I am very pleased with the service provided by Allison. She is truly dedicated to the cause of the disabled and disadvantaged. Prior to my disablement by multiple sclerosis, I worked in a social services office and was well versed with different processes of getting disability benefits. I proceeded with my own claim for CPP with just the help of my doctor and a social worker. The process was very daunting, and Service Canada was of little or no help. My original submission was woefully inadequate and I was denied. I applied for reconsideration and did more research. I found that like all things government, one needs to draw a detailed roadmap for the government employee doing the work in order to have any chance of success. Even with my experience, I was not up to the challenge; I needed someone who was. My research led me to Allison, and she took on my claim. Within three months of her starting work on my claim, I got a favourable decision and am now receiving from CPP the benefit of my contributions that I paid during my working years. The roadmap that she drew was painstaking accurate and detailed.
For those who are considering whether to hire an advocate, I can only say this: Don’t go it alone. When you go it alone, you have to do all the heavy lifting; you cannot expect nor does the law state that Service Canada has to do any of it for you. You cannot just drop a stack of medical records in the adjudicator’s lap and expect them to spend all the time needed to make sense of it in a manner that is in your favour. This is what they are supposed to do, but it will not happen unless you also have that expertly drawn roadmap. Allison can provide that roadmap for you. Please remember that CPP-D is not welfare. If you have contributed to CPP, can meet the contribution and time tests and can no longer work due to disability, you have an entitlement to a benefit. Don’t give up, call Allison and let her help you. I cannot thank Allison enough for her time and effort.
Thanks again Allison for all your time and effort.
I have simple advice for people with disabilities, if you looking for help and you lucky enough to find DCAC, than you are on the right truck. Trust Allison and simply FORGET THE REST because she is definitely THE BEST. Mr. Z.Z.
Thank you to both these clients. I appreciate your words of recommendation.
A quick entry to update those people who are currently waiting for appeals at the Social Security Tribunal. I am speaking to those appellants who are Legacy Appeals - they are those who were at the Review Tribunal at the time of changeover to the Social Security Tribunal.
I have over the last two weeks received dates for hearings for individuals whose appeals are numbered 122 - 123.
So these individuals had probably applied to the Review Tribunal to have their appeal heard in around early 2012. These hearings are also being scheduled for the May - June 2015 period.
Still a huge back log waiting - all of the remainder of the legacy cases - they are numbered up to 125 and all of the Appeal GP-13 and GP-14. But progress - finally progress.
I would also like to caution people on two things - firstly - if you have an appeal scheduled at the Social Security Tribunal please get help with this. It is just plain foolish to try to manage this type of appeal alone. There is too much at stake and with very limited appeal rights if you are denied - you may just be done being able to apply for CPP disability again. Also, be careful who you choose to help you. There are individuals out there who claim to be able to do this work - I have written in prior blogs about the questions to ask if you are looking for someone to help you. If you like, you can call this office and ask me. I would rather help you decide than you rely on someone who does not have the expertise.
Secondly, try not to get to this level of appeal. If you have been denied CPP disability, get help at the initial stages of application and for sure at the reconsideration appeal. My staff and I can help prepare and audit your CPP Disability applications.
Yesterday I received information concerning Reconsideration appeals to Canada Pension Plan. If you are a follower of the blog, you will have read my complaints about the stupid denials I have been receiving from certain regional offices. I decided to request information to determine whether the trend of denials could be supported by actual figures and that is the what I received yesterday.
In 2013 -2014 fiscal year, there were 13,841 requests for reconsideration received by Employment and Skills Development Canada. This is your first level of appeal.
Out of the 13,841 appeals received 8,564 were denied - this is a 61% denial rate.
Now that is not really surprising to me because that is what the denial rate seems to hover around.
What is surprising to me, is that in the Ontario region, they received 7,586 requests for appeals and they maintained the denial of 5,216 of them. That is a whopping 68 percent denial rate.
So back to the stupid denials. Many of those DCAC has received in the last several months, the Medical Adjudicator - has not waited for the additional information they were advised was being submitted in order to add more support to the appeal. They have simply denied them without waiting, without contacting the client, without contacting anyone to ensure that the client is ready to proceed with the appeal. And I do not have to tell you where these denials are coming from - you guessed it - CHATHAM ONTARIO.
In documents I have reviewed, it is noted that part of the Federal Government's response to reducing the horrendus 11,000 appeal back log at the Social Security Tribunal is to ensure proper adjudication at the administrative level - that is the reconsideration level. So may I suggest to the Ministry that they check this issue out. The client I am looking at right now there is no indication in the file that the client was even phoned to ask if there was additional information and despite a letter that had been sent to contact my office, there was no phone call to me either. The decision to deny this benefit was made on November 28th this was despite a phone call to Service Canada to advise them that additional infomration was forthcoming and was sent on December 4th. Is there miscommunication between the Service Canada office and the CPP Disability office?
A.L. Medical Adjudicator in Chatham office, that is just not cool - do your job - develop the file - it is not at all fair to this client who will now be stuck in the SST back log.
Happy New Year to my clients, colleagues, and friends.
I just wanted you all to read this recent article in the Globe and Mail. Some may suggest that only 1/3 of the Social Security Tribunal members having ties to the Conservative Party means that 2/3's of the members must have ties to the other political parties - but you will note in the article it states:
"According to the analysis, there's scant evidence any tribunal member has donated to ANY OTHER PARTY other than the Conservatives."
Here is the link:
Do you know that under the prior system we had tribunal members and judges who were well-experienced based on years of work with the appeal system - it begs the question as to why this was changed, The old tribunal ran under the Conservative government and those appointments seemed to be appropriate and I completely disagree with Kenney's spokeswoman who suggests that this is a "marked improvement over the former system which had no comprehensive selection process whatsoever." Hmm???? I am sure the well-experienced Federal Court judges and previous Tribunal Members who sat on the previous Tribunals would disagree with her comments and frankly find them insulting- give me a break and nice spin- yeah "you changed it" alright.
So have a think about who is hearing your appeals? The tribunal members that I have dealt with under the new system have been very good. I cannot complain. But I also find it interesting, that all of the tribunal members DCAC has had at the SST hearings, have been previous tribunal members under the old system (what few there are).
Get help please, do not proceed alone. In my last blog, I talked about how experience matters when dealing with CPP applications and appeals. We have the experience here at DCAC of that I am confident. The quality and experience of the staff includes prior tribunal members, paralegals, legal consultants, and prior CPP disability employees. I have been very blessed to have a group of people who care about the clients and who have sought me out to work with this office because they have seen first hand, how the benefit of excellent case-management, ensures that the client has the best possible information to present when they apply for CPP disability or have to appeal the decision.
If you are at the Social Security Tribunal level, you know that you are going to be in for a very long wait. I would take this time to make sure that your case is managed, all the information is marshalled, that you have the best possible opporutnity to convince the Tribunal Member that your appeal should succeed.
The staff here at DCAC are very happy to provide a free case assessment. It will cost you nothing to make sure that you are heading in the right direction.