Federal disability benefits

There are federal financial assistance programs available throughout Canada. Please keep in mind that you may not be eligible for every program.

Topics in this section include:

Disability Tax Credit (DTC)

Please note: if you receive other types of disability or insurance benefits (such as Canada Pension Plan disability benefits) you may not be eligible for the DTC. Please check the eligibility requirements and have a caregiver, friend or family member help you.

In order to be eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC), you will need to fill out a T2201 Disability Tax Credit Certificate.

To find out if you are eligible, view the requirements for the Disability Tax Credit on the Government of Canada website. Once your certificate and application are received by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), it will go through a review process. You will be contacted if your application is approved or denied.

Please keep in mind that applying for a Disability Tax Credit (DTC) Certificate can take a long period of time, and you may find yourself getting frustrated with the process. It’s important to engage in calming activities and take breaks from working on your finances. Ask a caregiver or friend/family member to help you with the application and keep a record of all documents and communications you have about the DTC.

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits

If you were working before your injury, you may be entitled to Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits. These benefits last for a maximum of 15 weeks (about three and a half months).  On EI sickness benefits, you can receive 55% of your pre-tax earnings, to a maximum of $573 a week.

If you are self-employed, or an independent contractor, you may be entitled to Employment Insurance if you registered for Employment Insurance Special Benefits for Self-Employed People, and meet certain conditions.

Prepare for your application for Employment Insurance (EI)
Applying for any type of financial assistance is always a lengthy process. After a brain injury, people often have memory issues and fatigue easily, especially after putting in some cognitive effort. Do not hesitate to ask for help from a caregiver, friend or family member who can assist you in gathering the information you need, and help with the application process.

The more prepared you are before you start your Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits application, the smoother the process will be. Before you begin, gather all the necessary documents and information you will need to fill out the application.

Applying in person vs. applying online
You can apply for EI at your local Service Canada office. The Service Canada offices are designed to be a one-stop shop for a variety of government services, including EI. If your local Service Canada Office is closed, you will not be able to apply for EI in person. Many services and resources are now online. While you may prefer to do it in person, you should be familiar with how to apply for EI online.

Many people who live with brain injury are sensitive to screens, particularly in the time period shortly after a brain injury. Being online can be difficult and possibly trigger symptoms of brain injury. If you are sensitive to screens, prepare to do the application in short chunks of time. You can try 20 minute blocks, followed by short breaks away from the screen. If using screens is not possible for you, ask a caregiver, family member or friend to help you with the online application process.

The EI application does not need to be finished all at once, but there is a time limit of 72 hours (3 days). If you do not finish the application within the 72 hour period your information will be deleted and you will need to start over again.

If you want to apply online, here is the online application for EI sickness benefits.

You can also apply for EI in person. Find your local Service Canada Office and enter your postal code. Please make sure to read whether or not your local office is open or operating with restrictions.

Submitting reports
If you are getting Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits, you will need to fill out a report every 2 weeks to receive your benefits. You can submit these reports using the EI Internet Reporting Service or by calling the EI Telephone Reporting Service at (1-800) 531-7555.

Canada Pension Plan disability benefit

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit is a more permanent solution for financial assistance after brain injury. It is available throughout Canada, except in Quebec. If you live in Québec, please visit the Government of Québec’s website page on pension plans.

The CPP disability benefit is a taxable benefit for people under the age of 65 who are unable to work because of their disability. To be eligible for the CPP disability benefit, you need to have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan AND have a disability which is considered ‘severe and prolonged’.

This means your brain injury must:

  • Prevent you from working. This includes full-time, part-time or seasonal work
  • Have symptoms which will last for a ‘prolonged period’ of time (the foreseeable future). Generally a disability is considered a condition which interferes with a person’s daily activities.

The effects of your brain injury and how they impact your ability to work will be evaluated by the medical experts who review your application. Because of this, it is important to provide medical documentation to show the impact your brain injury has had on your life.

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) eligibility and contributions
To be eligible for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit, you need to have contributed to the CPP.

How much you could receive from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit
This is based on how much you have paid into CPP. For current monthly averages and maximum monthly payments, you can check the Government of Canada’s CPP disability benefit amount.
How to apply for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit
You can apply for the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefit online or through the mail. Please keep in mind that this is a long application. No matter how you choose to submit it, you should take frequent breaks, ask for help, and assemble all necessary documents and information before you start.

If you have someone you know and trust to help you with your CPP application, you will need to give written permission to Service Canada for them to act on your behalf.  To do this, you will need to fill out the Consent to Communicate Information to an Authorized Person.

If you have any questions about the CPP application, processing times, or benefits, you can contact someone at the Canada Pension Plan program.

Canada Pension Plan post-retirement disability benefits
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) post-retirement disability benefit is similar to the CPP disability benefit. It is for people who acquire a disability under the age of 65 who have been receiving CPP payments for more than 15 months, and as such are not eligible for the regular disability benefit.

Benefits for children and youth under 25
If you have children either under the age of 18 or under the age of 25 and attending secondary education full-time, they may be entitled to monthly payments from the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). While there are two types of CPP children’s benefits, the one that would apply to you is the disabled contributor’s child’s benefit: a monthly payment for a child of a person receiving a CPP disability benefit .

Disability benefits for veterans

If you have served in the Canadian military, you may be entitled to disability benefits for veterans. The veteran disability benefit is a tax-free, financial payment to support your well-being . The benefits you may be entitled to are dependent on a variety of factors, including whether your condition is the result of your service, its severity and impact on your life, and how long you served in the military.

Veterans Affairs Canada has an online benefits navigator which asks you questions about your situation and guides you to the benefits that you may be entitled to receive.

➔    Use the Veterans Canada benefits navigator

Eligibility requirements for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) disability benefits
Veterans Affair Canada (VAC) offers many services, including disability benefits.

If you qualify for a disability benefit, you will receive either the Pain and Suffering Compensation or a Disability pension.

How to apply for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) disability benefits
You can apply for the Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) disability benefits online through your MyVAC account, or in person/by mail at any VAC office, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Transition Centre or Service Canada office. The application process will take some time. Make sure to take breaks as needed and ask for help from caregivers, friends or a family member.

Get help with your application

The staff at any Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) office or Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Transition Centre can assist you with your application. Service Officers with The Royal Canadian Legion or The War Amps of Canada can also assist you with your application, including helping you get all of the information you need to support your application. Their assistance is free of charge .

Review of your application

Once your application is submitted, you can use this wait time tool to give you an approximate estimate of how long it will take to review an application similar to yours.

Case management for veterans
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) offers case management services to veterans transitioning back to civilian life. This can be an incredibly challenging transition, especially if you are also coping with a brain injury. Case management can be helpful for coping with navigating disability services, financial uncertainty, housing issues, stress, and social isolation .

If you are in the transition process, your transition interviewer may suggest case management. If you have already been discharged but think case management would be beneficial, you can contact the VAC. There is no application process. You will build a close relationship with your case manager as they help you identify goals, assist with planning services such as rehabilitation and doctors’ appointments, and frequently check your progress .

Related programs and information for veterans
Additional pain and suffering compensation
This program is for individuals with severe and permanent disabilities related to their service. It is granted based on an assessment.Attendance allowance
If your brain injury requires you to have a caregiver on a daily basis, you may be eligible for the attendance allowance, which helps cover the costs of caregiving. The amount you receive is based on the level of care you need .

Clothing allowance
If you need custom-made clothing as a direct result of your injury (such as wearing a brace, splint or prosthetic), you may be eligible for a monthly clothing allowance.

Critical Injury Benefit
The Critical Injury Benefit is a program for sudden, single incidents (such as motor vehicle collisions/accidents and gunshots wounds) that lead to immediate, severe and traumatic injuries or illnesses . The program provides a tax-free sum to address the immediate impacts of the injury.

Exceptional Incapacity Allowance
This program is for people that are severely impacted by their disability, both in life and in finances. This allowance is awarded based on an assessment.

Financial advice program
If you have received a lump-sum from VAC, you can receive up to an additional $500 to get advice from a financial professional on how to manage the lump-sum.

Long-term care assistance
If you have been admitted to a long-term care facility and have a brain injury acquired through military service, you may be eligible for financial assistance.

Rehabilitation services
If your brain injury was acquired in relation to your military service, you may be eligible for rehabilitation services through Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC).

Treatment benefit
If you qualify for a disability benefit, you will be eligible for the VAC treatment benefit. The treatment benefit is a program that provides you with a VAC healthcare card which provides coverage for healthcare services such as hospitals, appointments with specialists (i.e. rehabilitation professionals, medical specialists and mental health providers), medical equipment, prosthetics and prescriptions .

Ill and Injured Support – Support our Troops