What happens if I become disabled?

You may be entitled to a disability pension:

  • your doctor must complete a medical report on your disability and submit it to Canada Life
  • you must submit a disability pension application to the Pension Centre

If you become disabled... you may be eligible if you...
while employed,
after you stopped working for Canada Post,
while retired,

Do I accrue pensionable service while I'm disabled?

Yes, unless you are receiving a Canada Post disability pension.

Do I remain a Plan member?

Yes, if you are eligible for a disability pension, you will become a retired Plan member.

How is a pension calculated?

A disability pension is calculated in the same way as an unreduced pension, and is based on your pensionable service and highest average earnings. It includes the bridge benefit, payable until:

  • you begin receiving a Canada Pension Plan/Quebec Pension Plan (CPP/QPP) disability pension,
  • you reach age 65, or
  • the date of your death

  • whichever happens first.

If you become disabled while... then your disability pension would equal...
  • still employed or
  • after your employment terminates and you are eligible for a deferred pension

the pension to which you would have been entitled if you had not become disabled, based on your pensionable service to the date you become disabled, calculated without reduction based on your age
retired and receiving a monthly reduced pension the unreduced pension calculated when you retired, plus the indexing you have earned to date, minus an adjustment to take into account the number of years during which you received reduced pension benefits

How do I know if I'm eligible for a disability pension?

You know you are eligible for a disability pension when the insurance company declares you to be totally and permanently disabled based on medical evidence. The insurance company will confirm this status in writing to you and will send a copy to AccessHR. If you wish to receive a disability pension, you must apply.

Does my pension income change if I receive a CPP/QPP disability pension?

Yes. Your bridge benefit, if you are still receiving one, ceases on the date you become eligible to receive a CPP/ QPP disability pension.

When would payments start?

Once Canada Life approves the disability pension, benefits begin on the day designated as your retirement date.

How do I apply for a disability pension from the Plan?

Because the application process takes a while, you should start the application process as soon as possible after you have been declared totally and permanently disabled by the insurance company. You are responsible for any costs associated with the medical examinations or form completion fees charged by your doctor.

  • Contact the Pension Centre to verify if you are eligible to apply and request a Disability Retirement Application Kit and an estimate of the disability pension to which you would be entitled if approved.
  • Schedule an appointment with your medical doctor.
Pension Centre
  • Forwards a Disability Retirement Application Kit to you, along with a disability pension estimate.
  • Make sure that the medical form is completed in full and signed by both you and your doctor following your medical examination.
  • Ensure that the duly completed and signed Medical Assessment Questionnaire for a Disability Retirement Application form is forwarded to the Canada Life address, fax number or email address provided on the form.
      • Be sure to complete Sections A to E of the form in full before submitting.
      • The physician must ensure to complete sections F to K in full before submitting.
  • Not doing so could result in significant delays, since Canada Life will not be able to identify your employer.
  • It is strongly urged that all of the physician’s clinical notes be included, as well as any additional medical evidence available.
  • Do not return the form to the Canada Post Pension Centre, as it will contain your personal medical history.
  • If you do not receive a response within four weeks of submitting the form, contact the Pension Centre to follow-up on the status of your application.
Canada Life
  • Reviews and interprets the medical form and evidence.
  • Approves or denies your application for disability pension benefits.
  • Communicates their decision of approval or denial to the Pension Centre.
Pension Centre For active members
  • Communicates Canada Life's decision to you, the insurance company and to AccessHR in writing. If your application is denied and you wish to pursue your application, you will have to submit additional medical information to Canada Life.

For retirees

  • Communicates Canada Life's decision to you and the insurance company.
  • Notifies you of adjusted benefit and effective date.
  • Provides written authorization to RBC Investor Services Trust to adjust your pension benefits.

You (active members only)
  • Decide on a retirement date after you receive notice of Canada Life's approval.
  • Within 90 days of being approved for disability pension benefits, confirm in writing your decision to retire for medical reasons, by sending or giving a letter to your supervisor.
    • Your disability retirement letter must specify disability retirement and the retirement date.
    • Your retirement date must be after the date Canada Life approved your application. If your retirement date has not been communicated within 90 days of your approval notification, then your earliest retirement date will be the date the Pension Centre receives written notification of your decision to retire (cannot be retroactive).

  • Receives your disability retirement letter from your supervisor.
  • Enters your retirement date and termination reason code in the HR system (this data is forwarded to the Pension Centre every two weeks).
  • Forwards all post-retirement health and life insurance forms to you.
  • Advises you about disability insurance coverage and other benefits and the effect of other earnings on your disability insurance payment.

Pension Centre
  • Calculates your disability pension payment.
  • Forwards a Retirement Kit and related termination forms to you for completion to start your disability pension payments.
  • Processes any outstanding arrears related to past leaves without pay.
  • Processes voluntary deductions (for example, premiums for Basic Life Insurance, monthly instalments for elective service).
  • Notifies the disability insurance carrier of the amount of your disability pension.

You (active members only)
  • Complete, sign, and return the Retirement Kit and other documents related to deficiencies, if applicable, to the Pension Centre.
  • Notify the Pension Centre in writing, if CPP/ QPP disability benefits are approved.
  • Send a copy of the CPP/QPP disability approval letter to both the Pension Centre and to the disability insurance carrier.  (This is because if you are in receipt of CPP/QPP disability benefits, you would no longer be entitled to a bridge benefit.  Any bridge benefit overpaid would have to be reimbursed to the Plan).
  • If you are in receipt, or were in receipt, of Long-term disability/Disability insurance (LTD/DI) benefits from Sun Life/Canada Life, you may be subject to an offset that could result in an overpayment owed to the disability insurance carrier.

Pension Centre
  • Reviews the documents you have completed.
  • Provides written authorization to RBC Investor Services Trust to begin paying your pension.

RBC Investor Services Trust
  • Issues monthly disability pension payments through direct deposit to your financial institution
  • Withholds any statutory and optional deductions from your payments (for example, for income tax and post-retirement benefits).
  • Issues annual T4A slips.

What if my health improves?

Once you are approved for a disability pension, no further review is required. You will continue to receive your monthly pension benefit. The total of all income will not exceed 70% of the pre-disability salary.

If you return to work, your pension may be affected.