Disability benefits

Learn about disability benefits, including eligibility requirements.

If you become totally and permanently disabled before age 65, you may be eligible for a disability benefit from BC's College Pension Plan. If you remain disabled at age 65, you will be paid a disability benefit for your lifetime. This replaces any termination benefits or regular pension you would normally receive as a plan member.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible for a disability benefit, you must:

  • Be under age 65
  • Have at least two years of contributory service
  • End your employment
  • Not be eligible to receive benefits from a group disability plan approved by the College Pension Plan
  • Not have accepted a lump-sum payment to settle a group disability plan claim (if you have accepted a lump-sum payment, you may be entitled to termination benefits or a regular pension)

If you are age 55 or older, you may be eligible to apply for a regular pension. If you have 35 years of contributory service, contact the plan to discuss your options.

How do you qualify?

You must apply in writing to the plan for a disability benefit by the later of:

  • Two years from the date of your last contribution to the plan
  • Two years from the last day you received a benefit payment from a group disability plan

If you were denied long-term disability benefits and are appealing that decision, you still need to apply within the two-year limit.

Once you apply, in order to qualify, both your doctor and a doctor appointed by the plan must agree you are totally and permanently disabled.

How is a disability benefit calculated?

We calculate disability benefits the same way we calculate regular pensions, except:

  • There is no bridge benefit
  • Disability benefits are never reduced because of your age or years of service

For disability benefits (just like regular pensions):

  • The calculation is based on your years of pensionable service and the average of your five highest years of salary
  • You are able to choose from the same pension options and guarantees
  • The amount of your disability benefit may increase annually to reflect changes in the cost of living (but this is not guaranteed)
  • Depending on the pension option you selected when you applied for your disability benefit, your spouse or beneficiary(ies) may be eligible to receive a pension benefit upon your death

What happens if you are no longer disabled?

If you are no longer disabled, we will stop paying you your disability benefit.

If you return to work for an employer participating in the plan, you and your employer will resume making pension contributions to the plan. When you retire, you will be eligible for a regular pension.

If you do not return to work, or you return to work for an employer that does not participate in the plan, contact the plan to learn about your pension options.

If you are eligible for a regular pension or termination benefit, we will calculate it using your total years of service:

  • You will not receive service for the period you were receiving the disability benefit
  • There is no adjustment for the disability benefit that was already paid

Why would you take a disability benefit rather than a regular pension?

If you become disabled after your earliest retirement age but before you turn 65, a disability benefit may provide you with a higher benefit than a regular pension.

The rules for calculating disability benefits are complex. Contact the plan for information or to discuss your individual situation.

Related content for disability benefits

How to address a concern or appeal a decision