According to recent surveys, about 1 out of every 5 Canadians is living with various chronic pain conditions, with the World Health Organization recently recognizing this invisible condition as a disease.
Chronic nerve pain, often called neuropathic pain, is a chronic shooting or burning pain usually caused by nerve damage or malfunctioning nervous system. More than 6 million Canadians, or 19% of the population, suffer from chronic nerve pain, mainly affecting the elderly.
Many conditions can cause chronic nerve pain, like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and general nerve damage. Chronic nerve pain can be as minor as occasional numbness in the limbs or as severe as complete debilitation due to not being able to walk or completely control their nervous system.
If your chronic nerve pain condition has become severe enough to the point where you can no longer work, there are fortunately programs in place like Canadian Pension Plan Benefit (CPP Disability). CPP Disability provides financial help to those suffering from these invisible, debilitating conditions who cannot retain employment due to their impairment.
We created this article to enlighten those with a chronic nerve condition on the assistance they can receive from CPP Disability. Throughout this article, we will cover:
- What chronic nerve pain is
- Is your chronic nerve pain condition is eligible for CPP Disability
- How to apply for CPP Disability for chronic pain
- What to do if your CPP Disability application get denied
In this article, we will try to help you understand the CPP Disability program from a chronic nerve pain point of view. However, if you would like to learn more about the CPP Disability program we suggest you read our comprehensive CPP Disability guide that breaks down each step of the process in-depth.
Please note that each individual is different, and chronic pain symptoms/conditions can manifest differently; therefore, please use this guide as a general, informative guide and always refer to your doctor or Service Canada for specific information.
What is Chronic Nerve Pain?
Chronic nerve pain or neuropathic pain has no apparent cause. Some of the common issues that lead to chronic nerve pain are alcoholism, thyroid problems, amputation, multiple myeloma, multiple sclerosis, spine surgery, and other conditions that can cause harm to nerves.
Throughout this article, we are going to be covering a few different chronic nerve pain conditions that can become severe enough to prevent one from retaining employment – those conditions being:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Nerve damage
Working while experiencing different forms of chronic pain can be debilitating, but if you’re able to “handle” the pain while working at your job, this article is NOT for you.
CPP Disability offers a “safety net” to disabled Canadians who can no longer work, so if your condition has worsened to the point where your doctor certifies that you can no longer work, you can then start the CPP disability application process.
What is CPP Disability
The CPP Disability program is an integral part of the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP). In a nutshell, the Canada Pension Plan is a retirement savings plan available to Canadians 65 or older who contributed to it throughout their working life.
However, if you are younger than 65 and are no longer able to work due to your physical or mental impairment, you can receive monthly CPP Disability payments until you reach 65 (when your regular CPP payments kick in).
There are three criteria that you must meet to be eligible for the CPP Disability, including:
- You must be between the ages of 18 and 65
- You must have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan in four of the last six years or three of the previous six years if you contributed to CPP for 25 years or more.
- You must show that your physical or mental disability is considered severe, prolonged and that you can not go back to the workforce ever again.
For your impairment to be considered severe, it must have enough of an effect on your ability to retain substantially gainful employment. For your impairment to be considered prolonged, it must be regarded as long, continued, or indefinite duration or is likely to result in death. We keep an updated list of disabilities to inform you about the types eligible for credit and help you apply.
If approved for the CPP Disability, you can receive:
- A. A one-time retroactive payment – covering the time frame since you had to stop working (up to 18 months)
- B. A monthly payment – a set amount decided according to your past contributions to be paid to you until you reach 65 when the regular pension plan kicks in.
Also, if you qualify for CPP Disability, you are eligible for a flat-rate monthly benefit for any children you have under the age of 18 or up to the age of 25 if they are attending school full-time.
To learn more about CPP Disability, read our comprehensive CPP Disability guide that walks you through everything you need to know before applying.
Does Chronic Nerve Pain Qualify You for CPP Disability?
While having chronic nerve pain alone does not qualify you for CPP Disability, if the pain is considered severe or prolonged and it prevents you from going back to the workforce, you may be eligible.
The following section will break down different conditions that cause chronic nerve pain, if those conditions are considered a disability, and how to get approved for CPP Disability for those conditions.
Conditions Associated with Chronic Nerve Pain and How Are they Debilitating
While many conditions could lead to chronic nerve pain, we will only cover conditions that could become debilitating enough to prevent you from working and seek out government help with things like CPP Disability.
Canada has one of the highest sclerosis rates, with one in every 450 Canadians suffering from the condition.
Multiple sclerosis affects both the spinal cord and brain and causes the immune system to attack the myelin that covers nerve fibres. Once nerve fibres are affected, communication between the brain and body is not as effective, eventually leading to permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves.
Getting diagnosed with MS is very difficult because no two people suffering from MS will experience the same symptoms. Also, no specific test exists to diagnose MS – a diagnosis only occurs after doctors have eliminated all other possible conditions.
How is Multiple Sclerosis Debilitating
MS can cause numerous symptoms impaired speech, blurred vision, dizziness, cognitive impairment and more. In severe cases, it can even cause paralysis.
In severe cases, multiple sclerosis makes walking and performing daily tasks difficult and can even become so intense that walking, in general, is not possible. Because of the symptoms, working while living with severe MS can be impossible in almost all fields, as most jobs require physical activity or mental concentration.
If you or a loved one is suffering from MS and you can no longer work, you may be found eligible to receive the CPP Disability.
The nervous system is responsible for many of the body’s functions, from controlling muscles, regulating breathing, and much more.
Nerve damage is caused by an injury or condition that affects nerve fibres, resulting in chronic nerve pain. Nerve damage can also prevent pain caused by an injury from being recognizable, leading to further damage to the body.
There are many different forms of nerve damage, but most can be broken down into one of the following:
- Neurapraxia caused by a stunned or bruised nerve from a blow or stretch.
- Axonotmesis is the stretching of the electrical cable element of the nerves without causing harm.
- Neurotmesis is the most common and is the separation of the nerve ends.
How is Nerve Damage Debilitating
While nerve damage can be minimal, it can make more physical labour challenging to perform and, in extreme cases, make performing many daily activities incredibly difficult or impossible.
While initial symptoms can be a little as numbness and pain in hands or feet, weak muscles, and can escalate to intense headaches and loss of balance. With more severe symptoms, things like retaining employment and performing day-to-day tasks become exceedingly difficult.
If you are suffering from severe nerve damage and your medical practitioner has declared you unfit to remain in the workforce, you may be eligible for CPP Disability.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when cells that produce in the brain dopamine die. Dopamine is a chemical that facilitates communication between brain cells which can result in tremors, rigidity, impaired balance, slowed movements and even death.
How is Parkinson’s Debilitating
Because Parkinson’s affects the communication between brain cells, it can lead to many symptoms that would make working with the condition difficult. Some of the symptoms include:
- Soft speech
- Trouble with handwriting
- Stooped posture
- Problems with sleeping
- Constipation and urinary problems
- Numbness, pain, or a burning sensation)
- Depression and anxiety
Please note, Parkinson’s is not a death sentence, and it can be “managed” with medications, exercise, a healthy diet etc. In some cases, many years pass by before severe, debilitating conditions take effect and only then can you be found eligible for the CPP Disability program.
How Do I Apply for the CPP Disability for Chronic Nerve Pain?
If you are under 65, have paid a significant amount into the Canada Pension Plan, and your chronic nerve pain is severe or prolonged enough so you can no longer go back to work, you are probably wondering how to apply.
This section will briefly go over the application process; however, if you want to learn more and better understand the CPP Disability program, we recommend checking out our comprehensive Canadian Pension Plan Disability guide.
In more recent years, applying for the CPP Disability Benefit has been streamlined by Service Canada, requiring only two forms to be filled to begin your application, which are:
ISP1151 – CPP Disability Form: This form contains basic info about yourself and all of the information regarding your CPP contributions, disability, medical practitioner, work history, and more, which you then must sign.
ISP2519 – Medical Reporting Form: You must sign this form to consent to providing your personal medical information to Service Canada. Your medical practitioner must then sign it and give a detailed report of your medical history with them.
Along with the two forms, you must also include as much information as possible about your chronic nerve pain condition, from diagnosis, treatments and medications used to treat it, your attempt to continue working, and more.
We have also written a step-by-step guide for the CPP Disability Application process that you can use for reference.
How to Get Approved for CPP Disability for Chronic Nerve Pain
While we have already discussed the eligibility criteria of being between the ages of 18-65, contributing a significant amount to CPP, and showing the severity or prolonged nature of your condition, this section will show how to get approved for a chronic nerve pain condition.
Showing proof that your chronic nerve pain is severe enough to be considered a disability can be very difficult as chronic nerve pain conditions are mostly invisible. However, with enough evidence from doctors’ reports and comprehensive claims covering your debilitating symptoms, you should find it much easier to be approved for CPP Disability.
The most crucial part of any CPP Disability claim is proving that your condition is severe or prolonged enough to prevent you from working. To begin building your case, you will need an official diagnosis from a doctor stating that your chronic nerve pain condition is severe enough to be considered a disability.
When looking at your claim, adjudicators will examine any tests you have undergone regarding your chronic nerve pain condition to ensure you have received every necessary test to obtain an accurate diagnosis. Thus, you must take all tests and any potential treatments as you may not be eligible for CPP Disability if you do not.
The following section will cover what you must-do if you are denied CPP Disability for their chronic nerve pain condition.
What to Do if You Are Denied for CPP Disability for Chronic Nerve Pain?
This section will briefly go over the denial and appeal process of CPP Disability, we have an in-depth CPP Disability Denial and Appeal Overview article that covers each step of the process.
While the denial rate for CPP Disability sits around 60% of all applications, there is still a chance for approval; you just have to be sure to restructure your application and keep your head up.
If denied, you must assess your claim and determine where you went wrong. Denial is often due to a lack of information or proof lending credibility to your request. Rebuild your claim, covering any potential holes it may have had and appeal the decision.
If your application is denied, you can appeal the decision up to three times, which goes through the three following stages:
- Reconsideration of your case
- Social Security Tribunal (SST) at the General Level
- SST at the Appeals Level
As you go through each stage of the CPP Disability appeal process, you will need to provide new information while reframing what you already presented regarding your case and condition to increase your chances of approval.
Proving your chronic nerve pain condition and focusing on credibility boosters will help increase your chances of approval, so we will provide in-depth information on making your claim more credible.
If you have been denied and would like some assistance through the denial process, contact Disability Credit Canada today, and we will help you through the denial process with our extensive knowledge and experience.
Credibility Boosters/Killers for CPP Disability Chronic Nerve Pain Applications
Providing as much evidence from medical and employment documents is one of the best ways to support your claim; however, you and your claim must also seem credible when presenting this evidence.
Credibility provides an additional edge while making your claim, as the more credible you are, the more likely your application will be approved, even if you have less substantial evidence. The opposite is also true – if you have significant evidence, but you’re seen as not credible, you will more likely be denied.
We have listed some credibility boosters and credibility killers to help improve your application’s and claim’s credibility.
Some ways to hurt your credibility are:
- Not providing information on time
- Inconsistent medical records and statements
- Criticizing others in your claim
- Arguing with doctors over your diagnosis
- Filing biased, negative, or unprofessional complaints
- Being aggressive, sarcastic or confrontational
- Attempting to appear like an expert
- Excuses or problem blaming
Some ways to help your credibility are:
- Making an apparent attempt to keep working
- Having your statements match your medical records
- Being responsible for your claim
- Having a cooperative and respectful claim
- Encouraging and following advice from experts
Chronic nerve pain can take many forms and is linked to many different conditions. Whether it is multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or nerve damage, chronic nerve pain can take a toll on your life and cost a significant amount to treat.
Luckily, CPP Disability provides eligible Canadians monthly benefits to supplement their income so they can leave the workforce and prevent further aggravation of their impairment.
At Disability Credit Canada, we have helped countless Canadians with their Canadian Pension Plan Disability Benefits application. Our extensive knowledge assures you will have no trouble with the application process. We will help you collect information and contact the proper medical practitioners to ensure you have the best chance for approval.
We offer free assessments and work on a NO WIN – NO FEE basis, meaning we only get paid if you do and are incentivized to bring you the most out of your refund!