48th VETERANS SERVICES
Blog – December 20, 2020, by Sgt Al Kowalenko, OMC (Retd)
COVID-19 and VAC
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) local offices are now closed due coronavirus restrictions and not open to public visits. You can access VAC by either visiting their website, www.veterans.gc.ca/eng or calling Ottawa directly at 1-866-522-2122. There is a special section on their website entitled: “COVID-19 Information and Assistance for Veterans” which is quite detailed.
Veterans Emergency Funds (VEF)
During COVID-19, VAC is offering additional financial assistance to veterans (Regular Force and Reserves) across the country through the Veterans Emergency Funds (VEF) program.
The following summary has been distributed previously by VAC:
“The objective of the VEF program is to provide prompt monetary assistance to eligible Veterans and their family members who are facing a financial crisis/emergency with the intent of resolving the immediate need. Where appropriate, applicants will also be referred to any alternate and/or additional resources for longer term support.”
VAC is now able to approve funding for up to three months at time with a total limit of $10,000. Each request will be reviewed on an individual basis according to need.
More information may be obtained at www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/finanical-support/emergency-funds/veterans-emergency-fund or telephone 1-866-522-2122.
Veteran’s Service Card (VSC) – NDI 75
Production and distribution of the new Veteran’s Service Card (VSC- NDI 75) has now been resumed. You may apply for a card on line or via mail. A copy of your military release certificate and a passport size photo will be required for your application.
All members of the Canadian Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) who have completed their service prior to 2016 are eligible to receive the card. This new card is valuable to confirm your CF veteran status when you wish to obtain VAC services and veterans discounts in the community.
Mental Health Support
To speak to a VAC mental health professional, call the VAC Assistance Service at 1-800-269-7708. You will then be connected with a community practitioner (non-military) for various counselling sessions depending on your need. This service is confidential for veterans and you do not have to have a VAC account to access it.
If you have had an operational stress injury (such as PTSD) from your CF service and wish to have military peer contact, call Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) at 1-800-883-6094. There is also additional information on this confidential counselling service at the OSISS website www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/services/guide/dcsm/osiss.html.
If you need additional assistance regarding the above or other VAC programs, please contact: Sgt (Ret) Al Kowalenko, 48th Veterans Services, at email: email@example.com or phone: 416-219-4967.