Disability Benefit

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit is a taxable monthly payment that is available to people who have contributed to the CPP and who are not able to work regularly at any job because of a disability.
The CPP disability benefit is not designed to pay for such things as medications and assistive devices.

To qualify for a CPP disability benefit, you must:

Note: Are you a health professional?

Health professionals play a key role in the CPP disability benefit process. Find out what you need to know if you are a health professional.

When do I apply?

You should apply as soon as you develop a severe and prolonged or terminal medical condition that prevents you from working regularly at any job.

Do not delay in sending your completed application forms. You must apply for the CPP disability benefit in writing. The date your application is received affects the date your benefit begins.

If you are aged 60 to 64

If you are aged 60 to 64 and you think you might qualify for a CPP disability benefit, you may also want to apply for a CPP retirement pension. While you cannot receive both at the same time, you may qualify to begin receiving a retirement pension while you wait for your CPP disability benefit application to be assessed, which usually takes longer.

If you are already receiving a CPP retirement pension when your application for a disability benefit is approved, we will switch your retirement pension to a disability benefit if:

  • you are still under the age of 65
  • you were deemed to be disabled, as defined by the CPP legislation, before the effective date of your retirement
  • you have been receiving your CPP retirement pension for less than 15 months at the time you applied for your disability benefit
  • you meet the minimum contributory requirements.

Note: Paying back your retirement pension

If your disability benefit is approved, you must pay back the retirement pension payments you received. Normally, we recover the retirement pension payments from your first disability payment.

What if I die before my application is received?

If you sign your application for a disability benefit before you die, your application will be considered.

Your estate and survivors may be eligible to receive CPP benefits after your death.

How do I apply?

You must apply in writing. Print out the main application form (ISP 1151), the consent forms, and any other necessary forms from the application kit for CPP disability benefits, and mail them to us.

Before applying, consider the following:

  • To help you complete your application, read the General Information and Guide, which is part of the application kit. This guide includes steps for completing your application, changes that may affect your benefits, a mailing checklist, and other useful information about disability benefits.
  • If you are a parent or guardian, you could request the child-rearing provision (form is in the application kit) and the children's benefit (a section of the main application form).
  • If you are unable to fill out the forms, a family member or a friend can help you. Make sure that you sign where necessary.

Note: Keeping records and the collection and use of your personal information

Make sure you keep photocopies of everything you submit. If you talk to someone from Service Canada, write down the name of the person and the date and time of your conversation. Keep all the information in one place.

Service Canada takes the collection and use of personal information seriously. Read through the Collection and Use of Your Personal Information for more information on how it is used and where it is stored.

Will my doctor charge me for completing the medical report that is part of my application?

We will pay your physician up to a certain amount for completing your medical report. Your physician is responsible for sending us invoices for payment. Should your physician charge more than our set amount, you are responsible for covering any extra costs above the amount we pay.

See the amounts that Service Canada will reimburse your physician.

How much can I get?

For 2013, the average monthly CPP disability benefit is $841.95 and the maximum monthly amount is $1,212.90. You will receive the basic monthly amount fixed for all recipients ($453.52), plus an amount based on how much you contributed to the CPP during your entire working career.

If you are receiving a CPP disability benefit, your dependent children may also be eligible for a children's benefit. In 2013, the flat monthly rate your child can receive is $228.66.

Read more about the CPP benefits amounts.

Note: Contact your province

The CPP disability benefit is not designed to pay for such things as medications and devices. Contact your province if you need financial assistance.

What if I have a terminal illness?

If you have a terminal illness, your disability application will be reviewed within 48 hours after it has been received. Your application will be given priority so that benefit payments can start as soon as possible if approved.

Learn more about Canada Pension Plan benefits after a death.

What if I am receiving a disability income from another source?

If you are receiving disability income from other sources, such as a private insurer or a provincial social assistance program, you may still be eligible to receive the CPP disability benefit. However, these other sources may adjust their payments if you are approved for a CPP disability benefit.

Contact your insurance company or social assistance program for details relating to your particular case.

I submitted my application. Now what?

It takes approximately four months for a decision to be made from the date we receive your application and all the necessary documents. See how disability benefit applications are assessed.

A member of our staff will call you to explain how your application will be processed, the type of information we need from you, and answer any questions you may have.

As we process your application, a member of our staff will call you. Our medical adjudicators may also ask for additional information or ask you to see another doctor who will evaluate your medical condition. When seeking more information, we have very little control over how quickly we receive it.

If more than four months have passed and you have not heard from us and would like to know the status of your application, contact us.

What happens when my application is approved?

Find out what you need to know while receiving a disability benefit.

What if I disagree with a decision?

You may request a reconsideration of any decision that affects your eligibility or the amount of your Canada Pension Plan disability benefit.