Benefits for Children under 25

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) children's benefits provide monthly payments to the dependent children of disabled or deceased CPP contributors.

The child must be either:

  • under age 18
  • between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university.

There are two types of Canada Pension Plan (CPP) children's benefits:

  • A disabled contributor's child benefit for the child of a person receiving a CPP disability benefit – a monthly payment for a natural or adopted child or a child who is in the care and custody of the person receiving a CPP disability benefit.
  • A surviving child's benefit for the child of a deceased contributor – a monthly payment for a natural or adopted child or a child who was in the care and custody of the contributor at the time of death. For the benefit to be paid, the deceased contributor must have made sufficient contributions to the CPP.

A maximum of two benefits can be paid to a child.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To be eligible, the child must be:

  • the natural child of the contributor
  • a child "adopted legally" or "in fact" by the contributor while under the age of 21
  • a child "legally" or "in fact" in the custody and control of the contributor while under the age of 21.

A child may be eligible if the parent or guardian:

  • has met the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contributory requirements
  • is receiving a CPP disability benefit or has died.

Note: Once children turn 25

Once children turn 25, they are no longer eligible for these benefits.

Canada Pension Plan contributory requirements

For the benefit to be paid, the deceased contributor must have met the following contributory requirements.

The deceased contributor must have:

  • contributed to the CPP for a minimum of three years.

If the CPP contributory period of the deceased contributor is longer than nine years, they must have contributed to the CPP in one of the following (whichever is less):

  • one-third of the calendar years in their contributory period
  • 10 calendar years.

Learn more about contributions to the CPP.

The international social security agreements that Canada has with other countries may be used to satisfy these requirements. See lived or living outside Canada.

How much can a child get?

The monthly children's benefit is a flat rate that is adjusted annually. In January 2013, the rate is $228.66. Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

How and when to apply?

Dependent children, or their parent or guardian, should complete an application when any of the following happens:

  • a parent or guardian has applied for a disability benefit (you do not have to wait for the benefit to be approved before applying)
  • when a child comes into the care or custody of a parent or guardian who receives a disability benefit
  • a parent or guardian dies

You should apply as soon as possible. If you delay, you might lose benefits. The Canada Pension Plan can only make back payments for up to 12 months.

If you are applying for a child under age 18, you must complete one of the following:

If you are a full-time student between the ages of 18 and 25, you must complete these forms:

Note: School attendance

If you are between 18 and 25 years of age, you must be attending school full time at a recognized educational institution. You must complete the declaration form when you first apply for a benefit, at the beginning of every school year, and when you return to school after having left for a time. We may also ask you to complete the form at the beginning of each semester if you are on a semester system, or if your attendance starts in the middle of the traditional school year.

Who should complete the application?

If you are caring for a dependent child of a disabled or deceased contributor and the child is under the age of 18, you should apply for the children's benefit on behalf of the child. However, children under age 18 who are living on their own and can show they are capable of managing their own affairs may complete their own application.

If you are a dependent child who is between the ages of 18 and 25 and in full-time attendance at a school or university, you should apply for the children's benefit yourself.

Who receives the benefit payment?

If the child is under the age of 18, the benefit is normally paid to the person with whom the child is living. However, in some cases, the benefit can be paid to the child who has applied.

If the child is 18 or older and qualifies because of full-time attendance at a school or university, the benefit is paid directly to him or her.

The children's benefit is paid during normal school vacations, but will stop if the child has not sent us a signed school attendance form when he or she returns to school following vacation. The Declaration of Attendance at School or University (ISP1401) must be completed each year or semester and signed by both the child and a school official.

If the child leaves school and then later returns to school full time, the child must complete the Declaration of Attendance at School or University (ISP1401) again to reinstate the children's benefit. It will be paid starting the month he or she returns to school. The children's benefit will not be reinstated unless the child applies.

When will the benefit start and stop?

If a child of a disabled parent or guardian is eligible for a monthly benefit and an application has been submitted, the benefit starts the latest of:

  • the month the contributor's disability benefit starts, or
  • the month after the child is born or becomes the contributor's child.

If a child of a deceased parent or guardian is eligible for a monthly benefit and an application has been submitted, the benefit starts the latest of:

  • the month after the contributor dies, or
  • the month after the child is born.

The benefit stops after the month in whichever happens first:

  • the child turns 18, or, if age 18 to 25, is no longer in full-time attendance at a school or university.
  • the parent or guardian's disability benefit stops.
  • the month after a child is no longer in the care or custody of the parent or guardian receiving a disability benefit.
  • the child dies.

You (the child or the parent or guardian) must tell us about any changes that affect eligibility, such as a child is added to the family or is no longer in your care and custody.

If you receive payments to which you are not entitled, you will have to pay them back.

The application was submitted. Now what?

It takes approximately eight weeks to receive your first payment from the date Service Canada received your completed application.

If more than eight weeks have passed and you would like to find out the status of your application, contact us.

What are my responsibilities while receiving the children's benefit?

You must notify Service Canada if:

  • you stop attending school (between the ages of 18 and 25)
  • your attendance changes from full-time to part-time
  • your "child" relationship to the contributor ends or changes
  • you change your name or address.

Remember, if you receive payments to which you are not entitled, you will have to pay them back.

See our page What you need to know when receiving Canada Pension Plan.

Other questions about the children's benefit

What happens when a child reaches 18?

Children are eligible for benefits from age 18 until age 25 as long as they remain in full-time attendance at a school or university.

The child must complete these forms:

If a child marries, does he or she lose the children's benefit?

Benefits are not affected if the child marries, as long as all other eligibility requirements continue to be met.

What types of schools does the CPP recognize?

The CPP defines recognized educational institutions as schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions that provide training or instruction of an educational, professional, vocational, or technical nature. The institution must also be recognized by the province in which it is located.

Am I eligible for benefits if I attend school outside Canada?

Yes, if the CPP recognizes the school, and you continue to meet all other eligibility requirements.

What if I am attending school part time?

In certain situations, you may be eligible for a benefit when you attend school part time. For example, if you are taking courses at more than one educational institution, the course hours may add up to full-time attendance. Each situation is considered individually. Contact us for details.

What if I am receiving a benefit as the child of someone who receives a CPP disability benefit, and he or she dies?

Your eligibility to the disabled contributor's children's benefit would end the month of your parent's death. However, you could then be eligible for the surviving children's benefit as the child of a deceased CPP contributor.

I work in the summer and contribute to the CPP. Does that affect my eligibility for a children's benefit?

No. You receive a CPP children's benefit because you are eligible as the dependent child of an eligible CPP contributor who has died or who receives a CPP disability benefit. The fact that you also contribute to the CPP does not affect your eligibility. The contributions that you make now will entitle you to other CPP benefits in the future.