If your appeal is at the Social Security Tribunal and you are currently waiting for a hearing - you would have likely received a Notice of Readiness form in the mail.
Please read this article carefully.
In December 2015, the Social Security Tribunal, decided that they were going to implement the regulations concerning the Notice of Readiness process. If you have filed an appeal and received an acknowledgment from the Tribunal, you will receive a Notice of Readiness form.
This form will be located in the letter you receive from the Tribunal outlining your next steps in the appeal process.
It says in the letter that all parties to the appeal are allowed one year to send to the Tribunal any documents they want the Tribunal to consider. And they will give you a date in which this 365 day period ends.
However, you are given the option, that if you do not need the one year and want the Tribunal to decide the appeal sooner, you can complete the Notice of Readiness form and send it to the Tribunal.
What is the Social Security Tribunal Notice of Readiness Form?
Well it is a document that is named Notice of Readiness: Form for the Appellant
This form is very important - as once you complete this form and return it to the Social Security Tribunal it means that you are stating that there are no more documents you wish to file in support of your appeal.
I know that many people will be keen to get the Appeal heard - and a Tribunal date - but it is a very bad mistake to sign this form without consulting an expert to ensure that you are indeed ready to proceed. In fact, it is a very big mistake to send this form in before your case is reviewed and your appeal is managed.
If you sign this form it says that you have nothing further to add to your file.
Sending the Notice of Readiness Form without consulting an expert is a mistake
This is my opinion. Many people believe that they have submitted what is needed in order to support their Canada Pension Plan disability application - many people assume that because your doctor says your disabled - and because you are disabled - that you will qualify. Well the recent news stories and the Auditor General's report has unfortunately highlighted that this is probably not the case. Many people think that they have submitted all that they need to be successful -but in my experience - this is most often not the case. Many people assume their doctors have submitted what they need, or think that CPP disability have collected what they need - but no.
Most people have no understanding of the Minimum Qualifying Period or how that impacts an appeal. There are so many reasons not to sign this form without expert consultation.
If you sign a Notice of Readiness Form without consultation you could be preventing the opportunity to prepare your for your appeal. And I like to follow the five p's - Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance (excuse my language).
So don't sign it without knowing for certain that you are prepared and that you have at least had someone look over your case as once you have signed it - well you may have difficulty submitting any more documents that could be critical to your appeal.
Think of it this way - if you have got the Notice of Readiness Form - and signed it - and then you are diagnosed with another condition or perhaps you have more medical testing - who knows - but these may not be allowed to be submitted in order to support your appeal.
The last kick at the can
If you are a follower of this blog, you will know that the SST General Division appeal is pretty much the last opportunity you will have to submit information in order to support your appeal and it is your best shot to being successful and securing your disability benefits. If you are denied at the General Division you cannot submit new documents on appeal - see why the you have to be so careful with the Notice of Readiness Form?
Some suggestions to follow
I would review the blog here to learn information about Canada Pension Plan and how to prepare your appeal. I would make sure that you review all of the information in your file and ensure that all the documents are in there. I would certainly wait until you receive The Minister's submission as to why they feel you are not entitled to Canada Pension Plan disability - and then review that to see what they find deficient in your case - at least make sure you prepare to respond to that.
I would review the medical information and make sure that you have submitted everything before the time of the Minimum Qualifying Period and continuously to present. I would make sure that your doctors have written letters of support - recent letters of support.
I cannot say it enough but I would make sure I had a professional expert review your file to ensure that your appeal documents are ready to go. Do not leave this to an untrained person - it is a bad foolish thing to do.
Please contact me for further information - I am always happy to help. We are currently evolving here at DCAC again - and have exciting changes to announce shortly.