It has been statistically shown that appellants are more successful in their appeals if they have an in-person hearing rather than a hearing held over the phone or by video-conference.
I think what is missing from this article, is also the level of experience of the Tribunal Member. I know this spokesperson from the SST continues to espouse how trained and proficient the tribunal members are, but in my experience any new tribunal members lack what I call "seasoning" which is in my opinion, a detriment to the appeal process. I hope that the new hires to the tribunal will include many more of these "seasoned" and experience members who do not require "mentorship".
As well, it is noted by Richard Beaulne spokesman for the SST - that the type to hearing held had NO BEARING on the final decision. I can tell you right now Sir, that is a load of rubbish. Your statistics do not support your statement.
You say that "Members make their decisions following a complete analysis of the evidence, submissions and applicable legsilative provisions presented by the parties." HOW CAN THE MEMBERS MAKE A COMPLETE ANALYSIS OF THE EVIDENCE WITHOUT HEARING FROM THE APPELLANT? ARE YOU TELLING ME THAT A TELEPHONE CALL IS AN APPROPRIATE WAY TO DO THIS? The statistics your office provides seems to illustrate that there is a significantly high number of denials when a Member holds a hearing by telephone compared to the in-person hearing. Why is that?
If you had bothered to review the previous Pension Appeals Board cases that discuss the importance of being able to receive and consider the information provided by an appellant in person - you would soon realize how ridiculous your statements are.
So listen up people...... If you are told that your hearing is to be via teleconference - then you say NO you want to have an in-person hearing - so the totality of the information concerning your appeal can be assessed by a Tribunal Member.
If this request is denied, please contact my office and I will pass your information on to some legal professionals who are developing a challenge concerning your right to chose the type of hearing you are given and the denial of the principals of natural justice.
I will also tell you that most of these disability cases are complex - and the contents of a CPP disability file - NEVER - contains the totality of the information. The CPP decision makers are required to consider the TOTALITY of the information - and how do you get that without hearing from an appellant. I am just reading a letter that was sent to CPP Disability and this is what they write "I don't understand how somebody in your office who I have never seen, spoken too or been treated by apparently has this supernatural ability to know what I am or am not capable of doing based entirely on a couple of forms consisting of questions and answers and notes. This person has the power over my life to decide on whether I should be or shouldn't be receiving a benefit for which I have paid into all of working life." Note that this client is now stuck in the Social Security Tribunal line up due to the denial of his disability benefits by Canada Pension Plan.
Speaking to this point, it is noted in this newspaper article that the Feds pledged to "improve and rigourously monitor departmental processes, including reconsideration to minimize the number of cases proceeding to appeal." YEAH RIGHT. This week has been at least five denials where the Feds did not even wait for the client to submit the additional information before they chose to deny the claim. One denial occurred a mere 37 days after the client submitted a reconsideration - and how is that not rubber stamping? This was despite the client advising the CPP that they had additional information to submit.
On the last statistics received by my office, it is noted that the Ontario region had a 62% denial rate. And according to the information in previous newspaper articles this is one of the highest denial rates in the world.
MP Jinny Sims says that government cannot be "insensitive" I would like to say that it is not insensitivity but rather abuse of people with disabilities who have paid in to the CPP for years and who continue to deny their applications without following their own adjudication guidelines.