Canada Pension Plan Disability Claims
If you have become disabled and are no longer able to work, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits under the Canada Pension Plan. Struggling to know where to start? Has your application been denied? You may need our help to appeal the decision and receive the money that you’ve been contributing throughout your entire working life.
You may be eligible if you:
- Are under the age of 65
- Not already receiving the CPP retirement pension
- Have made enough contributions into the CPP
- Have a disability that is severe and prolonged
What is “severe and prolonged”?
Severe, under the CPP disability definition, is a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing any type of substantially gainful work. Work is substantially gainful if your earnings from it per year exceed the yearly cap for the yearly benefit amount.
Prolonged means that your disability is long-term with no definite end or is likely to result in death. Short-term injuries that are likely to heal would not qualify.
How much is “enough” CPP contributions?
To meet the minimum contributory requirements for the CPP disability benefit, you must have made contributions to the CPP in 4 of the last 6 years. Most who earn above the Disability Basic Exemption for those 4 years, which was $6,600 in 2023, would qualify.
Alternatively, if you have contributed to the CPP for at least 25 years, including 3 of the last 6 years then you would also meet the contributory threshold.
If you do not meet either of those criteria, but you did when you first became disabled, then you may still be eligible as a late applicant.
If you meet the above criteria, the first step is to complete the application and submit it to Service Canada for their review. The application itself is a form and you have the option to appoint a law firm as your authorized representative for the process. You will need a medical report from the insurance company if you are currently receiving disability benefits or from your family doctor on your condition. You can submit the form without a report and arrange for your doctor to send it directly to Service Canada. The decision-making process can take up to 4 months for Service Canada to decide regarding your application if you are eligible for the benefit.
Appealing the Decision
If Service Canada denies your application, it is not over yet! There are several different options that we can assist you with. The first is the reconsideration process, where you will request that a different Service Canada agent looks at your application and any new information you can provide to them at that time.
Should that agent also deny your claim, you can then appeal the decision to the Social Security Tribunal of Canada for review. It is important for you to act quickly if you decide to appeal as you only have 90 days to apply once you receive the reconsideration decision. This step is best done with the help of a legal professional, if you haven’t already arranged for one.
Social Security Tribunal of Canada (SST)
There are two levels of the SST that applies to CPP disability appeals. The General Division is the first level of appeal and must be done within 90 days of your reconsideration. The Appeal division is the second level, wherein you may appeal if the General division also denies your claim. If you are late, we can request an extension of time with your reasons of being late. However, if it is more than a year after the decision, the appeal will be denied for both divisions.
You can only appeal for specific grounds or reasons. For the general division, you can appeal if you believe you do qualify and that Service Canada was mistaken, or if you believe they made a mistake or treated you unfairly in your application. The Appeal division is stricter, you can only appeal if you believe the General division made an error in law, fact, or both. This means that you believe the General division made a legal mistake that cause an incorrect decision to be made on incorrect facts or by misapplying the law.
Why do I need a legal professional?
Navigating the government and their decisions can be challenging in the best of times, and when you are struggling with a disability that can be the last thing you’d like to do. Our Ottawa injury and disability lawyers and paralegals can help you to fight for your benefit should it be denied and give you guidance throughout the entire process.
At SG Injury Law, our Ottawa based lawyers and paralegals can help you determine your legal options if your CPP Disability Benefit claim has been denied. Contact us by calling (613) 518-2416 or filling out our contact request form today for a free initial consultation.