CPP Disabling Women, Authors of Report Say

Article excerpt

(WINNIPEG) The system of disability benefits under the Canada Pension Plan is unfair to women with disabilities, according to a report commissioned by Status of Women Canada.

The report's authors, Tanis Doe and Sally Kimpson note that recent changes to the policy allow people collecting CPP to return to work through the Vocational Rehabilitation Plan. The program provides training or equipment to help men and women with disabilities to return to paid work. They are allowed to work for three months under the program before losing their CPP benefits.

After consulting with women receiving benefits, Doe and Kimpson found that "Three months was far too short a time and far too risky a gamble to lose pension income for a job that 'might be.'"

It is common for people with disabilities to have episodic or remitting disorders that result in a highly unstable level of health and mobility. The report recommends that people with disabilities be allowed to earn up to $24,000 without losing benefits. Currently, only people who are unemployable qualify for a disability pension.

"Eliminating the penalty for working, the CPP could empower women, provide incentives for returning to work by removing the threat of losing CPP disability benefits, generate needed income for the CPP and increase taxable dollars for general revenue," the report concludes.

Women receiving CPP disability benefits are usually not eligible for Employment Insurance/Vocational Rehabilitation programs because they are deemed 'permanently unemployable,' and lose the CPP disability income if they return to work. …