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RCMP Benefits FAQs

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Questions and Answers: RCMP with ALS

The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Veterans Affairs and State (Agriculture) announced with the ALS Society of Canada on October 15, 2010, that veterans with ALS will now be eligible for increased benefits.

RCMP members living with ALS will also now be able to obtain the help and support they need faster than ever before. These individuals will now be able to receive benefits such as disability pensions, treatment and nursing care support – services which are greatly needed by members and their families affected by this devastating disease.

To aid in the understanding of the new benefits, VAC has developed the following questions and answers.

Members with ALS are encouraged to contact VAC or the Royal Canadian Legion if they have any questions when applying for VAC benefits, as they will be able to provide guidance and assistance to individuals concerning the application process.

Q1. I am a RCMP member with ALS. How will this new policy benefit me?

RCMP members whose ALS is related to their service will have access to a wide range of services, including disability pensions and allowances, health benefits, program counselling, case management, advocacy support, and assistance in accessing programs from VAC or other community agencies. They will receive care and benefits when they require them.
VAC is sensitive to the rapid progression of this devastating disease and the urgent requirement for action. With these new measures, we will be able to better assist those living with ALS.

Q2. My spouse/common-law partner was a RCMP regular/civilian member and he or she passed away (either recently or some time ago) from ALS before this new policy was implemented. Am I eligible for survivors’ benefits under the new policy?

Surviving spouses/common-law partners may apply for survivor benefits in cases where the member would have been eligible. All eligible survivors/surviving dependants will receive the disability benefits to which they are entitled.

Q3. My spouse/common-law partner is a RCMP regular/civilian member with ALS. Are there benefits for me under the new policy?

When the member is found to be entitled to a disability pension, he or she may also become eligible for additional pension on your behalf.

Q4. My parent/family member is/was a RCMP regular/civilian member with ALS. Are there benefits for me under the new policy?

If a member is deceased there must be an eligible surviving spouse, common-law partner or dependant to qualify for disability benefits. If a survivor or surviving dependant was not living with the member at the time of death, he or she must meet other criteria in order to qualify for benefits.

If the surviving dependant is a child over the age of 18, he or she must meet other criteria to qualify for benefits.

Q5. I am a RCMP regular/civilian member with ALS who was denied services in the past. Should I reapply at this time?

VAC will review previously denied claims in the context of the updated policy and, depending on the evidence, previous claims may now be approved. If VAC or the Bureau of Pensions Advocates has not already contacted you, you are encouraged to contact VAC, the Royal Canadian Legion  or any other Veterans’ organization for assistance.

Q6. VAC denied my request for benefits prior to my diagnosis with ALS. Now my diagnosis of ALS has been confirmed. Should I reapply?

If you now have a confirmed diagnosis of ALS, you are encouraged to reapply for benefits. Your application will now be reviewed in the context of the updated policy.

Q7. I received a letter/phone call some time ago stating that VAC was awaiting guidance to decide on my claim/appeal for benefits. Do I continue to wait or do I have to re‑file the paperwork?

You are encouraged to contact your VAC or Bureau of Pension Advocate representative or a representative from another veterans’ organization of your choice to determine what is required. You may not need to re-file any paperwork.

Q8. I was awarded 100% disability for other conditions. Should I still apply for my ALS?

Although you may already hold 100% disability assessment, if you suffer from ALS and do not currently receive benefits related to this condition, you are encouraged to apply to ensure that all your needs are met. You may be eligible for additional benefits relating to your ALS condition.

Q9. I have been diagnosed as having a motor neuron disease. Will I qualify for VAC benefits under the new policy for ALS?

Motor neuron disease includes a number of medical conditions, one of which is ALS. The new policy applies only to confirmed diagnoses of ALS and not all motor neuron diseases. However, you are still encouraged to submit an application as you may qualify for benefits specific to your claimed condition.

Q10. How can I apply for disability benefits?

You must first obtain and complete a VAC application for disability benefits. You may obtain an application one of four ways: Download an application from our website; call us toll-free at 1-866-522-2122; visit one of our district offices across the country; or contact the Royal Canadian Legion.

A VAC Pension Officer will be pleased to assist you in preparing your application. You can also receive help from representatives of veterans’ organizations such as the Royal Canadian Legion.

Q11. I live out of the country and there are not any ALS Society offices here. I also can no longer speak, how do I go about obtaining benefits?

You may download a VAC application for disability benefits from our website. Once you mail your completed application form to VAC, a VAC Pension Officer will be pleased to assist you in preparing your claim through correspondence.
General inquiries to Veterans Affairs may be directed to the following email address information@vac-acc.gc.ca.

Important Note: For security reasons, please do not send personal or confidential information via email, as this communication method is not secure and can be observed by a third party while in transit.

If you reside in:
United States: 1-888-996-2242 (toll-free)
United Kingdom, Germany, France, or Belgium: 00-800-996-22421 (toll-free)
Any other country: 613-996-2242 (collect)

Q12. What paperwork do I need to have when applying for VAC benefits, i.e. such as discharge and/or service papers, and how can I obtain a copy of my medical records?

You must provide VAC with medical documentation from a qualified medical practitioner, which includes a confirmed medical diagnosis of ALS, presented with a detailed medical report confirming the diagnosis. We will provide you with the required form with your application for your doctor to complete.

VAC will assist you in obtaining a copy of your medical records. Once you mail or drop off your completed application form and medical documentation to VAC, a VAC Pension Officer will order your service records, review your application, medical reports and service documents, and let you know if there is anything else required to complete your claim.

Q13. If my spouse/common-law partner was an RCMP regular/civilian member and has since passed from ALS do I need a death certificate or other paperwork when applying to the VAC for benefits?

Yes, you must submit a copy of the death certificate as well as medical reports or other records that document the cause of death. For more information, you may call us toll-free at 1-866-522-2122.

Q14. How long will it take to approve my claim?

VAC will fast track ALS claims as it does with all applications submitted by a member who is suffering from a serious illness or financial distress or who has urgent health needs. A dedicated team handles benefits and services for members with ALS, and the applications are processed immediately.

Q15. How can I check the status of a pending claim?

You can check the status of your claim by calling VAC, toll-free, at 1-866-522-2122 (English) or 1-866-522-2022 (French).

Q16. How is my disability assessed and why do some members receive different levels of compensation?

The Table of Disabilities is the instrument used by VAC to assess the degree of medical impairment caused by an entitled disability. Assessments are provided when entitled conditions are considered medically stable.

A disability assessment takes into consideration both medical impairment and the condition’s impact on one’s quality of life. A medical impairment rating is provided for the physical loss of, or deviation in the normal functioning of a particular body system.

The quality of life rating, provided by the client, is the functional loss in which the entitled disability has impacted on personal relationships, and recreational and community activities. The medical impairment rating and the quality of life rating are then combined to determine the disability assessment.

Each disability is rated on its own merit in accordance with the appropriate table and criteria within the Table of Disabilities. As it progresses, the disease can be reassessed as needed.

Q17. What is the disability compensation rate for a RCMP regular/civilian member suffering from ALS?
In general, disability assessments which direct the rate of compensation range from 0-100 percent and are determined based on the severity of a medical condition. For veterans with ALS, the level of assessment and compensation would be based on the extent of symptoms and impairment, loss of function and quality of life impacts. Reassessment can be done at anytime if the symptoms increase or new symptoms develop.

Q18. Is disability compensation considered taxable income?

No. Disability pensions are tax-free payments.

Q19. Will my disability benefit be paid as a lump sum or a monthly pension?

RCMP claims are still ruled under the Pension Act, and therefore you would receive a monthly pension.

Q20. Will this new policy allow RCMP regular/civilian members to obtain full health coverage for ALS treatment?

Through an administrative agreement with the RCMP, VAC provides health care benefit coverage to civilian and retired/released RCMP members who are awarded a disability pension. Serving regular members who are awarded a disability pension will continue to receive all of their health care benefit coverage from the RCMP Health Service Offices.
Civilian or retired/released regular members, once awarded a disability pension, will be able to obtain full health coverage as it relates to their ALS.

Q21. Will I be eligible to receive financial help for the purchase of a van with a wheelchair ramp?

When a civilian or retired/released regular member is awarded a disability pension for ALS, he or she will be able to obtain full health coverage as it relates to that condition. Eligibility for treatment benefits associated with ALS may include access to vehicle modifications, where there is a health-related need for such modifications.

The civilian or former member may be eligible for modifications of a motor vehicle (for example a ramp, a raised roof or lowered floor), or for the additional costs factory-installed modifications, if the client is paying extra to have these features added to a new vehicle.

Q22. Will I be eligible to receive financial help for home modifications as a result of requiring special equipment?

When a civilian or retired/released regular member is awarded a disability pension for ALS, they will be able to obtain full health coverage as it relates to that condition. Eligibility for treatment benefits associated with ALS may include access to home adaptations needed to assist an individual to remain independent in the home, if the individual has a health-related need for the adaptations.

Q23. Does the new VAC policy cover assistance in the home?

Yes. If a civilian or retired/released regular member holding pension entitlement for ALS requires assistance with care at home, he or she may be eligible for nursing care as well as a monthly attendance allowance.