The Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD) benefit is a monthly payment available to those who have recently contributed to the Canada Pension Plan while working, but due to a disability, became unable to work at any job on a regular basis.

The purpose of this benefit is to replace a portion of employment income. It is approved on the basis of how severe your disability or medical treatment is and how that affects your ability to work on a regular basis.

Benefits may also be available to dependent children.

Both are disability benefits, but they are very different in terms of who is eligible for each one, and what additional benefits are included.

One of the main differences is that in order to be eligible to receive Canada Pension Plan Disability, you must have made Canada Pension Plan contributions during your working life.  Also, with CPPD,  the disability relates to your ability to work. With PWD, the disability is not work related but is assessed in terms of your ability to complete daily living tasks such as grooming, cooking etc.

See our comparison chart and video for more information

PWD (Persons with Disabilities) CPPD (Canada Pension Plan Disability
BC Provincial Government Program Federal Government Program
Governed and delivered by The Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (MSDPR) Governed and delivered by Service Canada
Support, shelter and transportation allowance = $1133.42 for a single person (Oct 1, 2017) Minimum amount is approx. $500 based on years employed and CPP contributions for a single person
Benefits available (medical, dental, annual bus pass amount) No benefits available
Not income taxable Income taxable
Cannot be garnished Can be garnished
Employment earnings allowed up to $12,000 / year Employment earnings allowed up to $5,500 / year (2017)
Only allowed up to 30 days absence from province Can live anywhere in Canada

Watch our video explaining the differences between the two disability benefits

To be eligible for the Canada Pension Plan disability benefit you must meet the following:

•   You are under the age of 65
•   You stopped working because of a medical condition
•   You paid into CPP for at least four of the last six years (or 3 of the last 6 years if you have paid into CPP for at least 25 years)
•   Your disability must be "severe and prolonged" as defined by Canada Pension Plan

What does "severe" mean?

Having a mental or physical disability that prevents you from doing regular work on a regular basis.

What does "prolonged" mean?

The disability is long-term or is likely to result in death

To be eligible for CPP disability benefits, you must have a "severe and prolonged" medical condition (disability).

•   Severe means that you have a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing any type of work.

•   Prolonged means that your disability is long-term and of indefinite duration or is likely to result in death.

CPP disability benefits are not approved just based on your medical condition. Several factors are looked at together, including:

•   The nature and how severe your medical condition is;

•   How your medical condition and treatment affect your ability to work;

•   The prognosis; (future outlook for your medical condition)

•   Personal things such as age, education and work history; and

•   Your work performance, productivity and how much you are earning.

Canada has international Social Security Agreements with over 50 countries. For an individual who has worked in another country, it will help you qualify for pensions or benefits from Canada and/or from the other country if:

•   You have worked in Canada and made at least one valid contribution to the CPP; and
•   You have valid periods in a partner country that are creditable under the legislation of that country.

Click here for more details on international social security agreements.

If you are getting disability income from other sources, such as a private insurer or a provincial social assistance program, you may still be eligible to receive the CPP disability benefit. However, these other sources may adjust their payments if you are approved for a CPP disability benefit.

Contact your insurance company or social assistance program for details relating to your particular case.

Application must be completed in writing. Print out the main application form (ISP 1151), consent forms, certified true copies of required documentation and any other necessary forms from the CPP Disability Application Kit.

The application kit also includes a guide on how to complete the application.

Once the application is completed in full, mail it to the nearest Service Canada location.

*Note: Be sure to photocopy all documents before submitting.

If you have a terminal illness, complete the Terminal Illness Application for a disability benefit under the Canada Pension Plan. A decision on your disability application will be made within 5 business days of receiving the completed application.

Service Canada will assist with covering some associated costs of completing the Medical Report by paying up to a certain amount to your doctor.  It will be the doctor's responsibility to submit the invoice.  However, if your doctor charges over the limit of what Service Canada will cover, you will be responsible to cover the extra costs.

Service Canada will pay the doctor up to:

•   $85 for the initial medical report

•   $25 for the reassessment medical report

•   $50 for the "Scannable Impairment Evaluation"

•   $25 for the "Medical Report - Recurrence of the Same Medical Problem"

•   $150 if we ask you to provide other information in the form of a narrative report (depending on the complexity and the time required for completion).

(Fees are set in consultation with the Canadian Medical Association and are subject to change)

It takes approximately four months to hear about the results of your CPPD application from Service Canada from the date the application is received.

Even if you have a disability designation under other government or private programs, it does not automatically mean that you will qualify for CPP disability benefit.

The medical reviewer (adjudicator) will look at your application and the supporting documents you provide to decide if your disability meets the requirements of being both "severe and prolonged". When they are processing your application, they will call you to let you know about the process and ask for more information if needed.

If it has been more than 4 months since you applied for CPPD, you can contact Service Canada to follow up on the status.

Service Canada Phone numbers:

•   Canada and the United States Toll-free: 1-800-277-9914
•   Canada and the United States TTY: 1-800-255-4786
•   Outside Canada and the United States: 1-613-957-1954 (Call collect)

The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday.

For 2016, the average monthly CPP disability benefit is $933.82 and the maximum monthly amount is $1,290.81.

You will receive the basic fixed monthly amount ($471.43) plus an additional amount based on how much you contributed to CPP during your entire working career.

If you are receiving a CPP disability benefit, your dependent children may also be eligible for a children's benefit. To be eligible, your dependent children will need to either be under the age of 18 or be between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university. In 2016, the flat monthly rate your child can receive is $237.69.

For more information about eligibility for the Children's Benefit, click here.

*Note: CPPD payments are considered taxable income.

Yes, it is taxable income. Contact Service Canada to have income taxes taken off your monthly benefit.

There are certain provisions that may help you qualify for CPP disability benefits if one or more of the following conditions apply to you:

I stayed at home and raised my children

If you had zero or low earnings because you were the primary caregiver raising your children, the child-rearing provision could help you qualify for CPP disability benefits.

I applied too late for a CPP disability benefit

If you are applying for a CPP disability benefit but stopped working so long ago that you are now too late to apply, but you meet all the other conditions of eligibility, you may still be eligible for a benefit. This is called the late applicant provision.

You may be eligible if:

•   You had enough years of CPP contributions when you first became severely disabled; and
•   You have been continuously disabled (as defined by CPP legislation) from that date up to the present time.

See Canada Pension Plan for more information.

I am separated or divorced

The CPP contributions you and your spouse or common-law partner made during the time you lived together may be equally divided after a divorce or a separation. This may help you qualify for CPP disability benefits. Find out more about credit splitting for divorced or separated couples.

I lived and worked in another country

If you lived and worked in a country other than Canada, the credits you accumulated in that country may help you qualify for CPP disability benefits. Find out more on the Government of Canada website on "Lived or living outside Canada - Pensions and Benefits - Overview".

I was physically or mentally unable to apply

If you were physically or mentally incapable of forming or expressing the intent to make an application for CPP disability benefits, and you were also incapable of asking someone else to apply on your behalf, you should request the incapacity provision. You must apply within a year after you regained your capacity. See Canada Pension Plan for more information.

A statement of contributions shows your total Canada Pension Plan contributions for each year and the earnings on which your contributions are based. It also provides an estimate of what your pension or benefit would be if you and/or your family were eligible to receive it now.

How to get a statement of contributions?

If you have a "My Service Canada Account", you can view and print your statement of contributions from your account. Otherwise, you can contact Service Canada at 1-800-277-9914 and request a copy.

For more information on Statement of Contributions, click here.

CPP Disability Benefit is not necessarily permanent.  It is meant to help replace your employment income for the time that you cannot work on a regular basis due to your disability.

Your CPP disability benefit may stop if:

•   You are able to work on a regular basis

•   You are no longer disabled

•   You turn 65 *(see below)

•   You pass away (it is important that someone notify us about your death to avoid over payment).

As well, your case may be reviewed from time to time and reassessed to ensure only eligible people receive disability benefits.  If this happens, you may be asked to provide current medical and other information.

Once all necessary information has been received, a decision to continue or discontinue disability benefits will be made and you will be informed of this decision in writing.

Do note that when a CPP disability benefit is cancelled, any related children's benefits are also cancelled.

*If you are receiving CPPD when you turn 65, your disability benefit will automatically change to a retirement pension. You will not need to apply. Your retirement pension will be less than your disability benefit; however, you may also apply for a pension and benefits under the Old Age Security program.

Service Canada may be able to help you return to work through the CPP Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program.

You can participate in the Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program if:

•   You are receiving a CPP disability benefit

•   You are able to participate in the program

•   You are motivated

•   You are likely to return to work through the assistance of this program

•   Your medical condition is stable

For more information on the CPP Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program, click here.

Yes, you can do the following without it affecting your CPPD benefit:

•   Do volunteer work

•   Go back to school to upgrade or complete a degree, or

•   Take a re-training program.

If you cannot continue working because of the same or a related disability, you can ask to have your benefits automatically restarted without having to go through the normal application process again.

For more details, click here.

As of 2017 you can earn up to $5,500 (before taxes) without reporting it and without losing your benefits. This amount may increase in future years.

If you earn more than $5,500 you must contact Canada Pension Plan.

You can apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits under the Late Application Provision if you can proof you were disabled when you last met the contributory requirements. If you recently became disabled and your last contributions were years ago, you still can apply if you can eliminate years from your contributory period through the Child Rearing Provision or Credit Split.

Please read more about Child Rearing Provision and Credit Split.

If you are  told you are not eligible for a CPP disability benefit, you may request a reconsideration of the decision.

What is a reconsideration?

A reconsideration is a new review of your application by Service Canada staff who were not involved in making the original decision.  They will look at any new information supplied by you, or by others on your behalf. They may also need more medical information on your case and may ask you to see another doctor. If this happens, the CPP will pay for the doctor's visit and your travel to the doctor if that is necessary.

How do I request a reconsideration?

You must make your request for reconsideration in writing within 90 days after you are notified in writing of the decision.

Prepare your written request for reconsideration and include:

•   your name, address, telephone number, and Social Insurance Number;
•   a detailed explanation of why you want a reconsideration; and
•   any new information that could affect the decision.

Sign and date your written request and submit it by mail to the return address on the decision letter.

Reconsideration can take several months to complete, depending on the case. Service Canada will re-examine your application and will send the reasons for their decision to you by mail.


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