I am now entering my 17th year of case-management work for individuals who are applying for or have been denied Canada Pension Plan disability benefits.
It was recently suggested that people like myself, were "taking advantage" of people with disabilities because we charge a fee for the services that we provide and that most people could do this work for themselves for free.
Some agencies have suggested that they know the proper terminology that needs to be used in order to get results, or that they were experienced in directing doctors on what words to use in medical reports in order to get results. As well, that the CPP disability adjudicators need to see the "proper" words in order to be approved.
There are also some agencies who feel they have the capacity to do this work with little or no experience.
It takes a very long while of working within this system to know how to manage applications and appeals. Before you decide or who it is you are going to get to help you with this process, please ensure that you have done your homework and determined that the service provider you engage has the necessary experience to help you. You should ask any agency or service provider what there experience is in the system, how many appeals and applications they have completed, and how many appeals they have attended and what their success rate is. You should ask them how they plan to approach the management of your file, and how they are going to engage your medical health practitioners. You should ask them if they have any experience dealing with your medical condition, and if they have, how have they managed this appeal. Ask them how many years they have been working in this system and what can they offer to help you through the process.
The government and constituency offices who suggest that service providers are taking advantage of people with disabilities well that could not be further from the truth and perhaps those haters should remember that it is their own political party that are taking advantage by not approving the applications and appeals and continuing to maintain a 60% denial rate. If the government adjudicated these applications appropriately, why would a service to help be needed? Best to not throw stones.
This process is very complex and it is best not to try and manage this alone. Saying that people could do this alone - well it is true - but it is not smart. Especially now with the new appeal system and the significant delays I would caution most people to get help with this process.
I would also like to say that having doctors use the "proper terminology' is not the greatest way to manage a medical report - if a letter states that a client's disability is "severe and prolonged" I feel that this provides little help to the overall application or appeal.
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I would like to wish all the followers of this blog a Merry Christmas. It has been a challenging year but it is my hope that 2015 brings some welcome changes to the CPP disability landscape. Take care. Allison