The short answer is yes, there has been an increase in the number of both new applications and recipients of Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits over the past several years.
Mental health claims in Canada have been steadily rising over the years, a trend which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While less stigma surrounding mental health may contribute to more people seeking help and subsequently applying for CPPD disability benefits, the overall increase in mental health claims also reflects broader societal and healthcare challenges. These may include increased awareness of mental health issues, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental well-being, and the complexities and challenges of the disability benefits application process.
Pain, mobility and agility related disability claims have also increased which can partially be attributed to the growing percentage of baby boomers reporting these disabilities relative to the total Canadian population.
Statistically, yes. In what our CPP Disability Lawyers have noticed, it seems that the CPP disability system has been quite criticized for its inefficiency and high denial rates. For instance, a 2015 Auditor General report revealed that more than half of initial applications for the CPP Disability program were denied in 2014-2015, with 35% of those who appealed subsequently being granted benefits.
Perhaps the trend can be attributed to the program’s stringent eligibility criteria and the complexity of the application process. CPP Disability requires that an applicant’s disability be both “severe” and “prolonged,” criteria that are interpreted strictly. The definition of “severe” implies that the individual is incapable regularly of pursuing any substantially gainful occupation, while “prolonged” indicates that the disability is long-term and of indefinite duration, or is likely to result in death. Due to these rigorous standards, many applicants fail to provide sufficient medical evidence or detailed documentation that aligns precisely with these definitions.
Additionally, the application itself is comprehensive, requiring extensive medical records, employment history, and personal documentation. Applicants often struggle to navigate this complexity and may inadvertently provide incomplete or inadequate information. This situation can also perhaps lead to an initial denial, even when the applicant does indeed qualify for benefits.
However, upon appeal, many of these applications are approved. The appeals process allows for a more thorough review of the case, often with additional information or clarified documentation that was not included or emphasized in the original application. In some cases, applicants seek assistance from CPP paralegals or CPP lawyers to help strengthen their appeal, which can significantly improve their chances of success. This assistance can help in effectively communicating the severity and impact of the applicant’s disability, aligning their situation more clearly with CPP Disability’s eligibility criteria. Therefore, the appeal process often serves as a critical avenue for many deserving applicants to finally gain access to the benefits they need. Please speak to our disability lawyers for more information about appealing your CPP Disability benefits today.
Statistically, since 1993 there have always been more men than women apply for CPP Disability. For example, way back in1993, there were 498 new female applicants in Canada between the ages of 25 and 29, compared to 698 men. The number of applications among females in this age bracket peaked in 2006, with 271 new applicants. For men in the same age bracket, the peak year was 1994 with 798 new applicants. In 2022, the applicants in this age bracket reduced significantly, with 152 applicants being female and 164 being men.
For males, the most common application age range is 55 to 59, with the peak application year being 2020 – with 5474 applicant – when the COVID lock-downs started. For females, the most common age bracket is the same (55 to 59) with the most applications for disability benefits peaking 2018 – being 6131.
The second most common age bracket among males is between the ages of 60 and 64. In 1993, there was 8315 males who applied for CPP disability – which reduced significantly to 3800 by 2023. In the same age bracken among females, there were 4322 applicants in 1994, compared to 3452 applicants in 2023.
Yes, applications for CPP Disability Benefits increased month both men and women during the pandemic. Among males aged 55 to 59, applications during the pandemic increased from 4844 to 5474 in 2020, then reduced to 4313 in 2021 and 3800 by the year 2022. In the 60 to 64 years age bracket, applications increased from 3879 to 4878 in 2020, then reduced to 3818 in 2021, and 3784 by 2022. For males aged 45 to 49, applications increased from 2542 to 2874 in 2020, then reduced to 2234 in 2021 and to 1981 by the year 2022.
In females, aged 60 to 64, CPP applications increased during COVID from 3448 in 2019 to 4343 in 2020, then reduced to 3593 in 2021 to 3452 in 2022. For age brackets 50 to 59, the number of women that applied in 2000 19 was 4932, compared to 5924 in 2020. That number then further reduced to 4872 in 2021, and then 4197 in 2022. Similarly, females ages 45 to 49 saw an increase in applications from 3175 to 3713 in 2020, 2912 in 2021, and then 2636 in 2022.
Although other age brackets are not referred to in this article, the study of the data released by service Canada shows that applications increased for CPP disability benefits during the pandemic for every single age bracket from ages 25 to 64.
Currently, as of 2023, there are 324,504 Canadians collecting CPP Disability Benefits in Canada. CPP beneficiaries have been steadily increasing since 1993, with a high peak in 2018, where there were 339,194 Canadians collecting Benefits. Below is a table outlining the beneficiaries by fiscal year since 1980:
Although not elated to CPP disability, it’s important to note that there has been a major increase in the amount of people retiring and collecting a CPP Pension in Canada over for the past 20 years. Why is this?
Aging Population: A significant portion of Canada’s population is aging, with over 20% of the working-age population (aged between 15 and 64 years) being between 55 and 64 years old. This demographic shift has led to a record number of Canadians nearing retirement age. The population aged 65 or older grew by 18.3% between 2016 and 2021, following a 20% increase from 2011 to 2016.
Change in Retirement Age Trends: The average retirement age in Canada has increased over the past two decades. In the past twenty years, the average retirement age has gone up by 3.4 years, with the most significant increase observed among public sector workers, where the average retirement age has risen by 4.1 years since 2002.
Financial and Health Considerations: The decision to retire is heavily influenced by financial situations and health. Among Canadians who have fully retired, 35% of men and 28.2% of women stated that finances were a key factor in deciding when to retire. Additionally, health issues or disabilities also played a significant role, with 22.8% of men and 22.9% of women retiring completely due to health concerns or a disability.
In order to be approved for CPP Disability Benefits you must have 1) met specific contribution requirements and 2) you must also have a disability that is both severe and prolonged, as defined by the CPP legislation.
Contribution Requirements: To be eligible for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) Disability benefits, an individual must meet specific contribution requirements based on their work history.
Firstly, you must have contributed to the CPP in at least four of the last six years leading up to you disability. This period is considered the “minimum qualifying period,” and these contributions must be based on earnings that meet or exceed the annually set minimum amounts, which are determined in relation to the year’s Maximum Pensionable Earnings (YMPE).
There is, however, an exception for long-term contributors. If an individual has been contributing to the CPP for 25 years or more, the requirement is slightly relaxed, necessitating contributions in only three of the last six years before the onset of disability. Furthermore, the CPP incorporates a “child-rearing provision,” which allows parents who have taken time off work to care for young children to exclude those low-earning or non-earning years from their contributory period, thereby aiding them in meeting the contribution requirements.
These rules ensure that those who have consistently contributed to the CPP over a significant period, but who are now unable to work due to a severe and prolonged disability, can access the support they need.
Severe and Prolonged Disability:
The most critical part of the legislative test is proving that the applicant has a disability that is both “severe” and “prolonged”:
In terms of “severe” the disability must be of such a nature that it prevents the individual from regularly performing any substantially gainful occupation. This means the disability must be significant enough to preclude the individual from engaging in any kind of work that can provide a sustainable income.
In terms of prolonged the disability must be long-term and of indefinite duration, or it must be likely to result in death. This aspect of the test ensures that CPP Disability benefits are provided to those with enduring disabilities, as opposed to temporary or short-term conditions.
If you’ve been denied CPP Disability Benefits, it’s important that you seek advice from a qualified long-term disability lawyer without any delay. Lalande Disability Lawyers are a boutique law firm based in Hamilton that service Nationwide. Our Disability Lawyers have been helping Canadians appeal CPP denials since 1994 and are prepared to help you.
Contact us today no matter where you are in Canada by calling us at 1-844-4-DISABILITY. Alternatively you can email us confidentially and our intake specialist will help you set up an appointment in-person, by phone or by virtual video conference. Our Ontario Disability Lawyers are based in Hamilton, Ontario and serve disability claimants all across Canada.
IF YOUR BENEFITS HAVE BEEN DENIED WE CAN HELPstart your case844-434-7224
VOTED BEST LAWYERS IN CANADA 2018 - 2022
Disclaimer: For some cases, Lalande Disability Lawyers works with some CPP Specialists on a Referral Basis.