One of the scariest situations is becoming disabled and unable to work. You might want to provide for your family, but your disability can stop you from being able to perform your job. No one likes the idea of being unable to do what he or she used to do in the past.
The good news, though, is that if you have a disability that might keep you from working, you might be eligible for CPP disability benefits.
Who’s Eligible for CPP Disability Benefits?
Not just anyone can draw on CPP disability. First of all, you need to be under the age of 65 when you became disabled and not yet receiving a CPP retirement pension. It’s important to understand that CPP disability benefits are only available to those who aren’t retired and who can’t draw on their retirement benefits. If you are eligible, you will need to turn to your retirement benefits for your income replacement.
After you meet the basic age and pension requirements, you also have to have made enough contributions to the Canadian Pension Plan. So, if you want to draw on the disability benefits later, you need to be working right now, paying into the system. CPP disability benefits are meant as a safety net for those who have already been contributing to the system, and who have been engaged in regular work.
In order to meet the test that requires you to pay into the CPP, you need to have made sufficient contributions in four of the last six years. You can also get approval if you have made CPP contributions for at least 25 years (as long as three of the last six years have seen contributions). You case is reviewed individually, so other items might be considered, including your ability to work over time. You need to show that you have made what CPP contributions you can if you want to qualify for the benefits.
If you are unsure about whether or not you are making the right amount of CPP contributions, you can contact Service Canada. You can find out what level you should be at in terms of regular contributions, and get on track if you haven’t been contributing what you should. That way, if you are disabled, you will be eligible for CPP disability benefits when you are injured in a way that keeps you from earning money.
On top of that, you need to be able to show that your disability keeps you from working any job regularly. You need to be able to prove that your disability is likely to last a long time, or that it will likely result in your death. Before you can draw on your CPP disability benefits, it’s important that you make sure that you truly are disabled, and unable to work in a reliable manner. If it’s just a temporary issue, you won’t be allowed to begin drawing on your benefits.
Applying for CPP Disability
You can download an application for your CPP disability benefits online, or you can request a hardcopy kit. Either way, you need to send in your request for benefits in writing. Even if you get the application package online, you will need to print it out and sign the appropriate forms, and then send in the application. Each application comes with a checklist, so you can make sure you have all the documentation (including a medical report filled out by your doctor) needed too qualify. At some point, you might be able to apply for benefits electronically, without the need for sending in hardcopies, but right now that’s not the case.
Also, you should understand that it can take several months for your application to be processed. As a result, it makes sense to apply as quickly as you can after you realize that you will be unable to work for some time. If possible rely on your emergency fund, or on some other source of funding to help you get by until your CPP disability benefits begin to arrive. If you have a terminal condition, it is usually possible to speed the process up so that your family begins receiving benefits before you pass. Because these benefits are individual, and are carefully reviewed, you need to be able to plead your specific case.
CPP disability benefits provide a safety net for families. It’s one of the government programs that can provide support to families who might be in danger of losing a breadwinner. If you have been working, and then you are no longer able to work to support your family, the CPP disability program offers a way for you to obtain the funds you need. Get educated about the process, and make sure that you take advantage of benefits available to you.