Taking control of your retirement – from the start of your career

With text from the Chief of Military Personnel Newsletter (By CWO Shawn Paterson):
 

When you first join the Canadian Armed Forces, you may not be thinking about Veterans benefits – but you should. The records of your service, where you have served, and any incidents or events could affect future compensation, benefits and supports you may need later in life.
 

You may be faced with some different scenarios when making an application to Veterans Affairs Canada for benefits, either at retirement or before.
 

Here are a few simple things you can do now to help make the application, approvals, access to care and support along with payments faster down the road.
 

  1. Proof of service in a Special Duty Area (SDA) or Special Duty Operations (SDO) – Your Member Personnel Record Resume (MPRR) may not include all dates and locations of service. This document is the best source of proof that you have served in a given area.
    1. Every retiring service person should review their MPRR and ensure all data is correct and all areas served are shown. This can be done during the Transitions Interview prior to release. While serving, you can view your MPRR through the Employee Member Access Application (EMAA) at any time, and you should review annually for accuracy and update it through your local Orderly Room.
       
    2. A SDO/SDA is an area of operations that has been designated by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Once you are assigned a Canadian Forces Taskings, Plans & Operations (CFTPO) number and arrive at the home of the unit deploying, you are covered by the SDO/SDA regulations, which have a direct relationship to VAC compensation and benefits. It includes all training directly related to the deployment, during mission leave, and until you are returned to your home unit. Note: Regarding training, this applies after Sept 11, 2001 for SDO/SDA.
       
  2. CF 98A CF 98 is a document that is used by VAC as a main tool to determine whether or not an injury was service related. If this document is on file and properly completed, it can make your benefits application through VAC much easier.
    1. The CF 98 is a form that is filled out by you and your Chain of Command. It identifies the nature of the injury, the time and place of the injury, and recommends corrective action to reduce the risk of such an injury happening again. Since 2006, they are electronically stored. Prior to 2006, copies were paper only, but a digitization effort is underway.
       
    2. Every injured person, and as soon as possible after the injury, needs to complete a CF 98. They should also keep a copy in their personal records. If this hasn’t been done then a letter from someone who can verify that the injury occurred (witness to the event) goes a long way. News articles that identify the incident, personnel and/or injuries will work. Police reports are good as well, it is important to have the report number.
       
    3. Every injury should be reported: it is hard to determine if an injury has occurred, or worsened, and is due to service or not, if there is nothing in your medical documents to actually document it.
       
  3. Health records on release – A transition interview is mandatory for all releasing Regular Force personnel (medical and voluntary), all medically releasing Reservists and all Reservists who have completed an operational deployment. It must be completed before releasing. At this interview, ask for an electronic copy of your medical records.
    1. These records are vital to being able to get a family doctor and having him/her completely aware of your medical history at the time of your release. 
       
    2. Your medical documentation also provides you with information to aid you in completing Disability Awards applications through VAC.
       
  4.  My VAC Account – This is available to all serving members and Veterans at . Work is being completed daily to make this a powerful tool for Veterans and VAC. It was created as a means to expedite application processes and keep Veterans’ information updated.
    1. All personnel, whether injured or not, should create a “My VAC Account”. Note: there may be some difficulties using the DWAN to access My VAC Account. This is being worked on.
       
    2. In hand with the Transition Interview, retiring or medical releasing personnel should seek assistance, from the VAC representative in their area, on properly filling out VAC applications for Disability awards or benefits.Transition Interview – Many CAF members are leaving their Transition Interview with VAC until the last minute, as part of their out clearance, and are basically missing an opportunity to help them prepare. This is a highly important meeting that is not clearly understood by the CAF membership.
       
  5. Transition Interview – Many CAF members are leaving their Transition Interview with VAC until the last minute, as part of their out clearance, and are basically missing an opportunity to help them prepare. This is a highly important meeting that is not clearly understood by the CAF membership.

    The Transition Interview is where eligibility for VAC programs can be learned about and better understood, and includes the reality that medical and dental plans need to be planned for after release. This is your opportunity to sit face to face with a VAC Case Manager and get things started on the right foot. It will reduce the chance of difficulties down the road.

 

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