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Little-known Canadian Benefit Programs – IV (Veterans)

After discussing about federal student benefit programs, disability benefit programs, and income assistance programs, we will conclude this series by looking at some veteran and refugee programs.

War Veterans Allowance (WVA)

Veteran Affairs Canada offers the WVA to support eligible persons or their surviving spouses, common-law partners or orphans through a monthly income as recognition for their war service. The allowance is contingent on income, family status, and number of dependents and recipients may be paid at a single, couple or orphan’s rate. Canadian Armed Forces, Merchant Navy, or Allied Veterans (who lived in Canada before or after the war) who served in the First or Second World War or the Korean War are eligible. Consideration is also given to civilians who served as close support to the Canadian Armed Forces during wartime.

The WVA is an income-tested program similar to the GIS and most regular income is included while determining eligibility. The benefit amount is adjusted quarterly to help keep pace with inflation. Applicants must reside in Canada at the time of application but can receive the allowance outside Canada if they had resided in Canada for 12 months before departure and were receiving the WVA on the day of departure. However, there are some restrictions to receiving the WVA outside Canada; please refer to the relevant link for detailed reading.

Agent Orange Ex Gratia Payment

This program provides a one-time, tax-exempt ex gratia payment of $20,000 to persons who have an illness due to the exposure to contaminants present in unregistered US military herbicides, including Agent Orange, which was tested at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in 1966 and 1967.

Veterans Affairs Disability Pension Program

The Veterans Disability Pension program is designed to help persons suffering from a medical disability related to their war service. Canadian Forces or Merchant Navy Veterans of the First or Second World War or the Korean War, present or former members of the Regular or Reserve Force, or civilians who served as close support to the Canadian Armed Forces during wartime are eligible to apply. The pension amount is dependent on the service and disability.

A Prisoner of War Compensation program and other special allowances such as Exceptional Incapacity Allowance, Attendance Allowance, and Clothing Allowance are also available (refer to the link above for all).

Detention Benefit

This benefit is offered to members and veterans of the Canadian Forces if they were detained by an enemy or terrorist (group), evaded detention or escaped. A tax-exempt lump sum payment is made in accordance with the New Veterans Charter Act.

Immigration Loans Program (ILP)

To help refugees, the federal government offers the ILP funded by the Consolidated Revenue Fund. These loans are mainly offered to government-assisted or privately-sponsored members of the Convention Refugees Abroad, Country of Asylum and Source Country classes to support the cost of medical tests, travel documents and transportation to Canada. Loans are also given to new refugees to cover expenses including rent, work tools, etc.

Other programs offered by the federal government for refugees are the Resettlement Assistance Program and the Interim Federal Health Program.

Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada

Free language training classes (part-time and full-time) are offered across Canada to adult permanent residents to help with their acclimatization. More newcomer services available can be found here.

The Government of Canada offers many programs and benefits, some not as well-known as the others; hopefully, this series would have shed some light on many of them. For a comprehensive list of Canadian Benefits, refer to the Canada Benefits page.

Do you take advantage of any provincial program(s) that fellow readers could benefit from? Did you miss out on a benefit for long before becoming aware of its existence? If so, what was the benefit/program?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism.  You can read his other articles here.

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