Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit

To qualify or be eligible for disability pension benefits the employee must have enough CPP contributions and meet an extremely stringent definition of disability. 

Qualification Criteria

The Canada Pension Plan provides a disability pension for employees who contributed to the CPP for at least 4 of the past 6 years (or 3 of the past 6 years after 25 years of contributions) and suffer from a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability that prevents them from engaging in any substantially gainful occupation.

Most disability pensions are denied because the disability must be considered to be both:

  • SEVERE: [incapable (not able or fit to pursue any substantially gainful occupation as a result of the disability) of regularly (the capacity to work is sustainable) pursuing (to actually engage in an occupation, and does not mean being able to look for work) any (work that a person might reasonably be expected to do regardless of whether it is his/her previous job by virtue of a) having the necessary skills, education or training; b) having the capacity to acquire those necessary skills, education or training in the short term; and, c) having reasonable access to suitable employment, given the individual's limitations but does not mean a job has to be available) substantially gainful occupation (work that is productive and profitable. This is measured in part by a dollar amount that is set annually and against which a person's earnings are compared. However, earnings alone do not determine whether the regular capacity to pursue work exists. CPP also assesses elements of functional capacity, productivity and performance.)] and 
  • PROLONGED: [disability will prevent the individual from going back to work in the next 12 months, or is likely to result in death].

Benefit Amount (Updated for 2013)

The CPP disability pension benefit is calculated based on earning when the disability occurred rather than the projected retirement benefit.

According to Service Canada, the average monthly disability pension benefit is $856.67.  The dependent children of a claimant who are under the age of 18 and in school full-time receive a $228.66 monthly benefit.

Benefit Period

Benefits commence after 4 months of total permanent disability and continue to a maximum age of 65 provided that the claimant continues to suffer from a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability that prevents them from engaging in any substantially gainful occupation.

Taxation

CPP disability pension benefits are taxable income.