BY FAZAAD BACCHUS
Every day as Canadians we go out to work, it’s our culture and it doesn’t matter if it’s rain, sun or snow. We do so because we have bills that must be paid among other things that we would like to have. In fact, our most valuable asset especially if we are young, is the ability to earn an income. All that we hope to achieve financially in this life is hinged upon that fact. The homes, cars, vacations and lifestyle choices are all based on the ability to earn an income.
God forbid if one of us should have a disability, we need to be aware of the benefit that Canada Pension Plan provides and determine whether we qualify for it. As soon as we suspect that we have a long term disability and will not be able to work at any job, we should apply. At this stage you should seek the help of a qualified person to walk you through the application process. Normally payments will begin after a qualifying four- month period. Even so, the payments or benefits can be made retroactive up to twelve- months.
For many Canadians already on disability payments it has proven to be their only source of income. For 2016 the maximum benefit payable for a disabled person is $1,290.81 and $237.69 for each dependent child. Dependent children are those under eighteen or if they are between eighteen and twenty-five they should be in school full time. These benefits are adjusted in January of each year and are adjusted according to the Consumer Price Index and are also taxable income. However, disability benefits are not automatic, to qualify for a CPP disability benefit, a person must: Have contributed to the CPP for at least four of the previous six calendar years. If the person has contributed to the CPP for twenty-five or more years, he/she must have made contributions in three of the last six years, at or above the minimum level of earnings. Be considered to be disabled under the CPP’s definition. Be under age sixty-five and make a written application for the disability benefit.
According to Canada Pension Plan Guidelines: “To qualify for a disability benefit under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a disability must be both severe and prolonged, and it must prevent you from being able to work at any job on a regular basis.
Severe means that you have a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing any type of substantially gainful work. Prolonged means that your disability is long-term and of indefinite duration or is likely to result in death.
Both the severe and prolonged criteria must be met simultaneously at the time of application. There is no common definition of “disability” in Canada. Even if you qualify for a disability benefit under other government programs or from private insurers, you may not necessarily qualify for a CPP disability benefit. Medical adjudicators will determine, based on your application and supporting documentation, whether your disability is both severe and prolonged. Ongoing medical reports, additional medical examinations and other information may be requested to provide periodic evidence of the continuing disability.”
To apply for your benefits, you would be required to make an application to Service Canada either online if you are eligible by using the MSCA login page or you can complete and mail the documents directly to them. You may also authorize someone to communicate with Service Canada on your behalf using the ISP1603CPP form.
Should a disability befall you it would be a difficult and needy period so I urge you to seek assistance from qualified professionals.