How the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit can help you

Akiva Medjuck of National Benefit Authority about Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability

Written by: Lianne Castelino

Published: Oct 8, 2015

Guest Contributor

If you are a disabled person in Canada, there are many resources available to you at both the provincial and the federal level. If you suddenly find yourself unable to work due to a long-term or permanent disability, you could be eligible to access the pension you have been paying into throughout your working life. If you have been employed, your CPP contributions have been deducted from your paycheques. If you are self-employed, your contribution is included in the taxes you pay – either way, it’s based on your income, so the longer you’ve been in the work force, the higher it’s going to be.

The basic federal disability benefit is $453.52, and is a fixed amount for all recipients. Your CPP contributions are what will make up the difference in what they will pay you. The total amount you will receive will be somewhere between the minimum of $841.95 and a maximum of $1212.90. If the disabled applicant has a dependent child, the child may be eligible to receive an additional monthly amount of $228.66.

Apply for the CPP disability benefit as soon as you know that a disability is of issue. The date your application is received will be the date your benefits are prorated to, so it is definitely advantageous to apply as soon as possible. The requirements state that you must be under sixty-five years of age, and you must meet the definition of a ‘severe and prolonged’ or terminal medical condition. Conditions that would apply under these circumstances are:

  • Late stage cancers
  • Cancer that has a terminal prognosis
  • Severe head injuries
  • Any mental or physical disabilities that prevent you from working in any significant capacity

In defining ‘prolonged’, at least for the purposes of this program, it will be determined that the disability is expected to last indefinitely, or for an extended period of not less than one year, or is likely to result in the eventual death of the applicant. Your doctor must complete the medical portion of the application, which will be assessed by the program’s adjudicators, who will consider several factors when reviewing your condition. These factors include:

  • The nature of your medical condition as well as the severity
  • The impact of your condition on your ability to work
  • The impact of treatment on your ability to work
  • Your long-term prognosis
  • Age, work history, education and other personal details that may be a factor
  • Your income, productivity and your overall work performance

The adjudicators are qualified health care professionals, including nurses who have extensive knowledge in CPP legislation, and are supported by physicians and specialists who provide expert advice on complex medical issues. Some other things to note about the CPP Disability benefit program:

  • You may still be eligible to receive benefits even if you are already receiving disability benefits from another source, insurance or otherwise. The amount may be adjusted for this reason, but it does not disqualify you
  • You must be under the age of 65 and not yet receiving your Canada Pension benefits, or have been receiving them for less than fifteen months.
  • You meet the contribution requirements

For further information on how to apply for the CPP Disability Benefit, visit the service Canada website.

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