This article was originally published on Advocate Daily on September 28, 2015.
Turning to the Canada Pension Plan disability (CPPD) system for financial assistance is not as simple as an individual collecting back the funds they have contributed over the years — rather, the process can be lengthy, complicated, and require outside support to endure, Toronto personal injury lawyer Emily Casey writes in Lawyers Weekly.
“Many CPPD applicants are denied on their initial application, and the road only gets harder, both in terms of understanding what should be done and waiting out excessive delays in obtaining a hearing date,” Casey, an associate with Tkatch & Associates, writes in the legal publication.
“The first step in the appeal process is the request for reconsideration, which is done in writing and may be supported by additional medical evidence. If that results in another denial, the applicant can appeal to the Social Security Tribunal.”
It’s not uncommon for applicants to wait several years from the filing of appeal documents to the actual hearing date, says the article.
“The Social Security Tribunal is generally informal, and appellants are theoretically able to represent themselves throughout the entire process,” writes Casey. “However, filing the appropriate documents for an appeal can be tricky, as well as understanding the legislation pertaining to eligibility, so the process is not easy for the average person to navigate. Many CPPD applicants will reach out to lawyers or other resources for assistance.”
The tribunal also has a large backlog, she says, largely made up of CPPD appeals.
Whether by going all the way to an appeals hearing, or accepting a settlement offer, many CPPD appeals are successful, with appellants being found disabled as of a date several years before the hearing and retroactive benefits owing, writes Casey.
“The appeals process is clearly broken,” she writes.
“We have to wonder what can be done on the front end when assessing initial applications for benefits to reduce the strain on the system and to provide a more equitable result to individuals who pay into the CPP system to provide some insurance for themselves in the event of disability.”