Canada Pension Plan disability benefits: Apply
You should apply as soon as you develop a severe and prolonged disability that prevents you from regularly working.
Do not delay in sending your completed application form.
To complete your application you need to do the following:
If you are already familiar with the program:
Step 1: Submit your application form
Complete your application form as soon as possible. Do not wait for your doctor or nurse practitioner to complete the medical report or medical attestation form before sending your completed application to us.
There are 2 ways to apply. Decide how you want to submit your application form for more information on that process:
- apply online (you must also send a consent form by mail)
- apply using a paper application
To apply online you must register for a My Service Canada account (MSCA) then sign in to your MSCA and complete the application form.
If you are applying online, you must:
- sign in to your MSCA and complete the application form online
- complete and mail the following form to us or drop it off at a Service Canada office
After you apply, you may sign in to your MSCA at any time to submit your documents in support of your application.
Note: This process is the same if you have a terminal illness.
Apply using a paper application
If you are applying by paper, you must complete 1 of the following forms that applies to your situation:
- application form (ISP-1151) (non-terminal illness)
- Terminal Illness Application form (ISP-2530A) (terminal illness only)
Please mail the form to us or drop it off at a Service Canada office.
Information on completing the application form
- Read all instructions, which include steps for completing your application, changes that may affect your benefits, an address page, a checklist and other information about disability benefits
- Write/type your Social Insurance Number at the top of each page in the form and sign all areas that require your signature
- If you are a parent or guardian, you can request the child-rearing provision and the children's benefit (both included in the application form)
- If you are unable to fill out the forms, a family member or a friend can help you. Make sure that you sign where necessary
- Keep photocopies of everything you submit. If you call us, write down the name of the person you speak to and the date and time of your conversation. Keep all the information in one place
If someone is helping you with your application
You must provide consent for someone to help you with your application. You can do this 2 ways:
- through your My Service Canada Account
- complete the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person form (ISP-1603) and mail it to us, or drop it off at a Service Canada office
This does not give the person helping you authority to:
- submit your application
- apply for benefits on your behalf
- change your payment address
- request or change the withholding of tax for you
If you need to apply or act on someone's behalf
If someone cannot manage their own affairs, another person or agency may act on their behalf.
To apply to administer benefits on someone's behalf you need to:
- have a medical professional complete the Certificate of Incapability form (ISP-3505)
- complete 1 of the following forms that applies to you:
- Agreement to administer benefits under the Old Age Security Act and/or the Canada Pension Plan by a Private Trustee form (ISP-3506) (for administration by an individual)
- Agreement to administer benefits under the Old Age Security Act and/or the Canada Pension Plan by an Agency or Institution form (ISP-3507) (for administration by an agency, charitable organization or municipality)
You will need to mail it to us, or drop it off at a Service Canada office.
These forms do not give the person applying on someone's behalf authority to submit their application through MSCA. You must submit a paper application.
Step 2: Submit your medical form
You must work with your doctor or nurse practitioner to submit 1 of the following forms that applies to your situation:
- Medical report (ISP-2519) (non-terminal illness)
- Terminal Illness Medical Attestation form (ISP-2530B) (terminal illness only)
If your doctor or nurse practitioner returns the form to you, you have 3 options to submit your document:
- sign in to your MSCA to upload your medical form
- send it by mail, or
- drop it off at a Service Canada office
Information on completing the medical form
In addition to your application, you need a medical form completed by your doctor or nurse practitioner. It is very important that you:
- complete Sections 1 and 2 of the Medical Report (ISP-2519) / Terminal Illness Medical Attestation form (ISP-2530B) before you give it to your doctor or nurse practitioner
- do not wait for your doctor or nurse practitioner to complete the medical report or medical attestation forms before sending your completed application to us
- if you are currently receiving a disability benefit from an insurance company or a provincial/territorial agency, you can ask them to send us your most current medical records instead of the medical report form
We will pay your health care professional up to $85 for completing your medical form. Should they charge more than $85, you are responsible for covering any extra costs.
Consult the amounts that Service Canada will reimburse your health care professional.
Protecting your information
Learn how we protect your privacy.
Step 3: Receive a response from us
It can take up to 120 days (4 months) for a decision to be made from the date we receive your complete application and all required documents.
- When we receive your application, we will call you
- Once we have reviewed your application, we will call you with a decision or ask for more information so we can make a decision. We may ask you to see another doctor to evaluate your medical condition
- When it's ready, we will mail you a letter with a decision
- If more than 120 days (4 months) have passed and you have not heard from us, contact us
How your application is assessed
If you have made enough contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, we pass your file to our medical specialists for a medical assessment.
Applications are not assessed on the basis of a medical diagnosis alone, or on the basis of which disability or disease you have. Several factors are considered, including:
- the nature and severity of your medical condition
- the impact of the medical condition and treatment on your capacity to work
- the likely course of your condition
- your age, education and work history
- the number of hours worked, your ability to attend work regularly, and earnings
- your volunteer and educational activities
Service Canada does not consider the availability of suitable employment in the applicant's region when determining eligibility.
If you are self-employed
If you are self-employed, your application will be assessed the same way as those who work for an employer. We will review your file and look at a number of factors to determine if you qualify for disability benefits. These factors include how involved you are in the everyday activities of the business, and the gross earnings of the business.
Priority processing time for terminal illnesses
Applications from anyone with a terminal illness receive priority handling. A terminal illness is a disease state that cannot be cured or adequately treated and is reasonably expected to result in death within 6 months.
Our goal is to make a decision within 5 business days of receiving a complete Terminal Illness Application, including a complete Terminal Illness Medical Attestation form (ISP-2530B).
Priority processing time for grave conditions
If a grave condition is identified on the application and medical form, we aim to process your application within 30 calendar days.
Step 4: Review your application status
To view your application status, you can:
If you don't have MSCA, you can register for an account.
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