The 4 Steps to Take When Applying for a VAC Disability Award

You may hear discussion of your service injury referred to as a pensioned condition, a disability “award”.  Someone may ask you, “Are you applying for an award for your tinnitus?”  The usual troop response would be, “No, I’m applying for hearing aids for my tinnitus”.  Don’t assume the worst, just a different department and different terminology. Always remember, regardless of how it may seem, VAC is there to help you get the services you need and with more knowledge you will be able to negotiate the VAC process in a very positive manner.

From what we have seen so far that seems to be the exception rather than the rule and barring occasional errors, most veteran patients we interact with feel well looked after once the process is complete. Although timelines are a bit long and errors sometimes occur we truly do have some of the best coverage in the country and considerably in the world, to seek a healthier and better quality of life after service for you and your family.   It’s your earned right and worth it to apply.

With most of the process being available online as well as by phone or in person, you, the veteran, have options on how you feel most comfortable approaching this.

Step 1: Your first step is having a diagnosis related to your service.  If you do not have one contact us or Veterans Affairs Canada to assist in finding the appropriate specialist

Step 2: Getting the application form

Most VAC offices are open business hours, closing on government and stat holidays.   You do not need to be a current client of VAC to initiate contact with one of their client service agents, and most offices have a duty case manager of the day if required.   They are able to print off the document you need to get started.

Request by phone

VAC’s phone lines are staffed during business hours, simply ask one of the agents on the phone to mail you an application for disability benefits.

VAC Office Number: 1(866)522-2122

Request online

You can download the fillable form from VAC’s website here.   Fill in your particulars, and print it.  http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/after-injury/disability-benefits/how-to-apply

 

Step 3: Preparing the application

Once you have received the completed medical portion from your doctor you need to establish the connection to your service and attach the items requested here;

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/after-injury/disability-benefits/application-checklist

 

Step 4: Submitting your application

There are a variety of ways for submitting your application to VAC. To make it easier for you, we’ve included all the phone numbers, addresses and websites needed for making your submission.

Online: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/services/after-injury/disability-benefits/submit-application

Online via My VAC account: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/e_services

In person at your local office: http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/contact/map

By mail: Veterans Affairs Canada, PO Box 6000, Matane QC G4W 0E4

 

As always, if you have any questions regarding Veterans Affairs programs or applications contact Spartan Wellness and we would be happy to assist any way we can.

 

– Andrew Brown, Spartan Wellness Volunteer

Helping the Helpers

Spartan Wellness is pleased to announce its participation in Helping the Helpers, a day-long event taking place on Oct.28 at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This informative event will focus on coping and dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and feature talks from local professionals, including doctors, paramedics, police,  and physiologists.

Among those speaking at the event is renowned psychiatrist and Spartan Wellness specialist, Dr. Celeste Thirlwell, who will talk about Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and medical cannabis as a treatment for PTSD symptoms. Dr. Thirlwell has helped dozens of Canadian Veterans and Spartan Wellness clients, all of whom have experienced positive outcomes as a result of her unique therapeutic approach.

Spartan Wellness will be the only clinic represented at the event. Spartan team members will be on hand to offer information about health and wellness treatments and programs available through Spartan Wellness for the treatment of PTSD

Registration is $20 or $30 including lunch at Morrison Hall. To register, please email t.snow-keeling@hotmail.com, michelle.mac2006@hotmail.com, or phone 902-623-1473 or 902-318-5959.

If you or a loved one suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and would like information on treatment programs available through Spartan Wellness, please call us at 1-877-219-1255, email info@spartanwellness.ca or complete an Interest Form found here.

10 Things I Wish I Knew Coming Out of the Forces

Transitioning out of the Forces into civilian life can be emotionally and financially challenging for anyone. In order to make that change as smooth as possible, we asked Spartan Wellness co-founder, Riad Byne, to list his top 10 of what he wished he knew coming out of the Forces. In his own words, here is Riad’s top ten.

I wish I knew…

1. What financial entitlements were available to me, as well as the array of other services I could access.

2. To be financially prepared for a gap between receiving my military pay and receiving severance and pension income. The timelines can be much longer then indicated when going through the release process

3. SISSIP is not the final financial support available; it is only a 2- year interim solution designed to be a stop-gap between release and either employment or VAC entitlements. Not all services advertised are easily attainable by all members. Due to the backlog of applications and the administrative requirements, it took a lot of time and patience to complete all forms.

4. My new income was not always adequately taxed at source. Don’t wait till you file your tax return to make up the difference. Ask to have more taxes taken off from your income sources so there are no big surprises.

5. That I would actively have to find new health care providers (doctor, dentist etc) and deal with the fact that I would have to go into all of my physical and mental health history with new people. I found myself going to walk in clinics and it became very difficult getting the help I needed while becoming very frustrated. Take the time to research and find the resources before you get out.

6. After I left, the regimental family, including friends, co-workers and their families, continued with their work. This sometimes meant that I lost touch with individuals and felt a loss of association with my former unit. You lose a sense of purpose and belonging. Find things and hobbies to fill the void, promoting you to get out and exercise your body and mind within your new normal.

7. There are few “fully transferable” trades that equate to good paying jobs on civie street. Despite years of training and experience, expect a pay cut if you’re staying in your field. As good as our pay seemed at the time, there are expenses that occur that you may not be used to, thereby making your new civilian pay seem even less. Plan for this and look to upgrade your education and skill sets. Use the resources to their full advantage.

8. There are many resources available to assist in transition, but you must self-advocate and request those services. Education and/or an experienced 3rd party advocate is key in this area.

9. Adjusting my personal and household spending habits to align with being paid once a month. It was a huge adjustment and can really put things back if not prepared. Be proactive.

10. Include your family in the transition. I tried going it alone and with so much involved it became overwhelming quickly. Having an extra set of eyes and ears is best.

It takes time to find your new normal. Do not be in a rush to get busy. Take the time to find out what you can and can not do and work within that. If you set too lofty expectations for your self it will prove to be difficult and potentially set you back if you cannot meet them. Always try and stay positive and think of positive solutions and, most importantly, remember; you served your country and you deserve the best you… don’t sell yourself short and take the time to heal and find wellness and life balance. A healthy you allows you to help others achieve health as well! 🙂

If you are transitioning out of the Canadian Military and need help accessing your VAC entitlements or require guidance, please email Spartan Wellness at info@spartanwellness.ca, call us at 1-877-219-1255 or fill out the Registration Form found here