If you are disabled and have worked in Canada you may be entitled to a disability pension from the Canada Pension Plan. To qualify, you must have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan for either:
· 4 of the last 6 years, or
· 3 of the last 6 years, if you have 25 or more years of total contributions
Contribution time is calculated up until you are disabled, so a 2006 disability would require you to show that you made sufficient contributions between 2000 and 2006.
There are some special rules that apply, though–aren’t there always? Most commonly these are regarding persons who have come to Canada after working in other countries and parents who take time out of work to care for their children.
Today there is a lot of mobility in the workforce and we see a lot of people coming to Canada after working in other countries. Sometimes, these people become disabled before they have made sufficient contributions to the Canada Pension Plan. The good news is that Canada has agreements with many other countries, including Portugal, that allow you to count service in another country towards your qualifying years in Canada. In some cases you may even be entitled to disability pensions from both countries.
Similarly, parents who have taken time off work to care for their children may not have contributed sufficiently in the 6 years before becoming disabled. The CPP allows you to exclude any years where you stopped working, or reduced working, to be the primary caregiver for your kids. Interestingly, because benefit amounts are linked to how much you contribute to the CPP, excluding years where you cared for your children may result in a higher monthly benefit.
You should never assume that you do not have sufficient contributions to qualify for benefits. It is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer to determine your rights and we can help you. Give us a call at 416-800-4378 or 416-533-7133.