As of 2017, there are an estimated 6.2 million people living with some type of disability in Canada. That’s a large chunk of the population and many of those with disabilities aren’t getting the help they need. If you’re one of these 6.2-million Canadians, or you know one of them, it helps to read up on disability claims in Canada.
Here’s everything you need to know about disability claims in Canada.
How Can I Get Disability Help in Canada?
There are a few different programs you can take advantage of as a disabled Canadian. Here’s a rundown of each.
Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit
If you’ve been contributing to the CPP for a number of years and cannot work, you can sign up for this type of relief. Your dependent children may also be able to take advantage of this.
Child Disability Benefit
If you have a child under 18 with a disability, you can benefit from this. The CDB is tax-free.
Canada Disability Savings Grant
This grant is matched by the government to help you get the most money possible. They’ll pay into your grant.
The disability award program gives a tax-free award to injured or disabled military persons. This applies to veterans and current service members.
Ontario Disability Support Program
The ODSP helps disabled people with their finances, and assists them in finding work. They offer income support that covers clothes, food, shelter, and all other necessities. They’ll also set you up with someone to help you find work.
These types of programs exist in other provinces, too — not just Ontario.
What Types of Disability Claims Can I Make?
In Canada, you can file for a disability claim for a wide variety of conditions. These include:
- Back injuries
- Infection and parasitic disease
- Fibromyalgia, arthritis
- Heart conditions
- Depression, bipolar, PTSD, other mental health conditions
- Lupus, multiple sclerosis
- Brain injuries
- Musculoskeletal disorders
If your condition doesn’t fit into this list, don’t worry — you may still qualify for a disability claim. Any disability that affects your ability to work might qualify you. However, it’s dependant on a few factors — namely your insurance policy.
Can You Get Disability for Anxiety?
If you suffer from anxiety, Canada has you covered in most cases.
The Canadian government does, in fact, consider anxiety a disability. You’ll need a medical diagnosis of anxiety disorder, and proof that your anxiety has stopped you from working for at least a year. It also helps if you’re actively seeking treatment for your anxiety (therapy, medication, etc.)
Can You Work on Disability?
You can continue to work while on disability, but it will affect your disability payout.
As of 2020, you can make up to $5,800 a year without affecting your disability pension. You can volunteer and go to school without affecting your disability pension.
Is My Disability Pension Taxed?
According to Jeffrey Preszler from the Preszler Law Firm (https://www.preszlerlaw-ns.com/), you might be taxed for certain types of disability benefits, including ones that are paid out from your employer. This may differ on a case-by-case basis, though.
How Much Disability Can I Get?
The exact amount of disability you’ll be awarded is hard to determine. It works on a case-by-case basis, and your awarded pension could be below or above $1,000.
CPP disability, for example, maxes out at $1,387.66 as of 2020. The children’s benefits under CPP maxes out at $255.03.
The more severe your disability — meaning, the less you can work and the greater your pain — the higher your payout is.
Disability is also determined based on the salary of the job you had before your disability stopped you from working. For example, you may be awarded up to 75% of your salary for short term disability relief.
Can I Get Disability?
If you have a disability that stops you from working then you can likely get a disability pension. There are a few steps you’ll have to take to apply, though.
Determine the Type of Program You Qualify For
As we’ve determined, there are a few different programs you can apply for. The first step is finding the right one to file.
If you feel lost looking through all the options, get the help of a trusted lawyer. They’ll help you every step of the way, from picking the program to filling out the form. You may even find you’re able to sing up for multiple forms of disability!
Get the Support of Your Doctor
Visit the doctor and get an official diagnosis of your disability if you haven’t already.
Physical disabilities are much easier to determine than mental ones. If you have a mental disability like anxiety, you’ll need to prove this to your doctor however you can. Discuss with your doctor how it feels, how you’ve tried and failed to work, and try your hardest to get their support.
Talk With Your Employer
If you’re still working, it’s time to talk with your employer and plan your exit.
While the best employers will understand your disability and work with you, some aren’t so nice about it. Get your doctor to write a note proving your disability to help this transition go as smoothly as possible. Don’t take any “severance packages” or deals from your employer, as this may end up hiring your disability claim.
Get your lawyer involved if things aren’t working out.
Fill Out Your Forms, Provide Documentation
Sit down with your lawyer and fill out the disability forms correctly.
You’ll likely need supporting documents, like a medical report, and income-related documents from work. It’s important to make sure you include all the necessary files to get the highest payout.
Wait for Your Claim
You can expect to receive your disability confirmation or denial within 30 days. If you’re denied, you and your lawyer can best determine the next course of action.
Disability Claims in Canada: The More You Know
When it comes to making disability claims in Canada, the more you know the better. It can be a confusing and frustrating process, but it’s worth going through to get the support you deserve.
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