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QUESTION PERIOD — Ministry of Veterans Affairs

Critical Injury Benefit

February 15, 2024

In 2015, the government created Canada’s Critical Injury Benefit, a tax-free lump sum payment for Canadian Armed Forces members who meet specific criteria, including suffering from “. . . severe and traumatic injuries . . . .” from a “. . . sudden and single incident . . . .” that “. . . immediately caused a severe impairment . . . .” It has been reported that accessing this benefit has been really challenging, with wait times of well over a year for a decision. In one instance, a veteran was denied this benefit because it couldn’t be proven that a single incident led to his PTSD.

Do you think this benefit is working as intended? Why are such long wait times being reported?

Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P., Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence [ + ]

Thank you so much for that question.

We’ve seen the issue of the Critical Injury Benefit in the media — I have noticed different clippings over the last six months, since I have been the Minister of Veterans Affairs. However, what we also have to keep in mind is that Veterans Affairs has a number of different programs that our veterans are entitled to: compensation programs and awards, psychosocial programs, rehabilitation programs and so on.

With respect to the Critical Injury Benefit, we certainly recognize that the number of people who qualify for that program is probably minimal. However, in the winter of 2023, the department updated the language with respect to the qualifications of that benefit, because we want to make sure people understand what the eligibility criteria are in detail.

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