Additional information on the proposed Canada Disability Benefit Act Regulations

The purpose of this page is to provide information and answers to some commonly asked questions about the proposed Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) Regulations. This page also includes detailed scenarios that illustrate how the CDB would be calculated for recipients under the proposed regulations.

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Eligibility

What are the proposed eligibility criteria for the CDB

Answer: the proposed regulations say that to be eligible to receive the CDB you must meet the following conditions:

  1. age and residency:
    • be between the ages of 18 and 64, and
    • be a resident in Canada for the purposes of the Income Tax Act
  2. status in Canada (one of the following):
    • a Canadian citizen
    • a permanent resident
    • a protected person
    • a temporary resident who has lived in Canada for the previous 18 months, or
    • an individual who is registered or entitled to be registered under the Indian Act
  3. tax-related requirements
    • have a valid Disability Tax Credit certificate, and
    • have filed an income tax and benefit return with the Canada Revenue Agency for the previous tax year (for example, a return for the 2024 tax year for benefit months in the July 2025 to June 2026 payment period)

How old would you have to be to receive the CDB

Answer: the purpose of the CDB is to support the financial security of working age persons with disabilities. As stated in the proposed regulations, working age is defined as being between the ages of 18 to 64.

Individuals who are 18 years old can start receiving the CDB the month following their 18th birthday.

The proposed regulations state that if you are younger than 18 years and six months at the end of a tax year, you would be exempt from the requirement to file a tax and benefit return for the previous year in order to be eligible for the CDB. However, you would be required to file a return in subsequent years in order to maintain your eligibility.

When calculating the CDB amount, the income for the previous tax year if you are younger than 18 years and 6 months would be considered to be $0. Once you obtain the age of 18 years and six months, you would need to file a tax and benefit return in order to be eligible for the CDB.

If you are turning 65, you would be eligible to receive the CDB for the month in which you turn 65 years of age.

What happens if I do not apply for the CDB right away

Answer: the proposed regulations say that you would be able to get up to 24 months of retroactive payments when you apply (Please note that there is not yet an application process or form to apply for the CDB. These will be made available once the regulations are finalized).

Retroactive payments would be payments for past months where you were eligible but had not yet applied for the CDB. There would be no payments of the CDB for months prior to July 2025.

For example, if you became eligible for the benefit in July 2025 but only applied in July 2027, under the proposed regulations you could receive retroactive payments for up to 24 months from July 2025 to July 2027, providing that you were eligible during that time.

How is the government helping people obtain Disability Tax Credit Certificates

Answer: the Government is aware that it can be challenging for persons with disabilities to find out about and access programs and services. Budget 2024 provided an investment of $22.4 million over five years starting in 2025 and 2026, and $3.8 million per year ongoing, for community-based navigation services to improve awareness and take-up of federal, provincial, and territorial programs available to working-age Canadians with disabilities. Budget 2024 provided funding of $243 million over 6 years, beginning in 2024 and 2025, and $41 million per year ongoing, to cover the fees charged by medical practitioners to complete the medical forms required to support a Disability Tax Credit application. More details will be announced as they become available.

It is important to note that in addition to medical doctors, other medical practitioners, such as nurse practitioners and occupational therapists, can complete the application for the Disability Tax Credit.

Amount of benefit

Will I be better off financially if I work while receiving the CDB

Answer: the CDB is designed to ensure that it pays for individuals to work. Depending on your situation, under the proposed regulations, you would be able to earn at least $10,000 a year from employment, self-employment or a business without any effect on your CDB entitlement. Some CDB recipients and/or their spouses/partners would be able to make as much as $46,500 through work while still getting the maximum CDB.

If your working income is too high to qualify for the full CDB, your CDB would be reduced by 20 cents for every additional dollar that you make.

Please consult scenarios 1 to 5 below for examples of how income would be considered for the Benefit.

If I'm eligible for the CDB, would I be penalized for being married

Answer: income-tested benefits, such as the Guaranteed Income Supplement, Canada Child Benefit, and provincial/territorial social assistance, almost always use family income to calculate the amount of support a person needs. Spouses and partners who live together can share expenses (such as shelter and food costs). The CDB is a poverty relief measure; this means focusing on individuals and families with lower incomes, rather than families with relatively high incomes.

However, the Government has heard clearly from the disability community that taking spousal/partner income into account when calculating benefits can leave persons with disabilities in a vulnerable position and interfere with their individual autonomy.

The Government is proposing to balance these two considerations by allowing couples to keep more of their income before their CDB begins to be reduced:

  • if you are a CDB recipient whose spouse/partner doesn't qualify for the Benefit, you would not completely exhaust your entitlement to CDB until your combined income reaches $58,500
  • if you and your spouse/partner are both CDB recipients who live together, you would not exhaust your benefits until your combined income reaches $70,500

Please consult scenarios 4 & 5 below for examples of how couples' income would be considered for the Benefit.

Why are the benefit amounts for those who are working similar to those who are not working

Answer: the Government is committed to delivering the CDB as a supplement to existing benefits. The benefit design includes exemptions and thresholds to allow the largest possible number of people on provincial/territorial disability assistance to receive the full value of the CDB. In addition, the benefit reduction rate is designed to phase out relatively slowly as income rises. This means that the higher your income, the lower the value of your CDB entitlement will be in general. There will also be an earnings exemption, to ensure that individuals will be better off financially when working.

Payment of benefits

When can I expect to see the money in my bank account

Answer: budget 2024 announced that the government would begin providing CDB payments to eligible Canadians starting in July 2025, following successful completion of the regulatory process and consultations with persons with disabilities.

The proposed regulations say that the CDB would be payable to a person starting the month after the month in which their application is approved (i.e., if someone's application is approved in August 2025, the first CDB payment would be made in September 2025).

Incapacity

What if someone is unable to handle their own personal affairs

Answer: under the proposed regulations, a representative could act on behalf of someone who cannot handle their own personal affairs. A representative is a legal representative such as a guardian or trustee. The proposed regulations say that a representative of a person who is incapable of managing their own affairs could:

  • complete the CDB application
  • receive the CDB for the beneficiary
  • request that a decision be reconsidered, and
  • appeal a decision

If a beneficiary who is unable to manage their own affairs does not have a legal representative, the CDB could be paid to someone else to be managed on behalf of the beneficiary.

Reconsideration of decisions and appeals

What if I disagree with the decision made on my CDB application

Answer: the proposed regulations say that if you disagree with a decision about your eligibility for the CDB or the amount of your Benefit, you could ask for the decision to be reconsidered.

In general, you would have 180 days from the day you find out about the decision to ask for a reconsideration. In some situations, you could get more time to ask for a reconsideration.

The proposed regulations say that if you disagree with a reconsideration decision, you would be able to appeal the decision to the Social Security Tribunal (SST). If part of the appeal has to do with income (for example, a dispute about how much money you earned), the Social Security Tribunal would refer that part to the Tax Court of Canada. A person who filed an appeal would not need to contact the Tax Court themselves; they would apply to the SST and the SST would refer the issue to the Court.

There is no fee to file at the SST, and interpretation services at hearings are provided at no cost. However, if you wish to have professional representation, you would need to cover that expense yourself. Additional costs may arise, such as photocopying documents and mailing them to the SST or traveling to in-person hearings. However, the process offers flexible options, such as teleconferences, to help mitigate these costs.

Debts and overpayments

What happens if I receive more money from the CDB than I am eligible for

Answer: like with other benefits, the CDB is only intended for those who are eligible. The proposed regulations say that the government could recover overpayments of the CDB. An overpayment is when you receive more from the CDB than you are eligible for. Recovering overpayments is a standard part of the administration of any benefit program.

The Government recognizes that overpayments can cause significant financial strain on vulnerable individuals. There are flexibilities in place to minimize the burden of returning overpayments. A debt owed by you could be recoverable in one single payment or, if the department agrees, in instalments in any amount that does not cause undue hardship to you.

No interest would be payable on any amount owing resulting from an erroneous payment or overpayment unless the payment was made because of a violation (e.g., where a person knowingly made false or misleading representations in relation to an application).

Engagement

What are the expected timelines for the engagement and CDB regulatory development processes

Answer: the Canada Disability Benefit Act requires that regulations be made no later than June 2025. The Government wants to roll out the Benefit as quickly as possible without sacrificing the quality of consultations or the Benefit itself.

With the pre-publishing of the draft regulations in Part I of the Canada Gazette on June 29, individual Canadians and organizations can review and provide comments on the draft regulations. The comment period for the Canada Disability Benefit Regulations will be approximately 86 days (starting on June 29, 2024, and ending on September 23, 2024). This is longer than a typical regulatory consultation period, in order to ensure that all interested parties have an opportunity to comment. Once the comment period closes, the Government will analyze the comments received and revise the regulations as appropriate in response to the feedback.

How can I access the draft CDB regulations and submit my feedback

Answer: the proposed CDB regulations and the Regulatory Impact Analysis Statement are published in Part I of the Canada Gazette. You can submit your feedback on the proposed regulations using the Canada Gazette commenting system.

While you are encouraged to provide feedback on the proposed regulations using their online commenting feature on the Canada Gazette website, if you are encountering barriers, you can also provide comments in the following ways:

  • by email: edsc.pcph-cdb.esdc@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
  • by video: use the email above to send us a link to a recorded video of your comments
  • by mail:
  • Canada Gazette, Part I, Canada Disability Benefit Regulations c/o Office for Disability Issues, Employment and Social Development Canada, 105 rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, 1st floor Gatineau, QC J8X 4H7

Please note that if you submit your feedback on the proposed regulations using any of the alternative ways listed above, you will be contacted to acknowledge a Privacy Notification Statement before your feedback can be entered into the Canada Gazette commenting system. If you submit your feedback using the Canada Gazette commenting system, you will be able to acknowledge the Privacy Notification Statement on the website directly without any additional steps required.

The Government will analyze the comments received and revise the regulations as needed. Then the final regulations will be published in Part II of the Canada Gazette.

Are the draft CDB regulations available in alternate formats

Answer: you may contact Employment and Social Development using any of the methods listed below to request a copy of the proposed CDB regulations and the Regulatory Analysis Impact Statement in a Word document or in alternate formats:

  • by email: edsc.pcph-cdb.esdc@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca
  • by video: use the email above to send Employment and Social Development a link to a recorded video of your comments
  • by mail:
  • Canada Gazette, Part I, Canada Disability Benefit Regulations c/o Office for Disability Issues, Employment and Social Development Canada, 105 rue de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, 1st floor Gatineau, QC J8X 4H7

Scenarios

The following scenarios provide information on how the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB) will be calculated for recipients under the proposed regulations. If you were eligible for the CDB, you could receive up to a maximum of $2,400 a year.

Your CDB amount would be based on your income as follows:

How much income are you and/or your spouse/partner making from employment (as an employee or in self-employment)? If you have working income, you'll be able to earn up to a certain amount without any reduction in your CDB.

The proposed Working Income Exemptions are:

  • $10,000 if you are single: you can make up to $10,000 per year in employment income without any reduction in your CDB
  • $14,000 if you are in a couple: you can make up to $14,000 per year in employment income without any reduction in your CDB

What is your income after subtracting the working income exemption (up to $10,000 or $14,000)? If your income is below a certain amount (or threshold) you will receive the maximum CDB amount of $2,400 per year.

The proposed income thresholds are:

  • $23,000 if you are single: you can have up to $23,000 income per year without any reduction in your Benefit
  • $32,500, if you are in a couple: you can have up to $32,500 in combined income per year without any reduction in your Benefit

If your income is above the income threshold, your Benefit amount will be reduced by the following proposed reduction rates:

  • 20% if you are single: your Benefit will be reduced by 20 cents for each dollar your income over $23,000
  • 20% if you are in a couple (only you are eligible for CDB): your Benefit will be reduced by 20 cents for each dollar your combined income is over $32,500
  • 10% if you are in a couple (both are eligible for CDB): each of your Benefits will be reduced by 10 cents for each dollar your combined income is over $32,500

Below are some examples that show how different situations result in different Benefit amounts.

Scenario 1

Alina is 25 years old, single, and lives with her parents. She meets the eligibility criteria for the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB). Her only income is $10,000 a year in provincial social assistance. While she lives with her parents, only Alina's income is considered when calculating the CDB.

  • Because Alina's income is below the income threshold for a single person of $23,000, she receives the full CDB: $2,400 a year
  • $10,000 is less than the $23,000 single income threshold, so Alina has no reduction in her Benefit. She receives $2,400 CDB per year (maximum)

Scenario 2

Nguyen lives alone and meets the eligibility criteria for the CDB. He works full-time and earns $35,000 a year. He does not receive disability-related income or income from any other source.

  • Because Nguyen has more than $10,000 in working income, he's able to use the full working income exemption of $10,000 for singles. $10,000 is subtracted from his earnings of $35,000, and only $25,000 of his income is taken into account when calculating the Benefit amount. This is called his non-exempt income
  • Nguyen's non-exempt income of $25,000 is $2,000 over the income threshold for a single person ($23,000). Because of this, the amount Nguyen receives is reduced by $400 a year ($2,000 x 20%)
  • So, Nguyen receives $2,000 a year or $167 a month

Scenario 3

Myriam lives alone and meets the eligibility criteria for the CDB. She receives $30,000 a year as income from a workers' compensation program. She also works, earning $5,000 a year. In total, Myriam's income is $35,000 a year.

  • Because Myriam has less than $10,000 in working income, all her earnings of $5,000 from work are exempt and are subtracted from her total income of $35,000
  • Looking at Myriam's income from workers' compensation, she's $7,000 over the single threshold of $23,000 for the CDB. Because of this, the amount Myriam receives is reduced by $1,400 a year ($7,000 x 20%)
  • So, she receives $1,000 a year, or $83 a month

Scenario 4

Sam and Rupinder live together with their young daughter. Sam is eligible for the CDB while Rupinder is not. Sam has a job paying $48,000 a year. Rupinder stays home with their daughter and receives $8,000 in Canada Child Benefits.

  • Because Sam has more than $14,000 in working income, he's able to use the full working-income exemption for couples (which is $14,000). So only $34,000 of his income is considered when determining the Benefit amount. ($48,000 - $14,000 = $34,000)
  • Note: it would make no difference if Rupinder was working rather than Sam, or if they were both working. The Working Income Exemption can be used even if the spouse/partner earning the income doesn't have a disability
  • Canada Child Benefits don't have to be declared on Rupinder's taxes, so they are not taken into account for the CDB
  • Sam's non-exempt income ($34,000) is $1,500 more than the couple income threshold ($32,500). Because of this, the amount Sam receives is reduced by $300 a year ($1,500 x 20%)
  • So, he receives $2,100 a year, or $175 a month

Scenario 5

Donna and Lucia are a common-law couple who both work. Each is eligible for the CDB. Lucia and Donna each earn $27,000 from a combination of work and self-employment, for a total family income of $54,000.

  • Donna and Lucia's working incomes are added together, and because their combined earnings are more than $14,000 in working income, they can use the full working income exemption of $14,000 for couples
  • The remainder of the couple's income ($54,000 - $14,000 = $40,000) is $7,500 over the couple income threshold of $32,500. Because of this, Donna and Lucia both have their Benefits reduced by $750 a year ($7,500 x 10%)
  • So, they each receive $1,650 a year, or $137.50 a month

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