CPP Disability Benefits - Some Basics
Residents of the USA can apply for Social Security disability payments if they have an illness or injury that prevents them from working. People living in Canada who have a condition that doesn't allow them to work can apply to a similar program called CPP disability benefits. CPP stands for Canada Pension Plan. Whereas Social Security Disability is administered by the Social Security Administration, The CPP program is run by Social Development Canada (SDC).
The requirements to receive CPP disability benefits are similar to those for Social Security payments. The applicant must be disabled as per the requirements of the program, they must be between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five, and they must have paid into the CPP program for the required amount of time. However, if the applicant has paid into the social security program of a country which has a reciprocal agreement with Canada, then payments made into that country's program can be used to qualify. However, the final amount of disability payments would be based only on contributions to the CPP (or QPP, which is the Quebec Pension Plan).
You may apply for benefits online, by going to your local SDC office, or by calling Service Canada and having them send you the paperwork, which you can mail back if desired. There are a number of different forms that need to be completed, and some others that are not mandatory but may be advisable in your situation.
As with an application for Social Security disability, provide as much information as possible when applying for CPP disability. Don't assume that if you state that you have a certain condition, the examiner will understand how that illness or injury would prevent you from being able to work. It's necessary to explain precisely how you feel as a result of the condition, and also to explain exactly what you can and cannot do in regards to work. There's no way that you can provide too much information. Your doctor will need to fill out the medical report form, and if you have been treated or diagnosed by any specialists, it would be a good idea to also have them complete a medical report.
Should your claim be denied, or if you're not satisfied with the amount of the monthly benefit, you can appeal the decision. The first appeal would be a request for reconsideration by the CPP, which must be filed within ninety days of receiving the notice of denial. The next level of appeal is with the Commissioner of Review Tribunals, and this appeal must also be filed within ninety days of receiving the notice of denial of the reconsideration request.
The final level of appeal is with the Pension Appeals Board, a separate entity from SDC. Once again, there is a ninety day timeline for filing after the previous denial. Should you decide to retain a lawyer to appeal a CPP disability benefits denial, you have further appeal options - the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada.