A CPP disability claim denial is devastating. You are struggling with a serious injury or disabling medical condition. Then Service Canada notifies you that the benefits you were counting on aren’t coming. You are likely feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. You may feel like giving up, and you are almost certainly wondering if you are out of luck.
The reality is that many, many legitimate Canada Pension Plan disability claims are denied. Most CPP disability claims are denied not because the applicant isn’t disabled, but because of the way the application was presented.
You shouldn’t give up if your benefit claim has been rejected because there are options for dealing with a CPP disability claim denial. You can request a reconsideration, pursue an appeal, and bring your case to court if necessary. Let’s have a look at the options in a bit more detail.
A note about deadlines and the importance of legal assistance
Before we dive in, it’s important to emphasize that the deadlines that apply to the CPP disability appeal process are strict and relatively short, so you should not delay in seeking legal representation to help with your CPP disability appeal. An experienced CPP disability claim lawyer can guide you through the appeals process, increasing the chances of winning your CPP disability claim.
#1: Request a Reconsideration
If you receive a denial letter from Service Canada and don’t agree with their decision, you can ask them to reconsider. Your claim will be reconsidered by a Service Canada adjudicator who was not involved in making the original decision when you submitted your initial application to start the CPP disability process.
You must request a reconsideration in writing within 90 days of receiving the denial letter. That may seem like a lot of time, but there is much to be done. You should act as quickly as possible by reaching out to a CPP disability claim lawyer, who will review the denial letter, examine your file, and help gather additional information and evidence to convince Service Canada to change its decision.
Service Canada will review your reconsideration request and any new information you submit in support and send you a written reconsideration decision by mail. For many CPP disability applicants whose initial application was denied, a reconsideration is as far as they will need to go in the appeals process to get the result they want.
#2: Appeal to the Social Security Tribunal – General Division
If you disagree with Service Canada’s reconsideration decision, you have the right to appeal to the General Division of the Social Security Tribunal. The Social Security Tribunal (“SST”) is an independent administrative tribunal that is separate from Service Canada.
You must have a reconsideration decision before you can appeal to the SST. Your Notice of Appeal has to be submitted to the SST within 90 days after you receive the reconsideration decision. In your appeal to the SST, you will need to explain why you disagree with the reconsideration decision and provide evidence to support your position. Your lawyer can help you put forward a strong case with supporting arguments, medical records, and other important documents.
A hearing will be held before a member of the General Division of the SST. That SST member is the decision-maker. They will review the materials, consider the evidence and submissions made by you (or your lawyer), your witnesses, and the representative of Employment and Social Development Canada, the government body in charge of responding to CPP disability benefit appeals. After the hearing, you will get a written decision from the SST decision-maker.
#3: Appeal to the Social Security Tribunal – Appeal Division
The General Division is the first level in the SST’s appeal process. If you are not satisfied with the General Division's decision, you can pursue an appeal to the Appeal Division of the SST. The difference at this stage is that you don’t have the automatic right to appeal. Instead, you must first obtain permission to appeal by either explaining what the General Division got wrong, providing new evidence, or both.
You only have 90 days after you receive the SST General Division’s decision to apply to the Appeal Division. If the SST grants you “leave to appeal” then you can move forward, submitting new evidence and legal arguments to support your entitlement to CPP disability benefits. Employment and Social Development Canada will be involved as the party that responds to your appeal. A member of the SST’s Appeal Division will hear the appeal and issue a decision, usually within 60 days of the hearing.
#4: Request Judicial Review
If you are not satisfied with the outcome following appeal to the SST’s Appeal Division, you may be able to apply to the Federal Court or Fe
deral Court of Appeal to have the decision reviewed by the court. The court you apply to depends on the decision you want reviewed. The cover letter that comes with your SST Appeal Division decision will state which court to apply to.
Trusted advice from a disability claims law firm in Alberta and Saskatchewan
It’s not easy to manage a CPP disability denial while dealing with the challenges of a serious injury, illness or disabling medical condition. The good news is that you don’t have to navigate the appeal process alone. Ludwar Law Firm has 27 years of experience representing clients with the CPP disability process in Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Our clients appreciate that our CPP disability claim lawyer takes the time to explain what is required to appeal and what to expect during the process. We specialize in taking on the stress of a CPP disability claim denial so you can focus on your health and well-being. We work hard to make sure people get the CPP disability benefits they deserve.
Our disability claims law firm is located in Calgary, but we assist clients with CPP disability claims and appeals in Saskatoon, Regina, and across all of Alberta and Saskatchewan. To schedule your free initial consultation, we welcome you to call us today at 403-670-0055 (or toll-free 1-877-682-3476) or contact us using our eForm.