If you have ever completed, or helped someone to complete, the CPP Disability application, you know two things – it’s long, and it’s complicated. At the Wellspring ‘Money Matters’ program, we frequently help cancer patients to navigate through the application, pointing out highlights and areas where detailed and specific information is needed. The staff at CPP know the application is long and challenging – in fact they heard that comment from both patients and physicians when they completed a 10 year program review from 1997-2007.

One of the key directives from the report is to explore ways to simplify the application process. One such avenue that I’m excited to see will be the new “Terminally Ill” application expanding its pilot testing across Canada after a successful pilot in Atlantic Canada.

The application is due to be available by the end of the calendar year. It will strictly be used for patients when the physician has determined the illness to be terminal with a prognosis of less than 12 months.

The application includes sections for the patient (or their authorized representative) to complete, and the physician’s medical. Both are significantly shorter than the regular application – a total of 4 double-sided pages. It is suggested that the physician include any relevant supporting information to help highlight the medical condition and prognosis. Once all parts are completed, the application and supporting information can be faxed to the local Service Canada office.

Once available, the typical processing time for the Terminally Ill application is usually within a week, sometimes shorter. Incomplete applications could take longer. For a complete file, CPPD requests that the original be mailed to the appropriate office to keep on file.

Right now, until the new application is available, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, you can still use the regular CPPD application – just note “terminal illness” on the top of the application so it can be flagged and reviewed quickly. Service Canada indicates they try to process these applications within 48 hours.

If you would like to learn more about Canada Pension Plan Disability, how to apply or to receive or download the application, you can contact Service Canada (1-800-277-9914 for English, 1-800-277-9915 for French) or visit their website at www.hrsdc.gc.ca