The following are the 10 most common mistakes people make when making a CPP disability application or if they need to appeal a denial.
Be ready to receive a denial and be prepared to make your appeal. Get your CPP denial letter reviewed by a professional and research your next steps. Do not take the governments decision to deny your benefits as being correct. Look into it further.
The denial must be appealed within 90 days from the date you receive the letter. You need to notify the government in writing. Do not call, email or fax – write the request for appeal. There is a request for reconsideration document that you can find here
There is a late appeal submission that can be made but it’s complicated.
Service Canada is taking a long time to make decisions on disability applications – over 120 working days. Many things can happen between the application and denial – so keep your records, continue your treatments, and make sure to update and send in additional information. Since it can take so long for the CPP Disability adjudicators to make a decision the medical information can become outdated. Keep on top of making sure CPPD has the most recent information.
The majority of people will need to appeal. So get ready for it.
It is your responsibility to provide the information required in order to support your application or appeal.
• If CPP says you are denied because there is not enough medical information, find out what is missing.
• If CPP says there is no further follow ups with doctors on file – provide them the information.
• Do not call the CPP disability disability adjudicator out on their skills and experience as written records of these interactions will remain in your file.
• Make sure you get a copy of your CPP disability file so you know what has been submitted by your doctor.
Many people move and do not advise Service Canada and then letters and decisions get sent to old addresses leading to appeal deadlines getting missed. You need to stay on top of advising Service Canada with personal information. Keep in contact with DCAC if we are your representative. We need to know.
Please keep a copy of all your records and information that you sent to Service Canada, including your application.
• I would also ask your physician for a copy of their medical report.
• I would ask for records or any test results– or consultations that you have.
• I would keep a journal or calendar of information that pertains to your medical condition.
• I would keep records of any jobs you try or volunteering that you do.
• If you change doctors keep your medical records together. Keep business cards.
• I hope you get the message that keeping a thorough record is one of the most critical things that you can do.
Prior Preparation Prevents a Poor Performance.
So when you get a call from Service Canada be prepared enough so you can advocate for yourself and ensure you understand the playing field. It is helpful to understand the point behind the questions that you are asked.
Be smart! Ask for a call back if you are not prepared.
A big mistake is not knowing how CPP Disability decides whether or not you are disabled. If you understand the rules you are less likely to say something that is not helpful.
Many people do not understand that it is not your “label" that means you are disabled but rather your “functional limitations”. What you can or cannot do, how long you can do an activity for and how often you can do the activity is what is used to determine if you are disabled. A person may have a label or diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis but there are many people who continue to work with this medical condition. There are examples of functional limitations in the CPP disability application.
I believe waiting too long to get help is a mistake. With the long delay between application and getting the CPP decision and the percentage of denials that Service Canada makes, I think a competent representative is important than ever.
I have seen a lot of “rubber stamp” adjudications. Sorry to say that – but it is the truth. It is a big mistake not to ask for clarification, understand the playing field, and get a professional opinion on how to proceed in terms of an application or appeal.