” carried out to address any potential abuses. The clear reality that medical reports usually required by VAC to support these applications are almost impossible to obtain at this time must be recognized in assessing this present dilemma.

It is also noteworthy that it has been the longstanding view of NCVA that this form of automatic entitlement approach should have been implemented by VAC years ago in regard to seriously disabled veterans, with the objective of expediting these specific claims so as to circumvent bureaucratic “red tape” and in recognition of the fact that nearly all of these cases are ultimately granted entitlement in the end, often following many months of adjudicative delay. Now is clearly the time to extend this thinking to all veterans’ claims for all the reasons delineated in the news article.

In light of all the circumstances we are confronting today in Canada, NCVA will continue to pursue this solution with the Minister, the Deputy Minister and senior officials of VAC. In addition, I would recommend that all member-organizations in NCVA get behind this initiative by contacting your local Members of Parliament and any media contacts you may have developed over the years. I will be approaching other veteran stakeholder associations to support our position with the department and senior echelons of the federal government.

In my mind, the old adage that “desperate times call for desperate measures” is particularly apt in this situation.

Hoping everyone is keeping safe and your families are well!
 

Harley52

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Are there any Disability Claims being completed lately.  I see no evidence whether they are or not.  Can somebody shed some light on this subject.  Thank you
 

Firebird

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Current Wait Times Website indicated that 54 weeks for Disability Claims. This has been updated weekly and has remained at 54 weeks for the last month. I am currently at 72 weeks for Step 3. Not sure why it is taking so long. VAC was a mess before Covid 19 and they will be less of a priority going forward. Veteran voices and needs will be the last group that are addressed after the Pandemic.
 

brihard

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Rifleman62 said:
Letter from Brian Forbes re Lee Berthiaume's  CP article on 2 Apr 20, above.

The mechanisms for determining eligibility for a claim are regulatory and policy, not legislative- so if the political desire was there, VAC could expedite claims approval without having to change the law. If there's a time to move forward and aggressively approve the more 'obvious' claims they've been talking about for a few years now, this is it...
 

Jarnhamar

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There's a whole bunch of factors that come in to play with VAC claims and the complexity of the claim is obviously going to extend wait times.

I was helping a guy with a claim, he applied in December for tinnitus. He was assessed by a specialist in January and had 20 grand popped into his account end of March (after the world exploded). Lots of the cases I hear about seem pretty straight forward.

From what I've been able to gather, even before the bat apocalypse there was a back long in the system for various reasons.
-Mbrs releasing from the CAF submit a dozen claims at once that all have to be processed.
-Mbrs joining the CAF finish basic training or their trade course and start submitting VAC claims for those savage basic training courses
-Mbrs who want extra money put claims in to vac for injuries they think they should be compensated for.
-Mbrs put in fraudulent claims or very tenuous claims
-Mbrs who doesn't submit the proper paperwork
-Mbrs who submit illegible paperwork and need to be contacted and start over.

A huge issue I'm told from the VAC people are the mbrs who essentially hide out and require extra effort to contact and track down. Good ol "I'm not giving the chain of command my phone number!"


With luck maybe the government will actually order VAC to just approve everyone, but that's a lot of money. It's not all lump sum payouts. I know of a service couple out west making more money from monthly VAC payments than their monthly pay.


 
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