The Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Pension Plan is expanding the definition of who can qualify to receive benefits as disabled or as a dependant child under its plan.

Effective Dec. 1, 2021, the CAAT’s DBprime plan design was amended to remove the requirement that a member must be receiving benefits from an employer’s long-term disability plan. The change means the term now applies to any member whose disability starts or continues on or after Dec. 1.

In most cases, the plan will continue to rely on receipt of benefits from a long-term disability plan as evidence of disability. However, in situations where claims are questioned, a lump-sum payment has been made, the member has been denied coverage or the member doesn’t have coverage, plan staff will now be able to carry out an independent review on claims for the disability waiver. The change doesn’t apply to the DBplus plan design.

Read: Supreme Court ruling in RCMP pension case may force plan design changes

As well, the pension plan expanded the definition of a “child” who can qualify for pre- and post-survivor benefits under both the DBprime and DBplus plan designs. The change now covers dependant children who are under age 25 and attending an educational institution and dependant adult children who are unable to support themselves due to a disability — provided that such child became disabled prior to age 18 (or age 25, if they were attending an educational institution).

Pre-retirement survivor benefits will now apply if a member or former member dies on or after Dec. 1, 2021, without an eligible spouse and if their jurisdiction of employment was in Ontario or Nova Scotia. The expanded definition of child also applies to post-retirement survivor benefits for retired members who were employed across Canada.

Read: Collective DC pension plan designs offer benefits to sponsors, members: report