Canada Pension Plan disability benefits: After you apply

After you apply

If you disagree with the decision

If you disagree with the decision, you may ask to have the decision reviewed. You must request this review in writing within 90 days of receiving your decision letter.

Your application will be reviewed by Service Canada staff who were not involved in making the original decision on your application.

More information on how to request a review of the decision

There are 3 ways you can make your request for reconsideration:

  1. submit your request online using My Service Canada Account (MSCA), or
  2. complete and submit the Request for Reconsideration of a Canada Pension Plan Disability Decision form (ISP-1145), or
  3. prepare and submit a written request to review the decision and include:
    • your name
    • your address
    • your telephone number
    • your Social Insurance Number or Client Identification Number
    • a detailed explanation of why you do not agree with the decision
    • any new information that could affect the decision
    • your signature and the date

If you complete your request on paper

Sign and date your written request and submit it:

  1. electronically by signing into My Service Canada account, or
  2. by mail to the return address on the decision letter, or
  3. in person at a Service Canada office

Reconsiderations can take several months to complete, depending on the case. Service Canada will review your application and any new information you submit in support of your request and send you a (new) decision by mail.

If you need help with your application

You may want a representative to help you through the application and reconsideration process. A representative is someone who you choose. Your representative can be a friend, a family member, a lawyer, or another professional.

If you would like a representative to help you communicate with Service Canada about your application or reconsideration, you will need to:

You can change or cancel your representative at any time, by notifying Service Canada in writing.

If you disagree with the new decision

If you disagree with the new decision, you can contact the Social Security Tribunal to appeal.

If you would like a representative to help you communicate with the Social Security Tribunal about your appeal, you will need to:

You must contact the Social Security Tribunal directly to change or cancel your representative.

Note:  If you would like your representative to communicate with both Service Canada and the Social Security Tribunal, fill out section 9 of the Notice of Appeal form for the Social Security Tribunal and complete the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person form for Service Canada.

Your first payment

Your decision letter will give you the date and amount of your first payment.

CPP disability payments are taxable income

Taxes are not automatically deducted each month. You can ask that federal income tax be deducted from your monthly payment by:

If you do not ask for monthly tax deductions, you may have to pay your income tax each quarter.

While on CPP disability benefits

Reviewing your case

From time to time, cases are reviewed to ensure that only eligible people receive disability benefits.

If your case is being reviewed, you may be asked to provide current medical and other information. Because everyone's medical condition and capacity to work is unique, each case is looked at individually.

Once all the necessary information has been collected, a decision to continue or stop disability benefits is made. We will inform you of this decision in writing.

Volunteer and educational activities

If you are going to school and/or if you are volunteering, you must inform Service Canada if you:

  • are doing any of these activities for a combined total of 15 hours a week or more, and
  • have been doing these activities on a regular basis for 4 months or longer

School can include college, university, a trade or a technical training program, and can be in person or online.

The amount of time you spend going to school or training includes the time you spend in all activities related to attending school. These activities can include studying, researching, writing papers, completing assignments and more.

You must also notify Service Canada if you complete a school, university, trade, technical training or rehabilitation program.

Service Canada recognizes the importance of volunteer work, education and training. Many of our beneficiaries can participate in volunteer work and education/training and continue to receive their CPP disability benefits.

However, in some cases this could signal your ability to work and could impact whether you still qualify to receive CPP disability benefits.

Examples

Volunteering over 15 hours a week for more than 4 months

John has been receiving CPP disability pension since November 2015. John has started volunteering as a cashier at a cafeteria and selling clothing. He volunteers 5 days a week, for 5 hours a day since January 2019. His duties include pricing, handling money, cooking and cleaning.

John needs to report this activity to Service Canada. John’s benefits may be impacted if it is determined his activity demonstrates work capacity.

Combination of volunteering and educational activity totaling over 15 hours a week for more than 4 months

Michael has been receiving CPP disability pension since 2015. Six months ago, he started providing free business advice to the business community. He offers his services online for 3 to 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sometimes Michael takes mini virtual courses to improve his service offerings.

Michael needs to report this activity to Service Canada. Michael’s benefits may be impacted if it is determined his activities are demonstrating work capacity.

Volunteering under 15 hours a week for more than 4 months

Margo has been receiving CPP disability pension since June of 2019. Since then, she sometimes volunteers at a community centre nearby. Her duties included, shredding old documents, photocopying pamphlets and putting them out for display. She spends anywhere from 5 to 10 hours per week at the centre, on a drop in basis whenever she can.

Margo does not need to report this activity to Service Canada. Although she has participated in volunteer activity for over 4 months, the activity is under the reporting threshold of 15 hours per week.

Working and earning money

You must contact Service Canada when you begin working, and once you have earned $6,400 (before tax) in 2022 . Your disability benefits may be impacted by your gross (before tax) earnings:

  • if you earn below $6,400 (before tax), this alone should not affect your disability benefits
  • if you earn between $6,400 and $17,610.06 (before tax), this may show that you are regularly capable of working and it may affect your disability benefits
  • if you earn $17,610.06 (before tax) or more, this demonstrates you are regularly capable of working and you will likely no longer qualify for disability benefits

If you delay in contacting us when you start making over the allowed amount, you might have to pay some money back.

Vocational rehabilitation program

If you are thinking of returning to work, a variety of services such as guidance, training, and job placement may be available.

Learn more about the vocational rehabilitation program

Three-month work trial

If you return to work on a regular basis, you may be able to continue to receive your disability benefits for 3 months. This gives you and the CPP time to evaluate your ability to work regularly.

If you are still capable of working after 3 months, your CPP disability benefits will likely stop.

Re-starting disability benefits for the same disability

If you are no longer able to work after your benefits stop, you may qualify for Automatic Reinstatement or the Fast Track Re-application process. These are designed to get you back into pay as quickly as possible when you are unable to continue working due to a reoccurrence of the same or related disability.

This is also true if your benefit stopped because of your self reported volunteer and/or educational activities.

Examples

Reporting a Return to Work

Tara plans to return to work. Tara’s benefits can continue while she tries working. She must contact Service Canada once she earns $6,400 (before tax), at which time she is eligible for a 3-month work trial. This provides Tara and Service Canada time to evaluate her ability to work on a regular basis. If Tara is still working after the end of the work trial, this may show that she is regularly capable of working and it may affect her disability benefits.

Not Reporting a Return to Work

Robert returned to the workforce, but did not contact Service Canada. He is no longer able to do his job as a roofer but his company offered him light work as an estimator. He returned to work in March working 30 hours a week. Since Robert did not report his return to work, he may no longer be eligible for the CPP disability benefit and may be required to pay back benefits to which he was not entitled to receive.

Self-Employment

Cynthia started her own company. She designs and sells clothing when she feels well enough. Cynthia has the same responsibilities as other beneficiaries who return to work and must contact Service Canada once she earns $6,400 (before tax). The gross business earnings of Cynthia’s business and her involvement in the day-to-day business will be considered in the review of her file.

Work Trial

Amina contacted Service Canada to report that she had returned to work. Amina was provided a three-month work trial to test her ability to work. At the end of the three-month work trial, Amina had earned $7,200, despite missing many days of work due to her medical condition. She was unable to continue working due to her medical condition. Service Canada determined that Amina’s condition remained severe and prolonged and she remained eligible to receive CPP disability benefits.

Automatic Reinstatement

Raj contacted Service Canada when he returned to work. His benefits were stopped after a successful 3-month work trial. Less than 2 years later, his disability worsened and he could no longer continue working. Since Raj had reported his return to work and his disability reoccurred within 2 years, he was eligible for the automatic reinstatement of this benefits. This means that his benefits could be reinstated without having to go through the usual application process.

When your benefit could stop

The disability benefit is meant to replace some of your employment income for as long as your disability stops you from working at any job on a regular basis.

Your disability benefit will stop if you:

  • you are capable of working on a regular basis
  • you are no longer disabled
  • you turn 65
  • you die

When a disability benefit is cancelled, any related children's benefits are also cancelled.

When you turn 65

When you turn 65 the disability benefit will automatically be changed to a Canada Pension Plan retirement pension. If you are getting the post-retirement disability benefit, it will stop.

Your retirement pension will be less than your disability benefit. However, you can also apply for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Your spouse or common-law partner may also be eligible for the Allowance benefit if they are 60 to 64 (up to and including the month of their 65th birthday).

When someone dies

If you're reading this following the loss of a loved one, please accept our condolences.

When someone dies, please inform us as soon as possible to avoid overpayment. Find out how to cancel CPP benefits on behalf of a deceased person.

The estate and survivors may be eligible to receive other CPP benefits:

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