CPP Disability BenefitsGrant M. Driedger
The legislation that set up the CPP Pension plan we're all familiar with also created a lesser known social safety net: disability benefits. If you or someone you know is unable to work due to a mental or physical disability, these benefits can form a critical part of their income going forward.
To be eligible a person must:
- be under 65 years of age;
- have made contributions above the "minimum level" to CPP in four of the six years prior to the onset of the disability;
- have a disability that prevents them from doing any type of work on a regular basis; and
- the disability must be long term and of indefinite duration.
The threshold to meet the definition of "disabled" within the legislation is quite high. It states that a person's disability must be both "prolonged" and "severe", and be such that the person is rendered incapable of doing any "substantially gainful occupation".
The program provides that a person who meets the criteria may be eligible to receive a monthly income until they reach 65 years of age (at which time CPP retirement pension takes over). The amount payable ranges from approximately $400.00 per month to $1,100.00 per month, depending on what the person's CPP contributions have been over their lifetime. In addition to the monthly payments, it also has the effect of increasing the person's retirement pension once they do turn 65.
If an applicant has been disabled for some period of time, they may be able to receive a payment covering retroactive entitlements for approximately one year prior to the application date. That will amount to thousands of dollars in a lump sum.
The process of making application for disability benefits can be long and frustrating. We can help. If you know someone who might be in need this type of assistance, contact our office for more information.Download the printable version of this article