On March 27th, 2014 I sent a letter to the Social Security Tribunal requesting that a client's appeal be heard in an urgent manner.
This client has been waiting at the SST since April 2013 and he is not a legacy case - meaning - his appeal has not come over from the Review Tribunal.
This man, let's call him Todd - is 49 and has not been able to work since his early 40's due to a number of medical conditions. He has an MQP of 2006 which means he has to be found disabled by this date continually to present.
Early this year, I sent in a large number of medical reports that I had collected through out the case-management process. From our end, his appeal is all ready to be heard.
In December 2013, Todd was diagnosed with lung cancer. He is currently going through treatments to see if they can shrink the tumour enough to do surgery. Todd's wife, is under enormous pressure of course, and they family are financially exhausted, especially when you take in to consideration the additional costs of a life-threatening illness.
In discussing this situation with Todd's wife, I suggested we contact the Social Security Tribunal to see if we can get an expediated hearing - the cancer diagnosis is not going to impact the 2006 MQP, but I feel strongly that Todd has met his onus to establish disability. When I sent the letter asking this request, I also sent in medical confirmation of Todd's diagnosis, so the Social Security Tribunal have the evidence to support my request.
I had not heard anything from the Social Security Tribunal - other than an acknowledgment stating that my request had been received - and that they would consider it.
It has been 26 days since I sent in the urgent request. I emailed to find out the status - and this is the response that I received:
"We did receive your request and it is currently being reviewed. As soon as we have information , we will communicate it to you.
After that I emailed that I had assumed that the request was received but that I would like to know what is going on with the request. I also asked if there was a time line so that I could advise the faimly and that it had been over three weeks and it is a very stressful time for the family and that I would like to be able to tell them something. This is what I received in response:
"Unfortunately, I do not have a timeline. That the information was being reviewed and as soon as we have information, it will be communicated."
They may as well told me to go jump off a cliff.
As well, I have had no response to my email to Madam Chair.
I also read on the weekend that the level of service of the government has been reduced to those that were existing in the 60s. I cannot understand how regular Canadians are not up in arms. Is it like Pavlov's dogs and just learned helplessness - that everyone feels that they cannot do anything - these people are so beaten down by this process - I see how they struggle.
But to not be able to have an appeal for a man who is in the middle of treatment for lung cancer who is going through a hell of a time, whose wife is trying to hold it all together, and for me to be told and then have to communicate to the family that - "information will be communicated when its available" and that there are no time lines for an answer - again Madam Chair how is that FAIR, ACCESSIBLE, AND EXPEDIENT?
Stressed and sad.