What is the CPP Disability Benefit?

The CPP (Canada Pension Plan) Disability Benefit is a Canadian program that can provide financial assistance to Canadians who are unable to work due to impairments as well as their dependents who are either under 18 or between 18 and 25 and in full time education.The CPP Disability Benefit, however, has high denial rates, which can lead to incredible frustration, especially when the reason for denial is unclear.

Types of CPP Disability Benefits

There are two CPP disability benefits: the CPP Disability Benefit and the CPP Post-Retirement Disability Benefit.

To be eligible for the CPP Disability Benefit, you must be under the age of 65 and not receive the CPP retirement pension. To be eligible for the CPP Post-Retirement Disability Benefit, you must be between the ages of 60 and 65 and must have been receiving the retirement pension for more than 15 months or have become disabled after starting to receive the pension.

You cannot receive both benefits at the same time. Upon turning 65, if you are receiving the CPP Disability Benefit, your benefit will automatically become a CPP Retirement Pension and if you are receiving the CPP Post-Retirement Disability Benefit it will stop.

What are the Disability Requirements?

Unfortunately, there is no standard definition of disability in Canada. This means that there is no clear-cut answer on whether your disability qualifies for CPP disability benefits.In general, your disability will be assessed based on several factors:

  • Its nature and severity;
  • Its impact on your capacity to work;
  • It’s likely course;
    Your age, education, and work history; and
    Your work performance, productivity, and earnings.

Are There Contribution Requirements?

It is not enough to have contributed to the CPP to receive a disability benefit; your contributions must meet certain time requirements. To be eligible, the start of your disability must have happened when you have made recent payments into the CPP. The time period depends on your years of contributions:

  • If you have 25 years or more of contributions, you must have paid for at least 3 of the last 5 years;
  • If you do not have 25 years of contributions, you must have paid for at least 4 of the last 6 years.

If you don’t yet meet these requirements, then you will not be approved for the benefits no matter your level of disability. You may need to work for longer to be eligible.

There are other ways to receive credit for CPP contribution other than by working in Canada. These include:

  • Credit splitting if you are separated from a former spouse;
  • Credits from working in another country if you paid into its national pension plan; and
  • Credits from being out of the workforce to raise a child under the age of 7 as their primary caregiver.

How Long Until a Decision is Made?

It can take months for a decision to be made on your application. If your disability is severe, this can make the application process faster. For example, these are estimates provided by the government:

  • Eligible disabilities generally receive a decision within 4 months;
  • Grave disabilities generally receive a decision within 30 days; and
  • Terminal illnesses generally receive a decision within 5 business days.

Grave conditions are those that are progressing quickly; this can include conditions such as brain cancer or Parkinson’s Disease. Terminal illnesses are those which are reasonably expected to result in death within six months.

What If My Application is Rejected?

Some cases are more challenging to win than others, and this often comes down to what evidence was included in the application as well as the way it was presented. You can always appeal your CPP disability claim if your application has been rejected, but you should first consider trying to strengthen your case.

Here are three examples of things that can make your case stronger:

  • Providing medical records that specifically speak to how your condition and treatment have impacted
    your ability to work;
  • Finding a doctor who supports your disability claim; and
  • Providing evidence that you have tried to stay in the workforce such as by performing modified work
    duties, working reduced hours, or even trying to find easier jobs.

How Can NOVA Injury Help?

At NOVA Injury Law we will act on your behalf to advocate for you in your disability claim.

The whole idea behind a disability claim is to ensure you are provided compensation for your disability – and this is a wide-ranging task with unique facts in each case. To learn more about NOVA Injury Law’s approach to protecting disability claims, contact us now to book your free Case Review.

During the free Case Review process, we will give you our honest opinion about your case, how much your disability claim might be worth, and what you should consider as your next steps.

If you are in need of legal advice or representation for your disability claim in Halifax, Nova Scotia, or anywhere in Atlantic Canada, our personal injury lawyers are here to help. Contact us today and tell us more about your claim – we are here to help!