01 May 2010 11:53
I receive phonecalls from clients who do not understand why they have been denied CPP disability benefits. They are indignant that the Feds have denied their claims when they have support of their medical practitioners who state they cannot work. They simply do not understand why after paying into a program for years they cannot get the benefit to which they believe they are entitled to.
I remind these people that based on my research using the Freedom of Information Act, that the CPP denial rates have remained fairly stable over the last 10 years. And yes, I would say there is truth to the rumour that the Feds deny many claims on first application - unless of course you're terminal or the disability is really catastrophic.
I have been in "the trenches" now for 12 years. I think what is different in the last couple of years is what I call the perfect storm. Aging baby boomers, a poor economy and more applications to Canada Pension Plan have lead to increased applications and more people being denied. People try not to take it personally - it is a system - and you are a number in that system.
So do not give up - do not get frustrated - get a plan of action. Figure out how to establish you meet the legislative criteria. It is your ONUS to establish that you are disabled. Sometimes you just have to keep making your way through the steps. Do not be afraid of a Review Tribunal hearing. This is where I do most of my work. It is where you finally get to meet someone face to face to talk about your disability. It is a great opportunity so do not waste it by ranting about the Feds.
The most common reasons why CPP disability applications are denied is that the Feds decide the disability is not severe. Most times you will note in your denial letter that HRSDC state "while you may not be able to do your usual work, we have concluded that you should still be able to do some type of work." If I had a dollar for everytime I have read that line....
HRSDC relies on what your doctors say about your medical conditions and limitations, and on any many reports that they have submitted. It is important that your doctor's report explain your medical conditions and why this prevents you from working. Simply saying that your disability is "severe and prolonged" on a prescription pad is useless. If for example your doctor says you are no longer able to do physical ACTIVITIES like bending and lifting, HRSDC may determine that you have the capacity for sedentary work. If you doctor says your medical conditions are stable HRSDC may interpret your are capable of alternative work or that your condition is not serious enough to stop you from working.
Often times it is difficult for clients to get information from the doctor - let's face it doctors are really busy - and they can charge a lot of money to prepare medical reports - their time is really stretched. Many people simply cannot afford the cost of the doctors reports - it is a very difficult position to be in. One of the next blogs I have to do will be on collecting medical information so stay tuned.