Q - What is CPP?
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is an earnings-related social insurance program. It generally applies to all employers, self-employed persons and nearly all employees (over the age of 18) throughout Canada except Quebec (which has its own plan). Your CPP contribution is deducted from your pay by your employer who sends it to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) who sends it to the CPP fund. The program provides benefits to you or your family if you lose income due to retirement, disability and death.
Three types of Canada Pension Plan benefits are:
- retirement pension;
- disability benefits (which include benefits for disabled contributors and benefits for their dependent children);
- survivor benefits (which include the death benefit, the survivor's pension and the children's benefit).
To receive a benefit you must fill out an application and send it to CPP. (see below for information).
Q - How much do I have to contribute or pay into CPP?
Payments to CPP will depend on your salary.
- If you earn $3,500 or less per year you dont have to make a CPP payment.
- If you earn $3,500 or more you must pay into CPP (called "pensionable" earnings).
- If you are self-employed you must pay in to CPP if your net business income (after expenses) is over $3,500.
The maximum level for contribution is adjusted each January, based on increases in the average wage.
For more information on CPP contribution rates contact CPP.
Q - Why are contributions important?
Contributions are important because they will determine if you and your family are eligible for a benefit. The amount of CPP you receive is based on factors such as the length of time you made CPP contributions and the amount you paid in. The more you earn and contribute to CPP, the higher the benefit will be when you become entitled.
Q - What happens if Im on Income Assistance or I need to apply for Income Assistance?
If you are applying for Income Assistance (i.e. welfare) and you and your spouse are aged between 60-64 Income Assistance requires you to apply for CPP, even if, by applying before ages 65 you will receive a lesser amount than if you applied at aged 65.
If you are receiving CPP benefits, Income Assistance will expect you to use the CPP monies toward your basic needs such as food, clothing, water, and shelter. If your CPP benefits can cover all or some of your expenses you may be denied Income Assistance or receive a reduced amount.
For more information on Nova Scotia Income Assistance and CPP benefits visit the Department of Community Services website at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/coms/employment/income_assistance/index.html
For a listing of local Income Assistance offices visit the website at: http://www.gov.ns.ca/coms/department/contact/FindLocalOffices.html
Q - Can I receive CPP benefits if I do not live in Canada?
Yes. CPP payments can be made anywhere as long as you meet all of the eligibility requirements for CPP.
For more information contact Service Canada - call (613) 957-1954 outside of Canada and the US. You can call collect or visit the Service Canada website at:
Q - Where do I send an application for CPP benefits?
You send the application to your nearest Service Canada office. For Nova Scotia the address is:
P.O. Box 1687
Halifax NS B3J 3J4
If you are applying from outside Canada, you must mail the application to the Service Canada office in the province where you last lived. For additional office addresses visit the Service Canada website.
Q - Can I submit the application online?
The CPP retirement pension application is available online. You can get the on-line application form at http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/isp/common/rtrinfo.shtml
To find more information about completing the online CPP Retirement Application visit http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/isp/common/rtrfaq.shtml#related
Q - What happens if a person who is receiving CPP benefits dies?
The person handling the estate for the deceased person must notify CPP of a person's death. CPP benefits will be paid for the month that a person died; benefits received after that will have to be repaid.
For more information on how to cancel benefits and the documents that CPP will require visit the Service Canada website.
Q - Where can I find out more information about CPP?
You can get more information on CPP by calling Service Canada (toll free)
- 1-800-277-9914 (in English)
- 1-800-277-99145 (in French)
- 1-800-255-4786 (TTY device for the hearing or speech impaired service).
CPP service agents are available to answer questions Monday- Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm local time and from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in Newfoundland.
The agent will ask you for your Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN). The SIN is required because it will help to identify you and provide information about your contributions to CPP.
There are also answers to frequently asked questions about CPP at http://www.rhdcc-hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/isp/cpp/cppinfo.shtml
Q - Is the information available in languages other than French and English?
Yes. Visit the Service Canada website at http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/about/publication/foreign/index.shtml to find information on CPP in other languages including Arabic, Korean, and Punjabi.
The Service Canada website also provides information on CPP in aboriginal languages including Mi`kmaq and Ojibway at http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/about/publication/aboriginal/index.shtml.
Q - Can other people find out information about my CPP benefits?
Before anyone, even your spouse can get information about your CPP benefits he or she must provide Service Canada with written consent from you. This could be a letter signed by you giving consent, or you must be available to give verbal consent over the phone. If you give verbal consent over the phone it will only apply to that one phone conversation
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