How Can You Claim Disability Benefits in Canada?

Billions of dollars are spent every year on a complex assortment of social benefits. Unfortunately, a substantial number of working age Canadians with disabilities end up being destitute and have to depend on welfare. Many of these cases result from lack of the requisite knowledge on how to successfully claim disability benefits. Though you would never wish to be disabled at any time, you should have the requisite knowledge of the options that are available to disabled Canadians, just in case this happens to you or anybody in close proximity to you. Here are the steps that will help you successfully claim disability benefits.

Know Your Legal Insurance Claim Options

The first step in making a successful disability claim is to know the options available to you. There are many disability benefits available in Canada including:

There are many more disability benefits, some provided by the government of Canada and others by the various provinces. The most important thing is for you to know the ones that you qualify for so that you can make the relevant application if the need arises. Once you have determined the benefits that you qualify for, the next step is to make the application. For some, you will be able to apply online through service Canada or make a hard copy application which you then submit to the relevant service Canada office. Follow this link to find out details of benefits available in your province and the right office to contact for assistance. There are also tax credits that can be very useful to you for your disability.

After determining the disability benefits that you qualify for, the steps to follow may vary slightly. The rest of this article will focus specifically on Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefits which is one of the most extensive disability coverage program run by the government of Canada. To qualify for CPP disability benefits, you must have made adequate payments into the CPP fund. This means that you must have contributed to the fund for at least four of the last six years. Alternatively, if you can demonstrate that you have been contributing to the program for at least 25 years, it will be sufficient to show that you have made the contributions for three of the past six years. However, you may be exempted from these requirements through the “child-rearing provision” if your responsibilities as a primary caregiver of your children have kept you from working.

Complete the Application Forms

CPP disability benefits application forms are available at all CPP administrative offices or service Canada offices. You can also download the forms from Service Canada website. Make sure you have a complete application package which must have the following:

  • CPP Disability Application Form– you are required to provide your social insurance number among other personal details. You must be thorough and accurate in providing the requisite information because a mistake could cost you and affect your dependant children’s ability to access supplemental benefits.
  • A Questionnaire for Disability Benefits– you will also need to complete a questionnaire for disability benefits. It contains information concerning your disability, diagnosis, the condition preventing you from working and the last day that you worked. The last day that you worked is important in determining when you should start receiving benefits if your application is approved.
  • A Medical Report– you will need to include your doctor’s medical report to your CPP application package. This report should detail why your condition is “severe and prolonged”, otherwise, your application cannot be approved. By “severe”, it means that your mental or physical disability prevents you from working regularly. The disability is “prolonged” if it has lasted or is likely to last for a year or is otherwise terminal.
  • A Consent Form (optional)– you may want to include a signed consent form authorizing the program’s administrator to obtain any requisite information directly from your doctor. This can make the application process easier as the administrator can always seek clarification from your doctor without reference to you.

Write a Cover Letter

While a cover letter is not a mandatory requirement in making an application for CPP disability benefits, it can be very helpful. In the letter, you indicate the documents that you have submitted as part of your application, details of your education, work history and a summary of how your disability has affected your ability to work.

Submit the Application

Once you have all the documents above, check to confirm that you have filled each of them appropriately. You can then submit your application to any CPP or Service Canada Office. You may want to have the application hand delivered to be sure that it has reached the right desk.

If you follow this guide, you will be on your way to receiving your disability benefits. You only need to be a little patient as the CPP program administrator assesses your application.

Can you Claim CPP Disability Benefits and Work?

CPP disability benefits are meant to help those who cannot work due to disability. You are not supposed to receive both CPP disability benefits and a salary at the same time. This would be considered fraudulent and your benefits could be terminated.