The government of Canada and the provincial governments recognize the need to ensure that your disability does not lead to destitution. There are various programs designed to help you financially when you are disabled. They range from actual financial disbursements, tax credits to education funding. Unfortunately, when some Canadians get disabled, they live in financial distress because they have no idea about these programs.
Help from the Government of Canada
If disabled and you are eligible, the following disability assistance programs can be helpful.
- Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefits. Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits will be available to you if you have made enough contribution to the pension plan and your disability prevents you from working on a regular basis. The disability must be both severe and prolonged. If you qualify for CPP disability benefits, your dependent children under the age of 25 years may also be eligible for monthly financial benefits. The children will continue to receive financial assistance even if you die before they attain the age of 25 years. Your children under the age of 18 years will receive financial assistance unconditionally while those between the ages of 18 and 25 years will receive the benefits if they are full time students at recognized schools.
Disability Benefits for Veterans. If you worked as a member of the Canadian Forces or Merchant Navy and as a result suffered a permanent disability, you could be eligible for financial assistance under disability pensions program. There is also a disability award which is a tax free award designed to provide you with an immediate financial support. The award could be a lump sum payment, annual payments for some years or a combination of both depending on your preference. The application forms and the details on how to apply are available at Veteran Affairs Canada.
Child Disability Benefit. If you are living with a disabled child under the age of 18 years who is eligible for disability tax credit, you will be entitled to child disability benefits, a monthly payment. For the child to be eligible for disability tax credit, a medical practitioner must certify on Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate, that the child has a severe and prolonged mental or physical impairment. The form must then be approved by Canada Revenue Authority.
Disability Tax Credit. If you are disabled or living with a disabled person, you may be eligible for disability tax credit. It’s meant to reduce the amount of income tax that you would otherwise have to pay. To be eligible, you will need a medical practitioner to certify that you have a severe and prolonged impairment and state the effects of the impairment. The medical practitioner’s certificate must then be approved by Canada Revenue Authority. You apply by filling form T2201.
Excise Gasoline Tax Refund. You can apply for a refund of part of the federal excise tax that you pay when you purchase gasoline if you have a permanent mobility impairment that prevents you from using public transportation safely. You will need a certified medical practitioner to certify your impairment. You may download the application form here.
Canada Disability Savings Grants and Bonds. Canada disability savings grants and bonds will be available to you if you have a registered disability savings plan. The disability savings grant is a matching grant where the government helps you save by paying into your disability savings plan. The government grants may be up to 300 percent of your savings depending on your family income and contribution. However, it is limited to $3,500 per year and $70,000 over your entire life.
Provincial Disability Benefits
Apart from the above disability support programs run by the government of Canada, the provinces also have their own programs that can be very helpful to you. A list of the provinces and their disability assistance programs is available here.
Disability Help Denied?
Whether you are applying for CPP disability benefits, tax credits or any other disability help, your application may be denied. For example, 60 percent of initial CPP disability benefits applications are denied because of failure to provide the necessary employability and medical information among other reasons. If you are denied disability benefits, you can reapply, request for internal review of the decision or appeal to the Social Benefits Tribunal.
Appealing Denial of Disability Support
If you have requested for an internal review and you still do not agree with the decision, you are free to appeal to the social benefits tribunal. The appeal should relate to any of the following:
- being refused or cut off financial assistance,
- the reduction of assistance to recover an overpayment,
- the amount of assistance,
- community start-up benefits, employment and training start-up benefits,
- appointment of a trustee to receive your cheque if you are 18 or over,
- medically necessary transportation costs and certain health supplies, and
- employment assistance, including referral to education or training, help with job searches,employment placement and community participation.
You may need a disability benefits lawyer to help you with the appeal process to minimize the chances of making mistakes.
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