Accessibility Resource Centre
The Accessibility Resource Centre is established by Employment and Social Development Canada, in collaboration with other federal departments.
Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefit
Canada Pension Plan (CPP) provides disability benefits to people who have made enough contributions to the CPP and who are disabled and cannot work at any job on a regular basis. Benefits may also be available to their dependent children.
To qualify for a disability benefit under the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), a disability must be both “severe” and “prolonged”, and it must prevent you from being able to work at any job on a regular basis.
- Severe means that you have a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing any type of substantially gainful work.
- Prolonged means that your disability is long-term and of indefinite duration or is likely to result in death.
Both the “severe” and “prolonged” criteria must be met simultaneously at the time of application. There is no common definition of “disability” in Canada. Even if you qualify for a disability benefit under other government programs or from private insurers, you may not necessarily qualify for a CPP disability benefit.
Our medical adjudicators will determine, based on your application and supporting documentation, whether your disability is both severe and prolonged.
Vocational Rehabilitation Program
The Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program is a voluntary program that helps Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit recipients return to work.
If you are receiving a CPP disability benefit, you may be eligible for vocational counseling, financial support for training, and job-search services.
While you participate in the program, you continue to receive your regular CPP disability benefit, including while you search for a job.
In the past, many people receiving benefits because of a severe and prolonged disability believed that they were permanently out of the work force. Now, new technologies, medical treatments and skills training are making it possible for some people with severe disabilities to re-enter the work force.
You can participate in the Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program if:
- you are receiving a CPP disability benefit
- you are willing and able to participate in the program
- you are motivated
- you are likely to return to work through the assistance of this program
- your medical condition is stable
The Disability Vocational Rehabilitation Program can include, but is not limited to, any number of the following services:
- Employment counseling and guidance – You will receive one-on-one guidance to identify your needs, assess your education and current job skills, discuss your work goals and find out about the current job market in your area. With help from a vocational rehabilitation specialist, you will learn about the skills that employers are looking for, or look at opportunities for self-employment.
- Planning your return to work – A vocational rehabilitation specialist will work with you to develop an individualized return-to-work rehabilitation plan in consultation with your treating physician. You, Service Canada, your doctor and your vocational rehabilitation specialist must all sign this plan, which will be your contract with the CPP.
- Improving your skills/retraining – If you need to improve your skills, upgrade your education or retrain to secure a job, the CPP may cover the costs.
- Developing job-search skills – After you complete your work-related rehabilitation, your vocational rehabilitation specialist will help you find work. For example, with your specialist’s help, you can:
- find out where the jobs are o prepare a résumé
- join a job-finding club to practise your interview skills
- develop strategies to get interviews or identify organizations that might hire you.