Mental Health Benefits for Veterans

Quicker access when needed most

By: Brock Hickman

Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces will now get instant mental health care if they file for disability benefits for specific mental health issues. Treatments for mental health issues connected to stress, trauma, and anxiety are covered. Regardless of whether your application for disability benefits is accepted, coverage will last two years starting when submitted. Veterans Affairs Canada’s Therapy Benefits program will pay for treatment for as long as necessary if or when the application is granted. Costs for prescription medications and medical services, such as evaluations and treatment by psychologists, counsellors, social workers, or other qualified mental health experts are also included. The main objective is to support veterans’ mental health with immediate access to benefits while their applications for disability benefits are being processed.

Beginning on April 1, 2022, people who have already applied or are awaiting a decision will receive these benefits immediately. The eligibility for any benefits, services or programs offered by Veterans Affairs Canada is unaffected by the Mental Health Benefits. All veterans, including those who reside outside of Canada and those who are still serving in the Reserve Force on Class A or B with 180 days or less of service, the Primary Reserve, the Cadet Organizations Administration and Training Service, Supplementary Reserve and the Canadian Rangers, are eligible for mental health benefits. 

The three types of mental health conditions that fall within the Mental Health Benefits’ coverage criteria are: 

  1. anxiety disorders
  2. depressive disorders
  3. trauma/stress-related disorders.

Examples of mental health conditions falling within these categories include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, adjustment disorders, panic disorders, depressive disorders, dysthymia, and major depression. This is crucial because one-fifth of Canadian Veterans have been diagnosed with a mental health condition at some point in their lives, the most common of which are depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders.

Because provincial/territorial health care systems have historically differed across the country regarding mental health assessment and treatment services, veterans are frequently unable to access prompt coverage. Some Veterans are compelled to pay out-of-pocket or postpone care until their claim for disability benefits is granted as a result of this. The fact that some veterans cannot pay for care while awaiting a benefit decision causes additional delays in their medical care and rehabilitation. The average turnaround time for a decision on a disability benefits application was 16 weeks, depending on the quality of the claims and application backlogs. A decision on some veterans’ claims has even been delayed for two years. The new mental health benefits, which aim to address these problems and more, will now give veterans immediate access to care.

I would strongly advise using the sites below to find help. If you are a veteran experiencing mental health problems, you will get instant mental health coverage! Please also refer to my article, Mental Health Resources for Veterans, for more details on mental health services and assistance across Canada.
For more information, please visit:

A more extensive FAQ can also be accessed here: