If you’re looking for an overview of long-term disability in BC, then you’re in the right place.
In this article, I’ll review how long-term disability works. Then, I’ll compare the different programs and benefits. Once you’ve read this article, you should know all about the benefits you can get.
The following are some of the long-term disability benefits in BC:
- Long-term disability Insurance in British Columbia
- CPP Disability in BC
- Disability Assistance (PWD)
- WorkSafe BC
- Disability Tax Credit
I’ll get into more detail about all of these below.
What is long-term disability in British Columbia?
Long-term disability has a couple of meanings. Usually, it refers to an illness or injury that prevents you from working for a long time. You must be off work for 17 weeks or more to be considered “long-term.” Short-term disability, on the other hand, is usually 17 weeks or less.
Long-term disability can also refer to different disability benefits programs. These programs all have different eligibility criteria. However, all of them require serious permanent disability that keeps you off work.
To learn more about long-term disability benefits, check out our Ultimate Guide to Long-term Disability.
Types of long-term disability in BC
There are several types of long-term disability benefits in BC. Let’s review them below:
Long-term disability insurance in BC
Long-term disability insurance is a common benefit in BC. To be eligible, you must be covered under an insurance policy. Usually, you’ll be covered through a group insurance policy through your work. But you might have a private long-term disability policy from an insurance broker.
If you have group benefits, then check to see if they include long-term disability benefits. If you are self-employed, then you may have a long-term disability policy from a broker. Check to see what benefits you have.
CPP Disability in BC
CPP disability is one of the long-term disability benefits available to people in BC and across Canada. It’s run by the federal government.
To qualify for CPP disability, you must have a severe and prolonged disability. In other words, it must prevent you from doing substantially gainful work. “Substantially gainful work” means work that pays at least $17,000 per year. Also, to be eligible for CPP disability, you must have paid into the Canada Pension Plan. If you worked, then you would have paid in through your payroll taxes. If you qualify, then CPP disability pays a maximum of $1,414 per month (in 2021). Payments can go until age 65.
Disability Assistance (PWD)
Disability assistance is a long-term disability benefit from the government of BC. So, they offer financial and health support to Persons with Disabilities (PWD). To be eligible, you must be 18 years old. You must also have a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for more than two years. Your ability to perform daily living activities must be significantly restricted. In fact, you must require assistance with daily living activities from a person, assistive device, or animal. Unlike some other benefits, there is a financial need aspect as well. In other words, you must meet income and asset thresholds.
If you already receive CPP disability, then the application process is easier.
WorkSafe BC is the workers’ compensation program in BC. This program pays disability benefits to people who suffer a work-related injury or illness. If you get injured at work, then you are likely covered by this benefit.
WorkSafe pays wage replacement benefits. They also pay reimbursements for medical treatments. The wage replacement payments can go to age 65. With permanent disabilities, there may be a retirement payment awarded as well. If you qualify for WorkSafe compensation, it’s a great long-term disability benefit.
Disability Tax Credit
Revenue Canada runs the disability tax credit program. But unlike the other programs, it does not give a monthly payment. Rather, it gives a refund on federal income taxes paid. So, to get benefits, you need to be paying taxes. Or, you need to be dependent on someone who does. In that case, however, the other person receives the benefit — not you.
If you have a child with a long-term disability, then you can qualify for the child disability benefit. With this benefit, you receive a monthly payment. However, to qualify, you must be eligible for the Canada Child Benefit. In addition, your child must meet the criteria for the disability tax credit.
BC long-term disability: A comparison
The following chart compares long-term disability in BC:
|Long-term Disability Benefit||Eligibility||Amount||Duration|
|Long-term Disability Insurance||To qualify for long-term disability, you must meet all of the following:|
1. Be a “covered person” under a group or individual long-term disability insurance policy
2. Suffer from “total disability.” In other words, an illness or injury that prevents you from doing the essential or regular duties of your own occupation (or sometimes “any” occupation)
3. Your total disability lasts at least 17 weeks and is ongoing
Note: the definition of “total disability” will be different in each policy or plan. Above is an example that is common in many plans.
|50 to 75% of your pre-disability monthly income, or a fixed monthly payment amount (e.g. $3,000 per month)||To age 65; or for a specific number of years (2, 5, or 10 years)|
|CPP Disability||To qualify for CPP disability you must meet all of the following:|
1. You have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan in 4 of 6 years leading up to when you stopped work because of a disability
2. Your disability is “severe.” In other words, you have a physical or mental disability that prevents you from regularly doing any substantially gainful employment
3. Your disability is “prolonged.” In other words, it is permanent, of indefinite duration, or will result in death.
|The amount is based on your contributions. For example, in 2021, the maximum payment is $1,413.66 per month, and the average payment is $1,031.55||To age 65|
|WorkSafe BC (Workers’ Compensation)||To qualify for WSIB you must meet all of the following:|
1. You must work for an employer that is covered by WorkSafe
2. You must suffer a work-related injury or illness
3. Your injury or illness must prevent you from doing the usual or regular duties of your occupation
|Usually 90% of your net earnings||To age 65. |
Sometimes a retirement benefit is available.
|To qualify for Disability Assistance, you must meet the following: |
1. Financial eligibility criteria
2. Be 18 years old
3. Have a severe physical or mental impairment that is expected to continue for more than two years
4. Be significantly restricted in your ability to perform daily living activities
5. Require assistance with daily living activities from a person, assistive device or animal
|Changes depending on size of family. Minimum $1,358.42 per month for a single person.||To age 65|
|Disability Tax Credit||To qualify for the DTC you must meet one of the following:|
1. Be blind; or
2. Be markedly restricted in at least one of the basic activities of daily living; or
3. Be significantly restricted in two or more of the basic activities of daily living (can include a vision impairment); or
4. Need life-sustaining therapy
|Tax Credit of $8,576 for 2020. Increases each year.||Up to 10 years in the past, and 4-6 years into the future. You need to apply again when the “approved” years expire.|
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