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The Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) disability benefits are offered by Veteran Affairs Canada to health support the well-being of those who have served in the armed forces. As of 2021, roughly 19% of veterans are served by Veterans Affairs Canada. 

What Is Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) Disability Program? 

The Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) disability program operates through the Bureau of Pensions Advocates. It is a tax-free monetary payment that is meant to support the welfare of qualifying veterans. Based on need, the amount beneficiaries receive depends on your entitlement level and your condition’s severity. The more your disability reduces your quality of life, the higher the value of the benefit. This is determined through an assessment performed by VAC. 

Who Is Eligible For The VAC Disability Program?

To qualify for this benefit, you must meet at least one of the following criteria: 

  • Be a member of the Canadian Armed Forces or a veteran thereof
  • Be either a former or current Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) member
  • Be a veteran of World War II or of the Korean War, including the Merchant Navy
  • Be a qualifying civilian who served during World War II 

If you fall into one of the above categories, have a diagnosed disability or medical condition, and can prove that your injury originated from your service, then you should apply. To be eligible for the plan, you must meet all of the above criteria. 

VAC Disability Payment Dates 2023

As with most government-issued benefits, you can register for direct deposits to receive the payment on the day the benefit gets issued. The VAC disability and pension payment dates for 2023 are as follows:

Benefit Payment Dates
January 30
February 27
March 30
April 27
May 30
June 29
July 28
August 30
September 28
October 30
November 29
December 21

VAC Benefits

Depending on your situation, you can qualify for one of two types of benefits. 

Compensation For Pain and Suffering

Compensation for pain and suffering comes in either the form of a lifetime monthly benefit or as a lump sum amount. The choice lies with the beneficiary, with specific amounts as follows: 

Rate of Pain and SufferingCompensation (%)Disability Extent (%)Monthly Benefit ($)Lump Sum Amount ($)
*The table above is a shortened sample, for the full list of rates please click here.

Disability Pension

Disability pension provides a lifetime benefit, paid monthly. It increases depending on how severely your disability impacts your life. The VAC performs an assessment to determine the level that which the issue impacts your ability to function. This determines the class into which you get categorized. Additionally, if the qualifying veteran has any dependents such as children or a spouse, then the amount increases. 

Monthly Benefit ($)Additional Monthly Payments ($)
ClassSingle VeteranWith SpouseOne ChildSecond ChildEach Additional Child 

If there is exceptional incapacitation, there is an additional allowance issued based on severity. The highest amount is $1,598.45 and the lowest is $532.84 per month. There are other benefits, such as Critical Injury and Death Benefits that address the immediate expenses paid after extreme circumstances. 

Check Out These Other Disability Programs
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)Learn More
British Columbia Disability AssistanceLearn More
Nova Scotia Disability Support Program Learn More
New Brunswick Disability Support ProgramLearn More
Child Disability Benefit (CDB)Learn More
Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP)Learn More

How To Apply For The VAC Disability Program? 

If you are an eligible veteran and plan to apply for the VAC benefit, there are two main avenues to apply: 

  1. Using your My VAC Account, you can complete an online application. If you don’t yet have an account, you can create a new one using a secure online service. The next step involves verifying your identity using personal information.
  2. If you have any issues with the online service, you can call the toll-free number or visit Service Canada or Royal Legion and complete the application in person. You can download the forms, fill them out, and mail them in rather than completing an online application. 

Additional Veteran Programs You May Qualify For

Regardless of whether you qualify for the VAC disability benefits, there are other Veteran support benefits you may be able to access. These include: 

Critical Injury Benefit

The Critial Injury benefit has a cash value of $78,989.83 that gets issued as a lump sum amount. It is entirely tax-free and is designed to address the immediate results of traumatic and severe injuries or diseases that resulted from service. 

Rehabilitation Services 

This service is a part of the Income Replacement Benefit and is meant to supply 90% of your gross, pre-discharge military salary. It is available while you participate in Rehabilitation Services through the VAC. The benefit provides a minimum income of $51,419.23 yearly, before tax. 

Clothing Allowance 

If you receive a disability benefit for an issue that directly causes extra wear and tear on your clothing, then you can qualify for this benefit. It also applies if you have a service-related disability that causes you to require specialty clothing. There are ten tiers for the benefit, each representing a different level of severity. The highest value of the benefit is $226.41 and the lowest amount is $25.10.

Treatment Benefits

Treatment benefits offer financial benefits and a variety of services to assist veterans in maintaining health. If you qualify, you can get a VAC healthcare card that covers medical out-of-pocket expenses for things like prosthetics and prescriptions. The actual amount of coverage depends on the severity of your issue. 

Benefits For Survivors 

Financial support is provided for survivors (spouse, children, etc.) of a pensioner receiving disability, a memeber of the armed forced, or a Veteran so died in serving.

If your spouse has passed away, you may qualify for the Allowance For The Survivor benefit.

Financial Advice 

Veterans have access to various support services to assist with financial management. There are services to assist with money management and financial planning. While there are many services online, you can also contact your local VAC office to receive assistance.

Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation 

This tax-free benefit is issued to veterans who incur a permanent, service-induced disability. The extreme severity must pose a barrier to the veteran becoming established as a civilian after service. As with the other benefits, it varies based on how much the disability impacts the veteran. The minimum value is $529.01 monthly while the maximum is $1,587.02 per month. 

Attendance Allowance

This benefit is meant to compensate for the price of hiring a caregiver, whether full or part-time, to assist with regular activities. It varies from $319.79 to $1,998.03 per month, based on how severe the disability is. Attendance refers to the amount of time the caregiver spends tending to the needs of the veteran. 

Exceptional Incapacity Allowance

A tax-free benefit issued monthly, the exceptional incapacity allowance is for serious injuries or illnesses that drastically impact the veteran’s quality of life. Provided the veteran undergoes ongoing pain, emotional, mental, or physical, the benefit has a value of up to $1,598.45. As with the other benefits, it is based on the severity of the issue. 

What Is The VAC VIP Program? 

The Veterans Independence Program (VIP) is a benefit that is meant to assist veterans in retaining independence within their homes. It is a tax-free payment that can assist with costs such as landscaping, personal care, transportation, nutritional requirements, and other needs. The program coordinates with various registered service providers and reimburses them directly, requiring no out-of-pocket expenses. If the veteran uses non-registered providers, they can submit receipts for reimbursement. For situations where the veteran is awaiting payment, the VAC processes it along with their regular monthly benefit payments. 

VAC Disability Benefit FAQs

Are VAC payments taxable?

While most VAC benefits are non-taxable, there are exceptions like the income replacement benefit. Veterans Affairs offers financial counselling, where you can determine the tax implications of the benefits. In most cases, there is no tax on the disability benefits at all. 

Do veterans get paid for life?

Veterans can, in situations where they require assistance, receive monthly payments for life. Or veterans can choose to take a lump sum at any point. 

What is Pension for Life? 

Pension for Life combines benefits such as income support and recognition programs to encourage the wellbeing of Canadian Armed Forces members and service veterans, provided they live with a disability related to service in the military. It combines Pain and Suffering Compensation, Additional Pain and Suffering Compensation, and Income Replacement. 

What happens to the veteran’s family if they pass? 

If a veteran dies while receiving a monthly pain and suffering benefit, and has not received the equivalent value of the lump sum amount, it transfers to beneficiaries. Surviving spouses and dependent children receive the remainder in the form of a lump sum payment. 

Are survivors and surviving dependent children eligible for the Pension for Life?

Yes, the surviving spouses and dependent children can qualify for certain Pension for Life benefits. These include the Pain and Suffering and Income Replacement Benefits.

Final Notes 

Whether you are a qualifying veteran or know someone who may benefit from these services, it can help to understand how VAC disability benefits work. The easiest way to access financial assistance is to use the online portal to reach your veteran’s account and apply within the portal. Once you begin the application process, the VAC office guides you through the remainder of the process. By taking advantage of the programs available to you as a veteran, you can claim the benefits you earned while serving your country. 

Corrina Murdoch avatar on Loans Canada
Corrina Murdoch

Corrina Murdoch has been a dedicated freelance writer and editor for several years. With an academic background in the sciences and a penchant for mathematics, she seeks to provide readers with accurate, reliable information on important topics. Working as a print journalist for several years, Corrina expanded her reach into the digital sphere to help more people gain insight into the realm of finances. When she's not writing, you can find Corrina swimming and spending time with family.

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