In the recent case of Knaus v Minister of Employment and Social Development, the Social Security Tribunal of Canada awarded the Claimant Canada Pension Plan (“CPP”) disability benefits dating back to November 2017. The Claimant will remain eligible for benefits until her 65th birthdate. In this case, the Claimant was diagnosed with depression, sleeping disorders, restless leg syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic stress syndrome and cognitive impairment. The Claimant was placed on a medical leave of absence in 2015 and never returned to work. In the first instance, the Minister denied the Claimant’s benefits, finding that despite her impairments, she ought to be able to find some form of gainful employment.
On appeal, the Tribunal overturned the Minister’s decision finding that the Claimant’s impairments presented functional limitations that prevented her from working.
What Are CPP Disability Benefits?
CPP disability benefits provided monthly compensation to individuals who have experienced a cognitive or physical disability that limits their ability to work. You may qualify for CPP disability benefits if you are:
- Under the age of 65;
- You have made sufficient contributions to the Canada Pension Plan during your working life;
- have a mental or physical disability that regularly stops you from doing any type of substantially gainful work;
- have a disability that is long-term and of indefinite duration, or is likely to result in death
If you qualify for benefits, the maximum monthly benefit you may receive in 2022 is $1,464.83. Depending on the amount of your CPP contributions and your age, the value of the benefit may vary. Eligible individuals will typically receive benefits until their 65th birthdate or until such time as their condition has improved and they are able to return to work.
Reasons for Decision
To be successful on Appeal, the Claimant had to establish that her impairments were both severe and prolonged. A disability is severe where it makes an individual incapable of regularly and consistently pursuing gainful employment. In making its decision, the Tribunal took considered the Claimant’s background, including her age, level of education, and past work experience. The Tribunal assessed the Claimant’s impairments based on a real-world environment and determined that she was wholly incapable of working.
The Tribunal found that the Claimant’s impairments were prolonged as she did not have an expected recovery date and was likely to be out of the workforce for a lengthy period of time. The Minister initially denied the Claimant’s benefits because it found that her condition had improved somewhat over time. However, the Claimant’s gains were modest and offset by her other impairments.
We Can Help
If you have been diagnosed with a severe impairment and as a result, are unable to work, you may be entitled to Disability Benefits through the Canada Pension Plan. If your benefits are denied, we can help; contact Monkhouse Law today.
Employment Lawyers Miguel Mangalindan and Daniel Hunter of Monkhouse Law acted as counsel for Ms. Knaus. They are experienced in handling a wide array of employment law issues and related matters.
Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm located in Toronto focusing on workers’ issues. Give us a call at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation.