What is CPP Disability
ANSWER: CPP Disability is part of the Canada Pension
Plan (CPP). It is designed to provide financial assistance to CPP contributors who are
unable to work because of a severe and prolonged disability.
Benefits are paid monthly to eligible applicants and their dependent children. The
monthly disability benefit payment includes a fixed amount ($388.67 per month in 2005),
plus an amount based on how much and for how long the contributor paid into the Plan.
Payments are adjusted once a year in January if necessary, to reflect changes in
the cost-of-living index. The maximum benefit payable in 2005 is $1,010.23 (the
average monthly payment in 2004 was $734.45). The monthly children's benefit is a flat
rate that is adjusted annually. In 2005, the children's benefit is $195.96.
How do I qualify for CPP disability benefits
ANSWER: To qualify you must:
To remain eligible, you must continue to have a disability according to the CPP
How does the CPP legislation define "disability"
ANSWER: The CPP defines "disability" as a
condition, physical and/or mental, that is "severe and prolonged". "Severe" means
that you have a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing
any type of work (full-time, part-time or seasonal). "Prolonged" means your disability
is likely to be long term, or is likely to result in your death.
Do I need a minimum level of earnings to qualify
for CPP disability benefits, and how long do I have to contribute
ANSWER: You must have a minimum level of earnings to
make contributions to the CPP. In 2005, the minimum level of earnings to qualify
for disability benefits is $4,100. If your disability (as defined in CPP legislation)
began after December 31, 1997, you must have contributed to the CPP in four of the
last six years at or above the minimum level of earnings.
What if I have not contributed for enough years
ANSWER: Normally, this would mean that you would
not qualify for CPP disability benefits.
However, you may still qualify if:
you delayed applying (that is, you had enough years of contributions when you first
became disabled and you have been continuously disabled since then, but you don't have
your CPP contributions stopped or were reduced because you were raising your children
under seven years of age
you have obtained enough CPP credits from a former spouse or common-law partner through
credit splitting to make you eligible
you worked in another country with which Canada has a social security agreement.
Your contributions to that country's pension plan, when added to your CPP contributions,
may be enough for you to meet the minimum requirement
you were medically incapable of applying
When should I apply for CPP disability benefits
ANSWER: You should apply when you develop a
serious long-term or terminal medical condition that prevents you from working regularly
at your own or any other job.
How do I apply for CPP disability benefits
ANSWER: You must complete a written application.
Contact the CPP [1 800 277-9914 (toll-free)] for an application kit or visit
http://www.sdc.gc.ca and print a copy.
It will tell you what you need to provide so CPP can determine whether you meet
the eligibility requirements. It includes:
If you are unable to apply on your own, another person may apply for you.
application forms for you and your dependent children (see children's benefits)
a questionnaire about your work history and medical condition
a medical report to be completed by your doctor. If you have more than one doctor,
choose the one who knows the most about your main medical problem
a consent form to give the CPP permission to get additional information to process
a form to complete if you reduced your working hours or stopped working to care
for your children under the age of seven
What happens if I die before applying for
CPP disability benefits
ANSWER: CPP disability benefits cannot be paid unless
an application is received before the contributor dies. Surviving spouses or
common-law partners and dependent children may, however, apply for a CPP death
benefit, survivor's pension, and children's benefit.
I am between 60 and 65. I have stopped working
and think I might qualify for disability benefits. What should I apply for: a
retirement pension or a disability benefit
ANSWER: If you think you might qualify for a CPP
disability benefit, you may want to apply for both a retirement pension and a
disability benefit at the same time. You cannot receive both at the same time, but
the assessment process for CPPD applications is more complicated and usually takes longer.
If you have already begun receiving a retirement pension when your application for
disability benefits is approved, we will switch you to disability benefits if it is
clear to us that your disability started before your retirement pension began.
If you are receiving CPP disability benefits when you turn 65, they will automatically
be changed to a retirement pension; you will not need to apply again. You should,
however, apply for Old Age Security benefits at this time.
Can I receive a CPP survivor's pension
and a CPP disability benefit at the same time?
ANSWER: Yes. If you are eligible for both benefits,
they will be combined into a single monthly payment. Please note the following restrictions
to benefit amounts:
The most that can be paid to a person who is eligible for both CPP disability benefits
and the CPP survivor's pension is the maximum disability benefit (which is more than
the maximum survivor's pension)
The total amount of the combined CPP benefits paid is adjusted based on the survivor's
age and other benefits received
In other words, you cannot receive a full survivor's pension while also receiving
full CPP disability benefits.
Can I volunteer, go to school or work while
receiving CPP disability benefits
ANSWER: Yes. You can:
volunteer or attend school, participate in training or upgrade your skills without
affecting your CPP disability benefits
work - you can earn up to $4,100 (gross income before taxes in 2005) without having to
report these earnings to the CPP. Once you have earned $4,100, you need to contact the
Please note: this amount is not a point at which benefits are stopped; it is an opportunity
to see if you would benefit from some additional assistance that may help you return to
work on a regular basis.
In consultation with the CPP, you can also:
plan a return to work, tailored to your needs through CPP's
vocational rehabilitation services
participate in a paid work trial for up to three months while
continuing to receive CPP disability benefits. This gives you an opportunity to test
your ability to work on a regular basis
At what point would my disability benefits stop
ANSWER: Your benefits would stop only after you
have completed the paid work trial described above, demonstrating that you are able to
work on a regular basis.
What if my disability recurs
ANSWER: A new provision in the Canada Pension Plan
called automatic reinstatement provides a financial safety net for clients whose
benefits stopped because they returned to regular employment. If your disability
recurs within two years and you can't continue working, your CPP disability benefits
will be quickly reinstated upon request; you will not have to re-qualify. [Note:
automatic reinstatement is available only to clients who inform us when they go back
to work and whose benefits were stopped after January 31, 2005.]
There is also a fast-track re-application available for up to five years after your
benefits stop if you've been contributing to the CPP.
What benefits are available for my children
ANSWER: The CPP provides monthly benefits for
dependent children of parents who are receiving CPP disability benefits. If both parents
are receiving CPP disability benefits, their dependent children may receive two
children's benefits - one for each parent. Children may also be eligible for two benefits
if one parent has died (if the deceased was a CPP contributor).
Please note that, like all CPP benefits, children's benefits must be applied for in
writing. Don't forget to let us know if your family situation changes while you are
receiving benefits. If children are added to the family or are no longer in your custody,
we need to know so that we can offer additional benefits or cancel existing ones (to
prevent an overpayment that would have to be repaid later).
Who is considered to be "my dependent child"
ANSWER: Your child is your natural or adopted child,
or a child in your care and control. To be considered dependent, your child must be
either under the age of 18 or between 18 and 25 and attending a recognized school
or university full-time.
When do children's benefits stop
ANSWER: Children's benefits stop:
- if the parent stops receiving a disability benefit
- if the child is no longer dependent
- if the child is between 18 and 25 and no longer attends school full time
- when the child turns 25
- if the child dies
Can I also get disability benefits from
ANSWER: There are a number of disability benefits
you may be eligible for.
The federal government offers short-term illness benefits under Employment Insurance
(part of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada) and disability benefits (from
Veterans Affairs Canada) for those who have served in the armed forces.
All Canadian provinces and territories have Workers' Compensation benefits for
work-related illness or injury.
Provinces and territories offer social assistance to persons with a disability who
have a low income.
You may also qualify for benefits from private insurance or through your employer,
union or professional association.
If you lived or worked in a country with which Canada has an international social
security agreement, you may be eligible for disability benefits from that country as well.
The Government of Canada has also introduced a number of tax measures that recognize
the additional costs faced by people with disabilities. You may wish to contact the
Canada Revenue Agency at 1-800- 959-8281 to see whether any of these might be of help to
There are other programs that offer health care assistance and disability supports to
specific groups with special needs, such as persons with disabilities. If you have not
already done so, you may want to contact your provincial government to determine whether
you qualify for benefits.
The following web sites provide links to a number of sites of interest:
Do my CPP benefits affect the amount I receive
from other programs
ANSWER: Yes, they may. Family income-based benefits
from programs such as War Veterans Allowances, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the
Allowance and the Allowance for the survivor, and provincial/ territorial social
assistance take your CPP income into account.
Some insurance plans and provincial/territorial programs, including social assistance,
will pay you benefits while CPP considers your disability application. These other
payments may decrease or stop once your CPP disability benefits begin.
If you receive disability payments covering the same period of time from both the CPP
and another program, you may be asked to pay back some or all of your CPP disability
benefits to the other program.
If you have questions about how your CPP benefits might affect other benefits you
are receiving, you should contact these other programs.
Please note that CPP benefits are taxable. You can ask us to deduct income tax from
your monthly payment so you won't have to pay a lump sum at tax time.
Am I eligible for any other kind of benefits
ANSWER: You may be.
If you are over 65, you may be eligible for a pension under the Old Age Security Act.
If you have a low income, you may also qualify for the income-based Guaranteed
If you are between 60 and 64, are the spouse or common-law partner of an OAS pensioner
and have a low income, you may qualify for the Allowance. If your spouse or common-law
partner has died, you may be eligible for the Allowance for the survivor.
You may also be eligible for benefits under the War Veterans Allowances Act, administered
by Veterans Affairs Canada, or for Employment Insurance benefits and
other provincial/territorial and municipal income assistance and services.
What benefits does the Canada Pension Plan
ANSWER: There are three kinds of Canada Pension
- disability benefits (for disabled contributors and their dependent children)
- a retirement pension
- survivor benefits (the death benefit, the survivor's pension and the children's
The CPP operates throughout Canada. The province of Quebec administers its own program,
the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP), for workers in Quebec. The two plans work together to
ensure that all contributors are protected no matter where they live.
How is the Canada Pension Plan financed
ANSWER: The CPP is a "contributory" plan. This means
that all its costs are covered by the financial contributions paid by employees,
employers and self-employed workers, and from revenue earned on CPP investments.
The CPP is not funded through general tax revenues.
CPP funds are invested by the CPP Investment Board, an autonomous body whose mandate is
to achieve a maximum rate of return on investment without undue risk. Operating
independently of the federal and provincial governments, the Board's qualified
professionals invest CPP funds in financial markets, broadly following the same
investment rules as other pension plans. The Board is overseen by a board of directors.
The Board is accountable to the public and regularly reports its investment results.
Visit www.cppib.ca for details.
What happens if I pay into the Quebec
Pension Plan (QPP)
ANSWER: Which plan you pay into (CPP or QPP) depends
on where you work, not where you live. If you work in Quebec, you pay into the QPP. If
you work in any other province or territory, you pay into the CPP. Depending on where
you work over the years, you may pay into both plans.
The two plans provide similar benefits. If you pay into only one of the plans, you
apply to that plan for your pension or benefits.
If you have contributed to both the CPP and QPP, you apply to the QPP if you live in
Quebec when applying for benefits and to the CPP if you live elsewhere in Canada when
If you live outside Canada, you apply according to the last province in which you lived
before you left the country.
Regardless of which plan pays your benefit, the amount is calculated according to
your contributions to both plans and the legislation of the plan responsible for paying
What if I lived or worked in another
ANSWER: Canada has international social security
agreements with many countries. These agreements can help you get pensions or benefits
from either country or from both. If you did not live or work long enough in another
country to qualify under its rules, the time you spent in the other country may be
added to meet the requirement.
Can my payments be deposited directly to
ANSWER: Yes. You can obtain direct deposit forms from
us, as well as from many banks, caisses populaires, credit unions and trust companies.
If your payment comes by cheque, it usually arrives during the last three banking days
of each month. If you have direct deposit, the money will be deposited in your account
on the third-last banking day of each month.
Visit http://www.sdc.gc.ca and
select "E-services" to find out how to view your personal information and make changes
to it online if you change your name or your banking information.
Do I get cost-of-living increases
ANSWER: Yes. Your CPP payments are indexed to the cost
of living. Payments are adjusted in January, if necessary. Payments will not decrease
if the cost of living goes down.
Are my CPP payments taxable
ANSWER: Yes. CPP payments are taxable income. If
you wish, Social Development Canada can deduct income tax each month. If you do not
request monthly tax deductions, you may have to pay income tax in quarterly installments.
For more information, contact a tax services office of the Canada Revenue Agency
at 1 800 959-8281 or at http://www.sdc.gc.ca.
If you live outside Canada and are not considered a Canadian resident for income tax
purposes, a non-resident tax is withheld from your monthly CPP payment. The tax rate
is 25 percent unless it is reduced or exempted by a tax treaty between Canada and your
country of residence. If your income is low, you can apply for a reduction in the
If you have tax-related questions, call the International Tax Services Office of the
Canada Revenue Agency at 1 800 267-3395 (Canada and the U.S.), or (613) 952-2344 (all
other countries), or send a fax to (613) 941-6905. You can also get copies of many
Canadian tax forms and publications from your Canadian embassy or consulate.
Early each year, you receive a T4A(P) slip showing the amount of CPP payments you
received the previous year. You need this slip to complete your income tax form and
must include it with your tax return.