by Melissa Miller, Associate
Many of our clients rely on CPP disability benefits after they have been injured in an accident, and have become disabled. Significant changes to the application process are taking effect as of April 1, 2013.
Many applications are denied at first instance and the claimant is required to ask for a reconsideration of the denial. Often, the denial is confirmed at that stage. A hearing with the CPP Review Tribunal is the next step. The panel is made up of a lay person, a lawyer and a medical professional. In many cases, once the tribunal panel has heard from the applicant and considered the matter, the application may be approved. If not, then the applicant can appeal to the Pension Review Board for a new hearing of the matter.
The most significant change is to the makeup of the "panel" at the tribunal stage. The panel will now consist of one member who may have some or no medical or legal credentials. The CPP Review Tribunal and the Pension Review Board are being replaced by the Social Security Tribunal. There will be a General Division (for the first stage of appeals) and an Appeals Division. The SST will also be handling E.I. and Old Age Security applications.
The SST will now be able to summarily dismiss an application before it can proceed to an appeal if there is not enough evidence that the applicant will have a reasonable chance of success. This is a very concerning change. The other troubling change is that, the "new hearing" before the Pension Appeals Board, will no longer be a "new hearing". No new evidence can be submitted to the Appeals Division, which means the initial application and the evidence submitted will be significantly more important.
For more information on the changes to the CPP disability process and how Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP can assist you with disability claims, please contact Melissa Miller at (416) 847-1063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.