Public Resources Available if Unable to Work due to Disability

Often an individual struggles to return to their employment immediately following an injury and may have to take several months off or be permanently off work depending on the severity of the injury. Some employees will have the advantage of short term and long term disability programs but these may not be available to all individuals.
Some of the public resources available in British Columbia residents include Employment Insurance (EI), the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and provincial social assistance.

Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
An individual may be entitled to receive EI sickness benefits if they have been employed in insurable employment (employment in which EI deductions have been being made by your employer or as a self-employed person you have been paying into EI), they meet the medical requirements, their weekly earnings have been reduced by at least 40% and have at least 600 hours of insurable employment. In order to meet the medical requirements an individual must be unable to work due to injury or sickness and d otherwise would have been able to work if not for the injury or sickness. A medical certificate from a doctor will have to be obtained but this can be completed after a person has applied for benefits.

If you think that you might qualify for EI sickness benefits you should apply immediately as a delay may prevent you from qualifying for benefits.
You can apply online for EI sickness benefits at

Canadian Pension Plan Disability Benefits
An individual may be entitled to disability benefits from CPP if they are disabled from working and have made enough contributions to CPP in the past and are under the age of 65. If a person is over 65 they can apply for regular CPP benefits. When applying for CPP disability benefits a portion of the application will be completed by a medical professional involved in the diagnosis and treatment of your ongoing disability. In order to qualify for CPP benefits a disability must be determined by the CPP medical adjusters to be both severe and prolonged. A severe disability is one which prevents an individual from regularly from doing any type of work and a prolonged disability is one which is consider to be long-term or indefinite.

In order to qualify for CPP benefits an individual must have contributed to CPP four years of the last six years or if a person has been contributed for over 25 years then they must have contributed to CPP three years in the last six years.

The amount you receive in CPP benefits will be dependent upon the CPP contributions you made when working but all recipients receive the basic monthly amount of $471.43.
You can begin an application for CPP benefits online at

Person with Disability Assistance
If disabled and unable to work a BC resident can apply person with disability assistance (PWD) from the Province of British Columbia. In order to qualify for PWD a person must show that they meet the financial eligibility requirements, be 18 years old, have a severe disability expected to continue for at least 2 years and be restricted in your ability to perform day to day living activities.

A single person, couple or family where only one person is on PWD is can have assets up to $100,000 before they will not be able to receive PWD assistance. A couple or family where both adults receive PWD can have assets up to $200,000. Not all assets are included in this assessment including a person’s primary residence, clothing and necessary household items and assets held in trusts or registered disability saving plans.

In order to show that an individual suffers from a severe disability that is expected to continue for at least 2 years they will require a physician to complete an application in support of the PWD application.
You can begin an application for assistance online at