This is the email that I sent to the Chair of the Social Security Tribunal:
Dear Madam Chair.
It is now March 10th and I have three weeks until the deadline for the legacy cases.
I have submitted documents back in September and October going forward complete with signed Notice of Readiness and yet I have not received any acknowledgement or Minister's Explanation on what the case will be for the other side, leaving me little time to fix any deficiencies or collect any additional documentation before the deadline expires.
I have clients who are literally losing their homes, claiming bankruptcy and who are phoning me weekly to find out the status of their appeal. I cannot tell them anything - and when I reach out to the staff I am told the file is being processed. What does this mean?
May I please kindly ask, what the strategy is for hearing all of these legacy cases? At least then I can tell my clients and let people know what we can all expect after the expiry of the March 31 deadline. Is there some sort of plan to handle all of these cases? What happens when I have had no documents from the department? Are they even receiving the cases so that they can respond to all of the work and additional documents that have been submitted on the clients behalf?
We have all been patient while this transition year has gone by but I think it is time that we all get some clear answers and direction as to what to expect next. If I can tell the clients that their appeals will be heard in three months or six months - at least i can tell them something.
I do not feel that this tribunal is meeting its mandate. Especially when getting a document or an idea of when the appeal is going to be heard is not at all forthcoming.
Please can you advise how this overwhelming back log of appeals is going to be managed?
Mrs. Allison Schmidt
This is the response from the Social Security Tribunal:
Dear Ms. Schmidt,
Your email of March 10th addressed to Murielle Brazeau regarding the Income Security Section process has been forwarded to me for response.
As you know, the majority of appeals initially filed with the OCRT will be deemed ready to proceed as of April 1, 2014. In preparation for this, the Social Security Tribunal has been working on an approach to deal with this large inventory so that it may continue to process cases transferred from the OCRT fairly and as efficiently as possible.
On or around April 1, 2014 the Tribunal will send a letter to all Appellants whose appeals were transferred from the OCRT, as well as to their representatives, to inform them about this new approach that will be implemented to administer the appeals. More detailed information about this process will also be available on our website.
We understand how difficult it is for representatives to advise their clients in this transition period and as such we have decided to hold a teleconference with yourself and other representatives where we will present the process and answer any questions.
Please be assured that the Tribunal is taking this very seriously and we are committed to processing this important caseload as efficiently and effectively as possible.
We will be in touch with you shortly.
What is the new approach?
I have asked for a response and my stomach is turning because I cannot fathom what the possible "new approach" the Social Security Tribunal has in mind to manage the volume of cases and delays. Surely after the last year of transtion they would have recognized what was coming down the pipes and now they only realize that they need a new approach? Oh boy. Before this system was put in place by the government, and all of these people were left to languish in a new appeal system left to wait and wait and go bankrupt - now 10 days before these people will finally be able to have their cases heard - they say there will be a "new approach"
Discouraged, upset, frustrated, and dismayed for Canadians who wound up in this system. I hope the new approach will help you all out and so now we all wait until we get another letter advising us what is next in this process.
PLEASE GET HELP IF YOU ARE DENIED CPP DISABILITY BENEFITS.