Benefits for children under 25

COVID-19

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, there are changes to this program.

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) children's benefits provide monthly payments to the dependent children of disabled or deceased CPP contributors.

There are 2 types of CPP children's benefits:

  • a disabled contributor's child's benefit – a monthly payment for a child of the person receiving a CPP disability benefit
  • a surviving child's benefit – a monthly payment for a child of the deceased contributor. For the benefit to be paid, the deceased contributor must have made sufficient contributions to the CPP

A maximum of 2 children’s benefits can be paid to a child.

Do you qualify

To be eligible, the child must be either:

  • under age 18, or
  • under age 25 and in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university

The child must also be:

  • the natural child of the contributor
  • a child adopted “legally" or "in fact" by the contributor while under the age of 21
  • a child "legally" or "in fact" in the custody and control of the contributor while under the age of 21

A child may be eligible if the parent or guardian:

  • is receiving a CPP disability benefit (either the disability benefit or the post-retirement disability benefit)
  • has died and met the CPP contributory requirements for a CPP death benefit

If the child is age 18 to 25, the child must be attending school full-time at a recognized educational institution in order to receive a children’s benefit.

Once a child turns 25, they are no longer eligible for these benefits.

How much could a child receive

The monthly children's benefit is a flat rate that is adjusted annually. In 2021, the rate is $257.58. Consult the table of current Canada Pension Plan (CPP) payment amounts.

When to apply

Dependent children, or their parent or guardian, should complete an application when any of the following happens:

  • a parent or guardian has applied for a disability benefit (you do not have to wait for the benefit to be approved before applying)
  • when a child comes into the custody and control of a parent or guardian who receives a disability benefit
  • a parent or guardian dies

You should apply as soon as possible. If you delay, you might lose benefits. The Canada Pension Plan can only make back payments for up to 12 months.

Who should complete the application

If you have custody and control of a dependent child of a disabled or deceased contributor and the child is under the age of 18, you should apply for the children's benefit on behalf of the child. However, children under age 18, who are living on their own and capable of managing their own affairs may complete their own application.

Apply for a child under age 18

Child of a disabled contributor:

Child of a deceased contributor:

Apply for a child aged 18 to 25 in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university

Students aged 18 to 25 who are applying for or renewing their children’s benefit are required to have the Declaration of Attendance at School or University signed by the registrar at the educational institution they are attending. If the student is no longer in school or not attending classes full time, they are required to notify us.

Declaration of attendance at school or university

You should have received a Declaration of Attendance at School or University. You are required to complete this document and provide proof of enrolment.

We will accept the following as proof of enrolment:

  • the completed Section C of the Declaration of Attendance at School or University signed by the school, or
  • an official proof of enrolment document from your on-line student account, or
  • an electronic attestation from a school official, such as an email, confirming that you are in full time attendance

The attestation must be a written statement or declaration that includes:

  • your name
  • your student ID
  • your program of study
  • information about your school (name and address)
  • start and end dates for the semester, term or school year, and
  • enrolment status for the semester, term or school year (full-time or part-time)

If you are applying for the first time, you must complete the paper forms:

If you are a dependent child aged 18 to 25, and in full-time attendance at a school or university, you should apply for the children's benefit yourself.

Renew benefits for a child aged 18 to 25 in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university

If you are a full-time student aged 18 to 25, and you are renewing your benefits, there are 2 ways to renew.

Renew your benefits online

Renew your benefits using a paper application

If you cannot renew your benefit online, you can always declare your attendance using the paper application:

School attendance for child aged 18 to 25

If you are age 18 to 25, you must be attending school full-time at a recognized educational institution in order to receive a children’s benefit.

Recognized school or university

We define recognized educational institutions as:

  • schools
  • colleges
  • universities
  • other educational institutions

That provide training or instruction of an:

  • educational
  • professional
  • vocational
  • technical nature

The institution must also be recognized by the province in which it is located.

Attending school outside Canada

The school must be recognized by the CPP, and you must continue to meet all eligibility requirements.

Attending school part-time or at multiple institutions

In certain situations, you may be eligible for a benefit when you attend school part-time. For example, if you are taking courses at more than one educational institution, the course hours may add up to full-time attendance. Each situation is considered. Contact Service Canada for details.

Taking evening classes

The amount and duration of classes determine full-time school attendance, not whether the classes are taken during the day or evening. Evening classes and daytime classes have the same value when determining full-time attendance.

Taking virtual or off-site classes

It is possible to be considered a full-time student without being physically present at the institution. Documentation requirements are different for students taking correspondence classes. To obtain information on documentation necessary to satisfy the requirements to be eligible for a child’s benefit, please contact Service Canada.

Completing prerequisites to complete a program

Students who have obtained a diploma or degree may have to take additional classes. Students may also need to take a class or multiple classes to complete the requirements of a certificate, diploma or degree. Those students can be considered in full-time attendance if it is proven that the class is a prerequisite or a requirement to complete their program.

Taking evening classes

The amount and duration of classes determine full-time school attendance, not whether the classes are taken during the day or evening. Evening classes and daytime classes have the same value when determining full-time attendance.

Vacation

The children's benefit is paid during normal school vacations, but will stop if the child has not sent us a signed school attendance form when the child returns to school following vacation.

You must complete the declaration form when you first apply for the benefit, at the beginning of every school year, and when you return to school after having left for a time.

We may also ask you to renew your benefits at the beginning of each semester if you are:

  • on a semester system
  • if your attendance starts in the middle of the traditional school year

The Declaration of Attendance at School or University (ISP1401) must be completed each year or semester and signed by both the child and a school official.

If the child leaves school and then later returns to school full time, the child must complete a new Declaration of Attendance at School or University (ISP1401) to reinstate the children's benefit. It will be paid starting the month the child returns to school. The children's benefit will not be reinstated unless the child submits a new form.

After you apply

Your first payment

Children of disabled CPP contributors:

  • the month the contributor's disability benefit starts
  • the month after the child is born or becomes the contributor's child, or
  • 12 months before the application was received, including the month it was received

Children of deceased CPP contributors:

  • the month after the contributor’s death
  • the month after the child is born or becomes the contributor's child, or
  • 12 months before the application was received, including the month it was received

Who receives the payment

Children of disabled CPP contributors:

The benefit is paid on behalf of the child to the disabled contributor, if they have any custody and control of the child. If the disabled contributor has no custody and control of the child, the person or agency having custody and control may receive the disabled contributor’s child benefit on behalf of the child.

Children of deceased CPP contributors:

The benefit is paid on behalf of the child to the person or agency who has custody and control of the child. However, in some cases, a children’s benefit can be paid directly to children under age 18 who have applied and are capable of managing their own affairs.

Children aged 18 to 25 in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university:

The benefit is paid directly to the child.

When the benefit could stop

The benefit will stop:

  • the month after the child turns 18, or, if over 18, is no longer in full-time attendance at a school or university
  • the month after the child turns 25
  • the month after the parent or guardian's disability benefit stops
  • the month after a child is no longer in the custody and control of the parent or guardian receiving a disability benefit
  • the month after the child dies

If your situation changes

You must notify Service Canada if:

  • you stop attending school (for children 18 to 25 years old)
  • your attendance changes from full-time to part-time (for children 18 to 25 years old)
  • your relationship to the child or to the contributor ends or changes
  • a child is being added to the family or is no longer in your custody and control
  • you change your name, address or bank account for direct deposit

Remember, if you receive payments you are not entitled to, you will have to pay them back.

When a child reaches 18

Children are eligible for benefits from age 18 until age 25, as long as they remain in full-time attendance at a school or university.

Please refer to the section on how to apply for a child aged 18 to 25 in full-time attendance at a recognized school or university.

When a child works in the summer

Eligibility for the children’s benefit is not affected by working in the summer.

When a child gets married

Benefits are not affected if the child marries, as long as all eligibility requirements continue to be met.

Converting a disabled contributor’s child’s benefit into a surviving child’s benefit

Your eligibility for the disabled contributor's children's benefit would end the month of your parent's death. However, you could then be eligible for the children's benefit as the child of a deceased CPP contributor.

If you are aged 18 to 25 and receiving the benefit, we convert it to a surviving child’s benefit automatically when we are notified of the contributor’s death. However, an application for the surviving child’s benefit must be made for children under the age of 18.

Absences from school

You must notify Service Canada should you interrupt, terminate or reduce your attendance at school or university. Please notify Service Canada when you have any absences to determine what may be required to continue receiving your benefits.

Note: Make sure to document the duration and reasons for absences during your current or past academic year on the Declaration of Attendance at School or University (ISP1401).

For extended absence periods, you will require an illness certificate (ISP-1403).

Circumstances where absences would require an illness certificate

Absences that occur during the school year

Illness certificates can cover temporary breaks in attendance, starting after the beginning of the school year and ending before its scheduled completion. A new declaration of attendance must be provided to confirm continuation of full-time studies.

Absences that last until the end of a school year

Illness certificates can cover the period up to the scheduled end of the school year.

Absences that extend into the following school year

Illness certificates can cover a period that extends into the next school year. A new declaration of attendance form must be provided to confirm continuation of full-time studies.

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