COVID-19 and the Veterans Emergency Fund: A Message from Brian Forbes, Chairman of The War Amps Executive Committee
April 21, 2020 — Many have inquired concerning new developments with respect to the Veterans Emergency Fund, as Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) has indicated a more active and liberal approach will be adopted during these
The Veterans Emergency Fund was created through the 2018 federal budget, providing VAC with funds to address financial emergencies confronting individual veterans and/or their families.
As outlined on the VAC website, the Veterans Emergency Fund provides “…financial support to veterans, their families or their survivors whose well-being is at risk due to an urgent and unexpected situation.”
The VAC documentation goes on to describe that the emergency fund covers essentials such as food, clothing, rent/mortgage, medical care/expenses, expenses required to maintain safety and/or shelter.
The department is quite enthusiastic about this program as it creates immediate relief for veterans in dire straits on a temporary financial basis. Prior to the enactment of the Veterans Emergency Fund program, VAC was without statutory authority
to expend dollars to deal with urgent situations impacting veterans and their families.
The Ministerial Policy Advisory Group, which I co-chair together with Andrea Siew, president of the Canadian Military Intelligence Association, evaluated this program at our last meeting and proposed that the program’s funding be enhanced, as
it is clear there is a demonstrated need in the veterans’ community and that additional funds are required to support the demand. We also recommended that the program be added to the general funding model for VAC, with funds available based
on the requirements of the veterans’ community as is the case with VAC’s other benefit programs.
For individual veterans who may qualify for this emergency funding, it is noteworthy that VAC is widening its scope of operations by authorizing service agents and case managers to approve such funding applications. Time will tell, but it would
appear that the department is expanding its application procedures and increasing the maximum contribution under the program, which will indeed represent a valuable complement to other VAC benefit policies.
The material found at veterans.gc.ca/eng/about-vac/legislation-policies/policies/document/2690 will provide further detail on the
program, the criteria and the application process.
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