This is the latest article on the Social Security Tribunal backlog. It notes in this article that Minister Kenney pledges to reduce the backlogged cases by summer 2015.
While I certainly hope that this is the case, I find it difficult to understand how with the current resources that are available you could make your way through the approximately 11,000 appeals. I feel there is a strong element of election year optics in play here and I will stand by my comments that leaving all of these people hanging and waiting and suffering is a national disgrace and should have been dealt with months ago.
It is already February and there are say five months to July and I am assuming that is when summer will start. So let's just make it six months until the end of August. That is 180 days. And if the backlog is 11,000 cases - then that means that the tribunal must hear around 60 cases a day. I do not know how this would be possible given the requirements and procedures the appeal goes through before an appeal date. As I have said in my previous posting - there is a 90 day document exchange - so that means that if Minister Kenney is going to reduce these back logs by the end of summer - all the hearings would have to be scheduled by March or April of 2015. Any way I will let enquiring minds decide whether this may be realistic or not.
I do hope it happens because it is time that these people who have been waiting get their appeals settled.
I hope they do well at the SST and get it done. I have concerns in that, I hope that the quality of the decisions will not suffer as a result of this frantic push to get these appeals done.
Also I fear that there will be telephone hearings and while this might be an efficient way to get an appeal heard I personally do not think this is best for the Appellant. I just know from the hundreds of appeal hearings I have attended that it is best to see and speak to the Appellant in person. I have also seen the statistics on the denial rates when a telephone hearing is conducted - I personally would avoid this option. Read my previous blogs on the statistics they are noted.
So if you are scheduled an appeal in the next little while, please get someone to help review this information. As I have said in my prior emails it is very important that this appeal is managed well as you will have very limited appeal rights if you are not prepared for this tribunal. I worry that all the Appellants who have been desperate to get an appeal heard will end up shafted. And not because of the staff and Tribunal Members at the SST but because they will not be adequately prepared for the appeal process.
Anyway, I wonder how things will unfold over the next little while - I know there is further investigations to see if this "pledge" that Minister Kenney is making is realistic and I wonder if Minister Kenney will end up regreting these statements.
I will keep you posted - If you get an appeal hearing date - call or email the office and we will be happy to give you some pointers. Allison