Applying for Disability Benefits under the Canadian Pension Plan: A Guide for After Your Application

Evaluating Your Case

Periodically, we conduct reviews to ensure that only eligible individuals receive disability benefits. As part of this process, if your case is selected for review, you may be requested to provide up-to-date medical and other relevant information. Since each person's medical condition and work capacity is unique, we carefully examine each case on an individual basis. Once we have gathered all the necessary information, a decision will be made regarding the continuation or cessation of your disability benefits. Rest assured that we will communicate this decision to you in writing.

Volunteer and Educational Engagements

If you are currently engaged in educational pursuits or volunteer work, it is vital to notify Service Canada if the following criteria are met:

  • You are involved in these activities for a cumulative duration of at least 15 hours per week.
  • You have consistently engaged in these activities for a minimum of 4 months.

The term "school" encompasses various learning institutions such as colleges, universities, technical training programs, and trade schools. Moreover, it is important to note that attending school can occur either in person or through online platforms. When considering your educational commitments, we include all activities associated with your schooling, including studying, researching, writing papers, and completing assignments.

If you successfully complete a school, university, trade, technical training, or rehabilitation program, it is imperative to inform Service Canada.

While Service Canada acknowledges the value of volunteer work, education, and training, it is essential to understand that engaging in these activities may have an impact on your eligibility to continue receiving CPP disability benefits. Although many beneficiaries can actively participate in volunteer work and educational endeavors while still receiving their benefits, some cases may indicate an ability to work, which could potentially affect your qualification for CPP disability benefits.


Volunteering for more than 15 hours a week for over 4 months:

John has been receiving CPP disability pension since November 2015. Recently, he began contributing his time as a cashier in a cafeteria and selling clothing. John dedicates five days a week to this volunteer work, spending five hours each day since January 2019. His responsibilities include price tagging, handling monetary transactions, cooking, and cleaning. John must promptly report this activity to Service Canada, as it may demonstrate his capacity to engage in work, potentially affecting his benefits.

Engaging in a combination of volunteer and educational activities totaling over 15 hours a week for more than 4 months:

Michael has been receiving CPP disability pension since 2015. Half a year ago, he commenced offering free business advice to the business community. His services are available online for three to four hours a day, five days a week. Additionally, Michael occasionally enrolls in short virtual courses to enhance his service offerings. Similar to John, Michael should report these activities to Service Canada, as they may indicate his potential to work, potentially impacting his benefits.

Volunteering for less than 15 hours a week for over 4 months:

Margo has been receiving CPP disability pension since June 2019. Occasionally, she volunteers at a nearby community center, performing tasks such as shredding old documents, photocopying pamphlets, and organizing displays. Margo spends approximately 5 to 10 hours per week at the center on an irregular basis. Given that her volunteer work falls below the reporting threshold of 15 hours per week, Margo is not required to notify Service Canada about this activity.

Employment and Earnings

It is crucial to contact Service Canada when you commence employment and reach an earnings threshold of ,600 (before tax) in the year 2023. Your gross (before tax) earnings can impact your disability benefits in the following ways:

  • Earning below ,600 (before tax): This alone should not affect your disability benefits.
  • Earning between ,600 and $18,508.36 (before tax): This may indicate consistent work capacity and potentially have an impact on your disability benefits.
  • Earning $18,508.36 (before tax) or more: This demonstrates regular work capacity, rendering you likely ineligible for disability benefits.

Please note that failing to promptly inform us when your earnings exceed the allowable threshold may result in repayment obligations.

Program for Vocational Rehabilitation

If you are considering rejoining the workforce, there are various services available to assist you, including guidance, training, and job placement.

Find out more about the program for vocational rehabilitation by visiting this link.

Three-Month Trial for Work

If you resume regular work, you may be eligible to continue receiving your disability benefits for a period of three months. This allows both you and the CPP to assess your ability to maintain regular employment.

If you are still capable of working after the three-month trial, your CPP disability benefits will likely cease. However, if your ability to work is affected by a recurrence of the same or related disability, you may qualify for either the Automatic Reinstatement or the Fast Track Re-application process, which aim to expedite the resumption of your benefits.

This is also applicable if your benefit was terminated due to voluntary or educational activities that you self-reported.

Examples of Reporting a Return to Work

Tara intends to return to work. While she endeavors to do so, Tara can still receive her benefits. Once her earnings reach ,400 (before tax), she becomes eligible for a three-month work trial. This provides Tara and Service Canada with an opportunity to evaluate her ability to sustain regular employment. If Tara continues working after the trial period ends, it may indicate her regular capability to work, potentially affecting her disability benefits.

Not Reporting a Return to Work

Robert reentered the workforce without notifying Service Canada. Although he can no longer perform his previous job as a roofer, his company offered him a lighter role as an estimator. Starting in March, Robert works 30 hours per week. As he failed to report his return to work, he may no longer qualify for CPP disability benefits and may be obligated to reimburse the benefits he received unlawfully.


Cynthia established her own company and designs and sells clothing whenever she feels well enough. She shares the same responsibilities as other beneficiaries who resume work and must inform Service Canada once her earnings surpass ,400 (before tax). The gross business earnings generated by Cynthia's company and her involvement in its daily operations will be considered during the review of her case.

Work Trial

Amina contacted Service Canada to inform them about her return to work. As a result, Amina was granted a three-month work trial to assess her ability to work. By the end of the trial period, Amina had earned ,200, despite her medical condition causing her to miss several work days. Ultimately, her medical condition prevented her from continue working. Service Canada determined that Amina's condition remained severe and long-lasting, rendering her eligible to continue receiving CPP disability benefits.

Automatic Reinstatement

Raj informed Service Canada upon his return to work. Following a successful three-month trial, his benefits were ceased. However, when his disability worsened within two years and he could no longer continue working, Raj qualified for the automatic reinstatement of his benefits. This meant that his benefits could be resumed without having to go through the regular application process.

Instances when Your Benefit may Cease

The disability benefit serves to replace a portion of your employment income as long as your disability hinders you from working regularly in any occupation.

Your disability benefit will terminate if:

  • You are able to work on a regular basis.
  • You are no longer disabled.
  • You reach the age of 65.
  • You pass away.

If a disability benefit is canceled, any related children's benefits will also be discontinued.

Once you reach the age of 65, the disability benefit you receive will automatically be converted into a retirement pension from the Canada Pension Plan. If you are currently receiving the post-retirement disability benefit, it will cease.

It's important to note that your retirement pension will be lower than your disability benefit. However, you have the option to apply for additional support through the Old Age Security program and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. Furthermore, if your spouse or common-law partner falls between the ages of 60 and 64 (including the month of their 65th birthday), they may be eligible for the Allowance benefit.

In the unfortunate event of the passing of a loved one, we extend our heartfelt condolences. To prevent any overpayment, it is crucial to notify us as soon as possible. Details on how to cancel CPP benefits on behalf of a deceased individual can be found here: [CPP benefits cancellation](

Additionally, the estate and surviving family members may qualify for other CPP benefits, which include the Death benefit and the Survivor's pension. More information about these benefits can be accessed through the following links:

- [CPP Death benefit](

- [CPP Survivor's pension](

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