CPP Disability and failed back-to-work

Finally got my call from the medical adjudicator after 9-months of waiting.

Instead of using 2012 as my disability date, they want to use 2016 because I had a failed back-to-work attempt (self-employed doing a little bit of IT work in between bipolar episodes). I also had a tiny (39-hours) of work in 2017 to wrap up loose ends for my client and they also seem to be zeroing in on that too. I made $7K in 2016 and $2K in 2017.

What I can’t seem to figure out is the minimum CPP contribution I need to have made in the tax years 2013 (leftover from my severance after the accident) and 2016 (when I last paid CPP) to qualify for CPPD.

Can anyone help me out here? Very stressed. I don’t think I made a big enough contribution in either of those years :frowning:

So the medical adjudicator said they approved it but want to use 2016?

Hasn’t said approved…she hasn’t even looked at the medical report!!

She said they’ll use 2016 as my last worked year as it’s when I last tried to work. I didn’t pay much CPP in 2016 (or 2013 though my severance from my job after the car accident). It seems they’re willing to ignore me working 39-hours in 2017.

What I really need to know is the contribution minimums to be eligible in 2013 and 2016. I’m worried I haven’t paid enough CPP to qualify now that they’ve moved the date to 2016 (I was fine in 2012 backwards as I maxed out my CPP).

Hope that makes sense.

I don’t see any minimum.
As long as you contributed.

https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/publicpensions/cpp/cpp-disability-benefit/eligibility.html

To qualify for CPP disability benefits, you must have contributed to the CPP in:

  • four of the last six years; or
  • three of the last six years if you have contributed for at least 25 years.

I have an inkling there is also a minimum amount, but I can’t find details on that…hence the question.

EDIT: I think as long as you earn over the Basic Exemption Amount you’re fine? Although that’s a problem for me in 2017, so I hope they don’t consider that.

I would ask Service Canada.
Maybe @David_Brannen knows.

I always try and avoid the 45-minute wait times with ServiceCanada :wink: I will try.

SUFFICIENT CONTRIBUTIONS
Understanding what “sufficient contributions” means can be tricky.
You make contributions to the CPP based on pensionable earnings. There is a minimum and a maximum amount of pensionable earnings. If you make below the minimum amount in a year, then you will not have contributed to CPP that year. Once you exceed the minimum pensionable earnings, you are considered to have made contributions.

You can check that you have made the minimum contributions on the my service canada website.

It is normal for them to take this position. The amounts for 2013 and 2016 are $5100 and $5490 respectively. Self employment cases are very tough sometimes and often have to go to the tribunal for final decision.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us privately, if you want more information on how we an help.


David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

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Thanks, David.

The amounts you quote are the total earnings that CPP was payable on? So my $11k in 2013 and $7k in 2016 would be okay? Sorry for the belabouring the point.

I’m pretty sure those numbers are total income and not the amount of cpp paid.

Yes, but it refers to “pensionable income”. In a self employment situation it gets messy, so it would be the net business income reported on tax returns after all expenses deducted. If a person is an employee, it would be the gross income before tax deductions.

Hi David. My pensionable income is ~$11k for 2013 and ~$7k for 2016, so it sounds like I’m good.

The CPP person grilled me on gross business income for the 2016 tax return – her concern was I had a high gross and expensed it down to $7k. I’m not 100% clear why this was a concern given they seem to be firm on this year being employment year?