Part 1: The Application Process- CPP Disability Pension

June 6, 2017 by dccinc


In this three-part series, the focus is on the CPP Disability Pension application process. This is something Disability Credit Canada knows a great deal about, and their expertise has been valuable to many Canadians.
As millions of Canadians cope with a disability, some are able to continue working and earn a full salary, while others are not so fortunate. For them, the CPP Disability program is the next step in securing some form of regular income. The pension is not a perfect cure by any means, as the amount of funds is extremely limited. Depending on whether you live in Canada, the funds might not last very long at all. For example, it is far more expensive to live in Toronto, ON., than in Regina, SASK.pension tax credits


Many do not understand the process, and for this reason, a high percentage of applicants find they are turned down with their original application. Here is the basic requirement for eligibility:

“[…]/to be eligible for CPP disability payments, you must be between the ages of 18-64, not already receiving CPP retirement payments, made recent contributions at the time you stopped work, and have a disability that is “severe and prolonged” as defined by the CPP legislation.”

Although the above definition serves as a basic understanding of the eligibility issues, it is certainly not all-inclusive. There are additional concerns such as if a person worked in another country, how much a person contributed, and when. These questions need to be answered by a qualified professional who has an extensive background in CPP applications.
One of the primary issues of eligibility is whether or not a person is actually “disabled enough” for the pension. This is, in some ways, an arbitrary process. For example, for many years people with mental health issues were less likely to be considered than they are in the present. There are also new conditions arising all the time. A good example would be fibromyalgia, which for many years was considered to be a questionable diagnosis. But, today, fibromyalgia is becoming better understood by doctors as a result of extensive research. However, even if someone has the onset of a condition, it doesn’t necessarily translate into being approved for a pension. The CPP conditions state that the disability must be both “severe” and “prolonged”. But, what does the term severe mean? Does the person have to be in severe pain all the time, or severely limited? Sometimes these criteria are not always completely clear.
The fact is, many people qualify for government programs by reason of disability, but that doesn’t mean they will be approved for the pension.

“The law defines a severe disability as one which prevents you from doing your former job, or any other job, on a regular basis. A disability is prolonged, when it is likely to be long term, of indefinite duration, or is likely to result in death.”

Common Application Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make in the application process is the failure to provide a sufficient amount of information. It is extremely important to be thorough and tell them everything. All applicants need to meet with their G.P. to discuss the application and coordinate their efforts. The application should also know exactly what the doctor plans to say in their portion of the application. In addition, the doctor should be advised that rather than simply signing the form and sending it off, they should attach all relevant information such as test results, physiotherapy reports, discussions with the applicant, and all consultations with specialists. As well, if the applicant has been treated by a specialist, those reports should be attached. In other words, CPP must receive a complete and clear picture of how the applicant’s life is being affected. Also – the doctor should never suggest that the applicant could work in a different job because that’s going to be an automatic refusal.

Disability Credit Canada

Disability Credit Canada can help applicants through the murky waters of the CPP application process. This is important because with expert advice a person has a much greater chance at being approved. The staff can sit down with you and guide you through the process. In this way, you will understand your chances of being successful rather than doing it on your own.


The primary issue in the decision to apply for CPP disability is whether or not an individual can function at any job on a regular basis. This would include the factor of being accommodated for one’s disability. However, even if one is denied the pension, then there is a process of review. A person must apply for reconsideration which is basically a new review of your application.

The best way to engage in the application process is to sit down with the application and read it through. Make sure you know everything that is required. Get all your documents together. Have photocopies of everything in case something should get lost.

Once all the documents are compiled, it might help to write a first draft. Say all the things you feel are pertinent to your situation, and then edit out anything that sounds repetitive. The fact is the statements need to be clear and concise. Remember, these people have never met you, and don’t know anything about you. So, if you leave crucial information out, then that could be the difference between acceptance and rejection.

Once you’ve created the draft, have it read by an objective reader. In this way, you’ll know if the statements you’ve written make sense. Then, take the draft and edit it down to the key facts and that should be your statement.

Read more about:

CPP Disability Benefits Frequently Asked Questions

Long-Term Disability Coverage through the Canada Pension Plan

Use Our Simple Calculator to Estimate Your Disability Tax Credits & Benefits

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