I can’t stress enough to people how important it is to buy yourself private disability insurance before you get sick. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) we pay into every month is likely to leave you high and dry if you end up in a situation where you can’t work because of illness.
This week I received a telling me that CPP denied my application for a disability pension. I had asked them to reconsider it, but the outcome was the same. Apparently, if you can do any work at all you are not eligible. This includes if you can work a few hours a week occasionally or seasonally. Basically, I am not entitled to the monthly disability payment (from a plan I paid into) of about $800 because I can, according to them, work a few hours a week. Even at $20 an hour, that would only be about $100 a week before tax or $400 a month.
When they called me on the phone to ask me some questions and explain their decision they said “of course you may not be able to go back to your old job, but we think you can do a much less stressful job.” Um, okay. I can’t even make my weekly volunteering on a consistent basis. And, the only reason I can do that on a semi-regular basis is because it is completely non-stressful because I don’t have to manage any workplace politics to do it. Also, if I can’t come in because my mood is crap they are okay with that. No one there is going to fire me for inconsistent work attendance.
Luckily for me I am covered by a private disability insurance plan through my previous employer. At least the CPP decision doesn’t leave me completely penniless. Otherwise I have no idea how I would be able to support my son and myself. It makes me wonder, as well, how sick you have to be to qualify for CPP. I also wonder if the standards are as high for people with “physical disabilities”?
Of course, they also sent me a list of other government programs available for persons with a disability. I have applied to several them, including the Disability Tax Credit. I have been denied those as well because the government does not consider my disability to be severe enough.
So much for the Conservative government’s claims to to be helping Canadians with a disability. But, of course I am not surprised.