Experiencing a disabling injury or illness can turn a person’s life upside down. Relationships can change; a person may require assistance in caring for themselves; everyday tasks like driving or going to work can become impossible.
Under these circumstances, finding a sense of stability and normalcy can be a welcome experience. For some, returning to work is one way to accomplish this. However, there are some important things to know about returning to work if you currently receive disability benefits.
Keeping your benefits
You could still collect disability benefits and work. However, the payments will likely be affected, depending on how much you work and how much you earn.
If you receive Canada Pension Plan benefits, you can collect up to $5,800 without losing your benefits. However, if you earn more than that or if you can work on a regular basis, you may stop receiving payments.
One detail that could give you some reassurance is that if you decide to go back to work but become unable to continue because of your disability within two years, you do not have to start the application process over. You can request automatic reinstatement.
It is also worth noting that you can do volunteer work or go back to school without affecting your benefits.
Protecting yourself and your benefits
Note that returning to work in any capacity can trigger a reassessment. As part of the reassessment, CPP can ask you for updated medical information and details about your work. Depending on their examination, the CPP could decide that you no longer fit the criteria for collecting benefits.
Because of this, it is crucial that you talk to your doctor and possibly consult a lawyer before making employment-related decisions while you collect CPP. You want to have an accurate picture of your capabilities as well as a clear understanding of the impact your working may have on your benefits.
Disability benefits, whether they come from CPP or long-term disability insurance, are critical to recipients and their families. As such, you will want to be cautious about actions that could reduce or terminate them.