COLUMN: CPP disability – are you eligible?

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Most people are familiar with Canada Pension Plan (CPP), but did you know there’s also Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits (CPP-D)?

CPP-D is a benefit that is paid monthly. To qualify for CPP-D, an applicant must meet three requirements:

They are under 65 years old.

They have enough contributions to CPP.

And they must have a severe and prolonged disability that prevents them from doing regular work.

Contributions are what you and your employer(s) have contributed to CPP while you were working.

To qualify for CPP-D, an applicant must have paid money into CPP for either four of the last six years, or if you contributed for at least 25 years, then for three of the last six years.

If it’s been too long since you last contributed to CPP, you may still be eligible for CPP-D under the “late applicant provision.” To qualify under this provision, you must have had enough years of CPP contributions when your disability started, and also been continuously disabled since your disability began.

A disabled person may also be able to apply under the “child-rearing provision.” This provision makes it easier for a parent who stayed home to care for children to meet the contribution requirements of CPP-D.

To qualify under the “child-rearing provision,” you must have been the main person looking after your children when they were younger than seven years old, you stopped working or made less money so you could take care of your children, and you must have been eligible for the Family Allowance or the Canada Child Tax Benefit.

If you are divorced or separated, you may be able to get some of the CPP contributions that your former partner made. You should seek legal advice before pursuing this option as it may or may not benefit you. There are also specific rules about applying for a partner’s contributions.

The disability can be physical, mental, or a combination of both.

“Severe” means that you are not able to work at all, or you can only work occasionally and earn a small amount of money.

“Prolonged” means that your disability is likely to last a long time.

CPP-D benefits are not automatically received. A person must apply for these benefits. Your application will be assessed by Service Canada staff.

If you have contributed to CPP, and have a medical condition that affects your ability to work, you should apply for CPP-D as soon as possible.

Your doctor or nurse practitioner will need to complete a specific medical report form. Therefore, you should first discuss with your medical professionals whether they think you have a severe and prolonged disability.

If approved for CPP-D, the amount you get per month will depend on how much and how long you contributed to the Canada Pension Plan.

Our next article will discuss the application and appeal processes for CPP-D in detail.

  • Melinda Katzman, CKLC Staff Lawyer (www.cklc.ca, 519-351-6771)

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