Benefits for children under 25

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

The child must be either:

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

There are two types of CPP children's benefits:

  • A disabled contributor's child 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 two children’s benefits can be paid to a child.

Eligibility

To be eligible, the child must 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
  • has died and met the CPP contributory requirements for a CPP death benefit

Note: Once children turn 25

Once children turn 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 2018, the rate is $244.64. 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.

What you need before you start

If you are applying for a child under age 18, you must complete one of the following and include certified true copies of the required documentation:

If you are a full-time student aged 18 to 25, you must complete these forms and include certified true copies of the required documentation:

Note: School attendance

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. You must complete the declaration form when you first apply for a 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 complete the form at the beginning of each semester if you are on a semester system, or if your attendance starts in the middle of the traditional school year.

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.

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.

Who receives the benefit payment?

If the child is under the age of 18:

The disabled contributor’s child 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.

The surviving child’s 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.

If the child is aged 18 to 25 and qualifies because of full-time attendance at a school or university, the children’s benefit is paid directly to the student.

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 he or she returns to school following vacation.

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 he or she returns to school. The children's benefit will not be reinstated unless the child submits a new form.

When will the benefit start and stop?

If a child of a disabled parent or guardian is eligible for a monthly benefit and an application has been submitted, the benefit starts the latest of:

  • 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.

If a child of a deceased parent or guardian is eligible for a monthly benefit and an application has been submitted, the benefit starts the latest of:

  • 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.

The benefit stops the soonest of:

  • 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; or
  • the month after the child dies.

You must tell us about any changes that affect eligibility for the children’s benefit, such as a child being added to the family or no longer being in your custody and control.

If you receive payments to which you are not entitled, you will have to pay them back.

While receiving the children's benefit

What are my responsibilities while receiving the children's benefit?

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;
  • you change your name, address or bank account for direct deposit.

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

See our page What you need to know when receiving Canada Pension Plan.

What happens 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.

The child must complete these forms, and include certified true copies of the required documentation:

If a child marries, does he or she lose the children's benefit?

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

What types of schools does the CPP recognize?

The CPP defines recognized educational institutions as schools, colleges, universities, and other educational institutions that provide training or instruction of an educational, professional, vocational, or technical nature. The institution must also be recognized by the province in which it is located.

Am I eligible for benefits if I attend school outside Canada?

Yes, if the CPP recognizes the school, and you continue to meet all eligibility requirements.

What if I am attending school part-time?

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 Canada Pension Plan for details.

What if I am receiving a benefit as the child of someone who receives a CPP disability benefit, and he or she dies?

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 surviving child'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. An application for the surviving child’s benefit must be made for children under the age of 18.

I work in the summer and contribute to the CPP. Does that affect my eligibility for a children's benefit?

No. You receive a CPP children's benefit because you are eligible as the dependent child of an eligible CPP contributor who has died or who receives a CPP disability benefit. The fact that you also contribute to the CPP does not affect your eligibility. The contributions that you make now could be used to determine your eligibility for other CPP benefits in the future.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: