Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

March 03, 2008 18:43 ET

Government of Canada Improves Canada Pension Plan Disability Eligibility

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 3, 2008) - The Honourable Monte Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, today announced the coming into force of an amendment to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability legislation that will help thousands of Canadians qualify for disability benefits.

"With this change, the Government of Canada is helping Canadians who have made a significant contribution to the labour force in their lifetime to get the benefits they need," said Minister Solberg. "By 2010, we estimate that an additional 3,700 individuals and 1,000 of their children will receive CPP Disability benefits."

CPP Disability benefits provide a monthly taxable benefit to contributors who are disabled and to their dependent children. With this change, CPP Disability applicants with 25 years or more of CPP contributions will require valid contributions in three of the last six years, instead of the current requirement of four of the last six years. Medical eligibility requirements for CPP disability benefits will remain the same.

Federal and provincial ministers of finance agreed to this amendment at the conclusion of the CPP Triennial Review in 2006. Following Royal Assent to Bill C-36 in May 2007, the provinces, as joint stewards of the Canada Pension Plan, subsequently provided their formal consent to bring this provision into effect.

The CPP Disability program is Canada's largest long-term disability insurance program. Its primary role is to replace a portion of earnings for CPP contributors who cannot work because of a severe and prolonged disability. A second objective is to assist CPP Disability recipients who may be able to return to the work force.

The Government also introduced initiatives in Budget 2008 that will provide further support to Canadians faced with difficult and unique challenges by:

- expanding the list of eligible expenses under the Medical Expense Tax Credit, and exempting training to help individuals cope with disabilities or disorders from the Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST);

- expanding the list of GST/HST-free medical and assistive devices to include service dogs, for instance;

- providing $110 million to the Mental Health Commission of Canada to support innovative demonstration projects to develop best practices to help Canadians facing mental health and homelessness challenges.

Since 2006, the Government of Canada has announced a number of important initiatives that provide better assistance and support to people with disabilities, including:

- creating the Enabling Accessibility Fund with an investment of $45 million over three years, to fund community-based projects across Canada that will improve accessibility for people with disabilities;

- establishing the Registered Disability Savings Plan, which will help parents and others to save for the long-term financial security of a child with a disability;

- providing $30 million to the Rick Hansen Man in Motion Foundation, for research into practical benefits for Canadians living with spinal cord injuries;

- establishing the Working Income Tax Benefit, which provides up to $500 for individuals and up to $1,000 for families, and will include an additional supplement for low-income working Canadians with disabilities; and

- providing $223 million to help Canadians with disabilities develop skills and secure meaningful, long-term employment through Labour Market Agreements with provinces for Persons with Disabilities.

Backgrounder

Canada Pension Plan Disability program - Change to contributory eligibility

On March 3, 2008, an amendment to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) legislation came into force that helps long-term contributors qualify for disability benefits.

What has changed?

This amendment allows CPP Disability applicants with 25 or more years of contributions to meet the contributory requirement of the CPP Disability program with valid contributions in three of the last six years instead of four of the last six years. Applicants are required to meet the program's medical criteria to qualify for benefits.

This change applies to applications received on or after March 3, 2008.

Overview of CPP Disability program

The CPP Disability program is the largest long-term disability insurance program in Canada. Its primary role is to replace a portion of the earned income of CPP contributors who cannot work because of a severe and prolonged disability. A children's benefit is also available.

To qualify, applicants must be under the age of 65, have made the required contributions to the CPP, and have a severe and prolonged physical or mental disability that regularly prevents them from working at any job.

If an individual has been covered under a pension scheme of a country that has a social security agreement with Canada, the period of time that the individual contributed to that country's pension plan may be used to help meet the CPP Disability program's contributory requirement.

The federal and provincial governments are joint stewards of the Canada Pension Plan. Formal provincial consent from two thirds of the provinces with two thirds of the Canadian population was needed and obtained to bring this provision into effect.

The Province of Quebec administers its own plan, the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). The CPP and QPP have similar benefits and their operation is coordinated through agreements between the two plans.

For details on this contributory change or for general inquiries regarding Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits, please call 1-800-277-9914 or visit servicecanada.gc.ca.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request. Visit the new Human Resources and Social Development Canada Web site at www.hrsdc.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    819-994-5559