You may be eligible to get disability benefits from different sources. These benefits may help you with the cost of caring for yourself when living with a disability.
Apply for benefits as soon as possible. The application process for benefits can take time. It may take up to several months before you get any benefits.
Disability benefits from the Government of Canada
There are many programs to help you supplement your other sources of income if you're living with a disability.
Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
Employment Insurance (EI) provides payments to people who lose their jobs or are unable to work through no fault of their own.
You may be eligible to get up to 15 weeks of EI sickness benefits if you're unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine.
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Benefits
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides monthly payments to people who contribute to the plan during their working years.
You may be eligible for CPP disability benefits if:
- you contributed to the CPP for a certain number of years
- you're under 65 years old
- you have a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability
- your disability prevents you from working on a regular basis
The benefits include payments to children of a person with a disability.
Apply as early as possible if you think you're eligible for CPP disability benefits. Quebec residents may be eligible for a similar program called the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP). It may take several months to process your application.
If you applied for CPP or QPP disability benefits and were told that you're not eligible, you can ask to have your application reviewed or considered again.
Once you reach age 65, your CPP disability benefit will automatically change to regular CPP payments. Your regular CPP payments may be less than the CPP disability payments you got before.
If so, consider:
- applying for the Old Age Security pension
- find out if you qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement
CPP children’s benefits for dependents under 25
The CPP children’s benefit is a monthly payment that is available for the dependent children of a CPP disability recipient or deceased CPP contributor.
Disability benefits for veterans
You may be eligible for disability benefits if you're on disability from your service in the Canadian Armed Forces or Merchant Navy.
In some cases, you may get a lump-sum payment. Consider talking to a financial advisor to help you decide how to manage the money. You may be eligible for money to cover the cost of the financial advisor’s fees.
Provincial and territorial disability benefits
Your province or territory may have benefits and programs to help you if you're living with a disability.
You may get social assistance payments from:
- your province or territory
- your municipal government
- your First Nation
These payments will depend on your household income, savings and investments.
You may also be eligible for health-related benefits from your province or territory. These benefits may include benefits that help cover the cost of:
- dental services
- medical aids or devices
You may be able to get compensation from the Workers’ Compensation Board if you're a victim of a work accident or have a work-related illness.
Note that Workers’ Compensation Board payments may affect your Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits.
Find out what financial help is available from your province or territory for people living with a disability.
Newfoundland and Labrador
- Office of Employment Equity for Persons with Disabilities
- Department of Health and Community Services: For persons with disabilities
Prince Edward Island
- Office des personnes handicapées (available in French only)
Benefits from your employer
Employer-sponsored health care benefits
Your employer may have health care plans that help cover some of your medical costs, including prescription drugs or physiotherapy.
Employer-sponsored disability benefits
Your employer may pay for disability insurance. Disability insurance benefits may cover some of your salary if you can’t work because of sickness or injury.
Contact your employer to find out what disability insurance benefits are available to you and how to apply.
If you pay into an employer-sponsored pension, plan you may be eligible for disability benefits through the pension.
You may be able to retire early if you're unable to continue working because of illness or disability. Retiring early will usually reduce the amount of your pension.
You may want to get advice from a financial professional before you decide to retire early.
Disability insurance benefits
Disability insurance can help you with expenses if you have an unexpected illness or accident that leaves you unable to work and earn an income. Generally, disability insurance provides payments to replace part of your regular income if you:
- temporarily can’t work because of injury or illness
- are permanently disabled due to an injury or illness
You'll get the insurance benefits for a specified amount of time. You may get disability insurance from your employer or pay for an insurance policy yourself. If you bought your own disability insurance policy, make sure you understand your policy. Ask your insurance company how to make a claim.
Offsetting your benefits
Some insurance companies may reduce your disability insurance benefits if you get income from other benefits. This is called offsetting your benefits.
This means that even if you have more than one disability insurance policy, you'll usually still get the same total amount of money.
Check with your insurance plan administrator or insurance agent to find out how your plan offsets benefits.
Credit and loan insurance benefits
You may have credit and loan insurance. This type of insurance includes:
- credit card balance insurance
- mortgage payment protection insurance
- other insurance on a loan
This type of insurance may cover payments on your credit card, mortgage or other loan if you're unable to work because of illness or disability.
This type of insurance is also known as creditor insurance, credit card insurance or debt insurance.
If you have credit and loan insurance, contact your insurer to find out if you're eligible to make a claim.
There is usually a waiting period after you finish working before you can get benefits from credit and loan insurance.
You may need to have held the insurance policy for a certain period of time before you can submit a disability claim.
You need to make your minimum monthly payments on your credit card or loan until the insurer decides whether it will approve your claim.
Taxes and disability benefits
Some disability benefits are taxable income. This means that you could owe income tax when you file your next income tax return.
Make sure you save money to cover taxes you may owe at the end of the year.
Taxes and disability benefits from the Government of Canada
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit and Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are taxable income.
You may ask for your federal income tax to be deducted from your monthly EI or CPP disability payment.
Taxes and disability insurance benefits
If your employer pays for all or some of the premiums of your disability insurance policy, you have to pay income tax on any benefits you get.
If you pay the premiums on your disability insurance policy, then you don't have to pay income tax on any benefits you get.
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