Question: I was injured in the Second World War and only found out in 2010 that I could apply for a disability pension from Veterans Affairs Canada. My application was favorable but I am disappointed that my benefits were not retroactive to the date of my injury.
Insofar as retroactivity is concerned, the effective date of disability pension awards is governed by the Pension Act (subsection 39(1)) which provides that pensions shall be payable from the date an application is first made to the department or to a maximum of three years prior to the date on which a favorable ruling is made, whichever is the later date. The onus is on the veteran to apply.
Such contact may be made by telephone, a personal visit or in writing. In cases of written contact, the minister will accept the date on which the notification was received.
The Pension Act reads as follows:
39(1) A pension awarded for disability shall be made payable from the later of
(a) The day on which application therefore was first made; and
(b) A day three years prior to the day on which the pension was awarded to the pensioner.
The reason for the limitation on retroactivity is that there is no time limit in which a veteran can apply. Second World War and Korean War veterans are applying for benefits for the very first time many years after service. This is a very important part of the legislation.
Veterans who are applying for a disability award under the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act (the New Veterans Charter) are not entitled to any retroactivity. The date of payment of benefits is the date of the decision. However; as with the Pension Act, there is no limitation on when a veteran can apply for benefits.