CPP Social Security Tribunal: A note from a Canadian

This is a note that I had received from a lady who is waiting for a CPP Social Security Tribunal appeal.  She has given me permission to post this to the blog. Thank you Jacqueline.

I am writing this note on my opinions on the new SST tribunal that came in effect April 1 2013.Let me tell you a bit about my story. My name is Jacqueline Abbott I became disabled in 1995 because of chronic pain due to Fibromyalgia from a motor vehicle accident. I did all I was told to do pain management clinics, yoga, psychologists, medications  all of it to no success.

In 1999 and then 2000 again my doctors applied for CPP Disability, but I kept working with pain everyday cause I didn't want the pain to rule my life. So i stayed in the work force and continued my life for 18 years, now my body will not do it anymore .In 2009 I took a casual job which was 1 to 2 days a week depending on my good days and bad days. Now in march of 2012 my body fell apart I now have Fibromyalgia ,arthritis in neck shoulder back which I now have to have cotizone shots cause the pain is unbearable. I have recurring shingles and nerve damage in right leg. Also chronic planter fasciitis in both feet due for surgery in oct2013. I am also  seeing psychologist  for stress. The SST has all this medical documentation and want me to send the Notice of Readiness. I cannot  send the Notice of Readiness as it is unlikely that my appeal will not be heard for many months and there is a lot of medical information that may be missing from my file if I sign this now, and I have a minimum qualifying period of December 2013. 

I believe my case  probably won t be heard until 2014 because they are so far behind on the cases that were still not heard when the new change came into effect. And now cause my appeal was not solved it was handed over to a new system to start all over again where is the fairness in that to us Canadian citizens that paid into a system our whole life because we thought it was there to help us when we get older and our health deteriorates. 

The new Social Security Tribunal Information Line  is not working. Maybe you should call that number and get a call back a week later and then the person cannot give you any information.  Allison it is very frustrating.

My thought is that no one can tel l whether or not the SST is going to work  because there has been no hearings but I believe the development of the SST is causing Canadians unnecessary delays and additional stress.  I also feel that there appears to be no plans in place as to when the appeals will start to be processed. It seems to me the panel members appear to have little or no experience in reviewing complex medical conditions like mine-and that I wonder how I will get a fair and transparent hearing and when I will get a hearing.  I think the new CPP Social Security Tribunal  system is going to be far too complex for an average person to manage. The new phone center giving no information even if they get back to you in the specified three days. I suggest anyone out there going through this get help because the way it is set up you can t do it alone.

Thank you for listening to my thoughts.  Jacqueline Abbott

 

Twice today - CPP Early Retirement benefits.

Twice today I have had calls and enquiries about the denial of CPP disability benefits based on the 15 month rule.

I have spoken about this at great length in the blog.  Basically in order to switch over from a CPP early retirement benefit to a CPP disabiity benefit, you have to have been receving your CPP retirement benefit for less than 15 months.

However, CPP legislation does not allow a person to receive both an early Retirement pension and Disability benefits at the same time. 

Not only is there the 15 month rule, but taking your early retirement benefits also changes your Minimum Qualifying Period Date.  If you recall this is a magic date in which you have to be found disabled by.  And if you apply for CPP early retirement benefit, your MQP becomes the month before you start collecting the benefit. 

For example, Billy.  He started taking his CPP early retirement benefits when he turned 60 in December 2011.  He was struggling to keep up at work and slowly down and thought that if he worked less hours his aches and pains would go away.  Unfortunately Billy was not too keen on going to the doctors.  So Billy took his CPP early retirement.  His Minimum Qualifying Period date becomes November 2011.  He stays on working until April 2012 when he has a stroke.  He does not qualify for CPP disability no matter how disabled he is - because he was not disabled at his Minimum Qualifying Date of November 2011 the month before he took his early retirement benefit. 

I just got off the phone explaining this to Billy when I got an email from a lady whose husband is in the same position.

There is very little education about the implications of taking your CPP early retirement benefit.  Even though financially it might be helpful, it is very important to understand what happens to your coverage for disability should you take these benefits.  And it is important to understand that disability tends to increase with age.  Those over 60 need to proceed with caution.


Patience.....

Patience - that state of enduring under difficult circumstances, perservering in the face of delays without acting in negative ways, and if I recall apparently a virtue.

I know I am struggling to keep patient and I know a lot of you are out there trying to be patient as well.

Patient with delays with this new Social Security Tribunal that has been foisted on all of us to now endure.

Patient with the clients and people who call most days to enquire about why it is taking so long.

Patience trying to understand how this government can cause these people applying for or appealing the denial of their CPP Disability benefits more grief and ultimately more sickness and depression because they are starving them in to choosing between medication and required medical treatments,  and a house payment or food for their children.

Patience with the consistently CPP disability high denial rate.

Patience with the people who vent on me when they are denied.

Patience - I am not good at being patient.

I know that the new appeals that have been sent to the Social Security Tribunal after April 1, 2013 have not yet been acknowledged - but I have confirmed that this will be done soon.

I have had an opportunity to attend a webinar which described the CPP Social Security Tribunal process to me. 

Again please get help from someone to manage this appeal system - if you do not I worry that you will be in a very negative position - as from my review the average Joe is not going to be able to navigate this system - and if you want information from the Information Line - good luck.  I hope that the Feds who read this blog get a handle on the Information Line - it is not working.

I honestly do not think that appeals will be heard until later this year - or even in to the new year - that is just my gut instinct - not an official confirmation.  So if you are in this CPP Social Security Tribunal appeal processes give me a call.

I am just in the process of getting the website updated to reflect these changes.

Each day I speak "please give me the strength to be patient today"   Thank you to all the people who email me sending appreciation for my work.  It keeps me going.