I am so very disgusted.
This week I finally have got some submissions from CPP disability arguing why the client still does not meet the legislative provisions of CPP disability.
These clients are going before the Social Security Tribunal they have come over from the old Review Tribunal and have had to have their documents prepared by the March 31 deadline (which seems to have changed but I will address that later).
So this client - let's call her Shelley - I wonder if I have written about her before, but she is a young woman, a woman who had a heart attack in 2004 in which she coded. She survived but since that incident is no longer the lady she once was. Here are her functional limitations taken directly from her CPP disability application.
- Sitting/standing – one to two hours of sitting at a desk her legs and ankles are all cramped and numb. After half hour swelling, numbness, pain and dizziness occurs and blood pressure drops.
- Hearing – comprehension is poor.
- Walking – at Cardis Rehab she could walk for 10 minutes before her leg cramped, went numb and shortness of breath was hard to control.
- Speaking – talking is fine but processing what she wants to say is difficult. She has trouble finding the right words.
- Lifting/carrying – no more than 5 pounds for a very short distance.
- Remembering – short term memory is poor; long term memory is fuzzy at times.
- Concentrating – after five minutes she fights sleep and can’t recall what task she is doing.
- Bending – at times gets dizzy when she bends down.
- Sleeping – she wakes at times because she has stopped breathing. She has to cough her way back to breathing. Since her heart attacks the first and second one, she wakes up at 3am and is not able to go back to sleep. She explains it doesn’t matter what time she goes to sleep. If she happens to get a full night sleep, she still has a hard time staying awake during the day.
- Breathing – she has asthma. When she does too much or walks too fast she is short of breath and is very exhausted.
- Driving – is limited to less than an hour due to exhaustion, especially in the winter.
- Household maintenance – after 15 minutes of shopping she becomes very weak and tired and needs to rest. Cleaning and cooking she can do for about 10 to 15 minutes then requires rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
- She does not have access to public transportation where she lives.
Her family doctor had mentioned in his medical report that he had noticed that she appeared to have cognitive deficits he noted that after her heart attack that she "struggled to do the work and suffered severe chest pains primarily caused by the stress she experienced to meet the deadlines. Her short term memory was not fucntioning and routine tasks and procedures had become almost impossible."
This mid forty year old woman was unable to complete her own CPP application and her mother writes that due to her problems with comprehension and expressing herself that she had to help her complete the application.
T The doctor notes that she had two major heart attacks in 2004 and 2011 - and that her condition was "permanent with no hope of improvement" and he goes on to say that "she is unable to perform any kind of work as she cannot walk great distances, nor stand for any prolonged period of time."
She tried to go back to work after her first heart attack from March 15 - March 30, 2005 and she was let go because she was unable to do the work. She tried again in May 2006 to May 2007 but she was laid off because she was falling asleep at her desk. She tried again in October 2008 to May 2009 and was fired because she could not get the work done because of her "bad memory" and because she could not recall procedures under stress. Her final attempt was in February 2012 when she tried to be self-employed with two clients but she could not concentrate or recall information and was only able to manage two pay-roll cycles.
Because Shelley had noted all of these issues she was experiencing in terms of her memory and concentration I thought this need to be quantified objectively so I arranged for her to have a neuropsychological assessment with a trained professional. It was a day long assessment in which Shelley and her family were interviewed. The final results of this assessment said that there was " A pattern of CLEAR AND SIGNIFICANT objective deficits in cognitive function. Deficits were particularly noted in the areas of attention, information processing speed and memory. The overall pattern of the findings are consistent with acquired impariments in cognitive functioning that are out of keeping with Shelley's age and estimated pre-morbid level of intellectual functioning. The deficits in cognitive functioning that were found ARE CONSISTENT with acquired cerebral dysfunction and are in-line with those seen in individuals with significant coronary disease and cardiac arrest...The findins are consistent with the report of every day functioning and are also of SUFFICIENT SEVERITY to translate in to significant performance-related deficits and it is my opinion that as a result, Shelley is unable to function in a competitive work environment"
After this report was received her family was relieved in a way to find out that the problems Shelley had been having since 2004 could finally be explained. An 18 page submission was prepared providing details using the documents on file to support her appeal.
These are the reasons I have received from the CPP Disability to deny her appeal:
Shelley continues to be overweight and to smoke and that she bears the responsibility to engage in activities to improve her medical condition.
That her medication is causing her memory and fatigue problems.
That the neuropsychological assessment happened after the MQP therefore it could not be considered.
That Shelley is non-compliant because she has not lost weight
She could do sedentary work.
That even though the medical report said that she "coded" after her heart attack there was no other documentation suggesting this occured and that she did not suffer any type of cognitive problem as a result of her CARDIAC ARREST
That she was employed gainfully after her 2004 cardiac arrest.
Okay the overweight argument - if you read the file you will note that she cannot exercise because she is short of breath of exertion as well she is unable to walk for longer than 10 minutes and despite her best efforts has not been able to lose weight - really CPP? Smoking yeah not a good thing but not a reason to deny a claim.
The SEVERE DEFICITS are noted by a well respected journal published trained expert to be as a result of her hypoxic brain injuiry due to cardiac arrest - she lost oxygen to her brain people - she coded - she had cardiac arrest - what the CPP people reading? How arrogant to say that the memory deficits are a result of medication - when a trained professional clearly states that is not the case - and further the argument that the neuropsych assessment happened after the MQP so it is not valid - the genesis of the disability was in 2004 she has not been the same since - she has a son who is going without - she has parents who have to help her financially - she is on welfare - she is unable to manage her home.
She is non -compliant they say because she has not lost weight.
She worked they say after her cardiac arrest in 2004 - I have explained what happened with her work attempts - she should be lauded for trying to attempt to work given the significance of her disability - can you imagine what it would be like to not be able to provide for your son one day and then not be able to despite how hard you try?
I am sorry I do not usually get so wound up over the CPP denials but this case has really upset me. I cannot believe the blantant disregard for the information on file that has been evidenced by the submission of the CPP medical adjudicator. To continue to deny this woman depsite all of the information to the contrary it is obvious to me - that this government could give a rat's ass about paying people the benefit they are entitled to after paying in to this system. I have also mentioned how many of the submissions that I have put in to the Social Security Tribunal for clients that are legacy cases. Despite solid medical evidence and strong support for their cases, CPP continue to submit the same denial submissions, wiith the same denial reasons, riding the same denial train. When you look at the CPP Adjudication Framework - I believe that it is fair for me to say - that CPP Disability are deliberately flouting the policy and procedures and are only instructed to deny these cases - how else could you explain the denial that I have just described?