If I am Approved for Disability, Will My Children Get Benefits?

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      If I am Approved for Disability, Will My Children Get Benefits?

      If I am Approved for Disability, Will My Children Get Benefits?

      Unforeseen events can quickly derail a family’s financial stability, and one issue that can definitely destroy financial peace of mind is the onset of a disability. Not only is a disabled individual severely limited, if not completely unable, to work, but the cost of managing the repercussions of significant physical and mental impairments is an ongoing obligation that can quickly overwhelm a family’s resources. The lack of financial support unavoidably reverberates from a disabled parent to his or her child or other dependent, making it more difficult to provide the necessities a child needs until he or she is in a position to earn money. Canada provides several disability benefit programs to citizens able to show the existence of a severe and prolonged impairment.

      One program in particular, the Canada Pension Plan Disability, offers benefits for a qualified disabled individual, as well as his or her dependent children. This additional contribution can make a notable difference in the financial stability of the household, and the available money to directly benefit the child. A discussion of how a disabled individual qualifies for the Canada Pension Plan, and when a child may access supplemental benefits under a covered parent, will follow below.

      Qualifying for the Canada Pension Plan

      Before the question even arises of whether a child may collect disability benefits under a parent’s eligibility, the parent must first qualify as disabled according to federal law. Disability benefits provided under the Canadian Pension Plan is the program that offers supplemental benefits for children, reflecting the fact that qualifying for benefits is largely dependent upon making the necessary contributions within the applicable time frame. Specifically, to qualify for the disability arm of this program, a contributor must earn a minimum amount ($5,500 for 2017), and contribute to the program for a specified period of time. For purposes of obtaining a distribution due to disability, four of the last six years at or above the minimum earnings level, or three of the last six years if contributions were at or above the minimum for at least 25 years, must be satisfied.

      Beyond the financial component, the next issue is qualifying for benefits as disabled, which requires meeting the definition of “disability,” as defined by the government. Briefly, the applicant must show severe and prolonged impairment. More specifically, severe equates to a condition that stops a person from doing any type of substantial gainful work, and prolonged means the disability is expected to last for a long or indefinite period, or result in death.

      When Children of Disabled Recipients May Receive Benefits

      Assuming the disabled parent meets the threshold requirement and qualifies for benefits under the Canada Pension Plan, a dependent child in the care or custody of the disabled parent, as well as a child of a deceased qualified parent, may receive monthly benefits of $241.05, as of 2017. Note that if the contributor is deceased, he or she only had to contribute to the pension fund for at least three years for a surviving child to qualify for supplemental benefits. This child benefit is available until the age of 18 for natural, adopted, and children legally controlled by the recipient. Anyone seeking benefits above the age of 18, which can extend to 25, must be enrolled full time at a recognized university. After age 25, child benefits are no longer available. The benefit is typically paid to the parent with which the child is living, but may be directly paid to the child if over 18 and in school full time. Once awarded, the benefit only stops if:

      • The child stops attending school full time or turns 18;
      • The parent’s disability benefit stops;
      • The child leaves the care and custody of the covered parent; or
      • The child dies.

      Consult a Disability Lawyer

      Becoming legally qualified as disabled opens the door to many supportive benefits that provide income and services beyond the standard disability coverage. The amount of services available, and how to qualify for them, is difficult to navigate for most people, but an experienced disability lawyer can identify and direct a disabled client to the resources he/she needs to function optimally. Do not risk missing out on key benefits, and consult a disability lawyer to see which options are available.

      Disclaimer: The content of this article is a general guideline made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice for the reader's specific situation nor in general. By reading our blog and website content, the reader acknowledges the above and understands there is no lawyer-client relationship created between you and Himelfarb Proszanski through this content. To get specific legal advice, we encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers to clarify the legal aspects of your situation.