In 2018, I attended a series of roundtable meetings with the Social Security Tribunal Leadership.
The SST leadership asked for input on a number of issues; one of them specifically was navigating the SST system if you were an unrepresented appellant.
The SST were aware of the needs of the clients who attended their appeals without any professional assistance. There are so many terms, words and procedures that can be difficult to understand. My collogues and I strongly advocated for a Social Security Tribunal Navigator for those clients who don’t have assistance.
An SST Navigator is an employee of the Social Security Tribunal and not Service Canada. As you may recall Service Canada are a party to your appeal.
The SST Navigator is a support person at the tribunal who is able to answer general questions about the hearing and help you prepare for your appeal. They are unable to provide you with legal advice and do not provide any written submissions on your behalf or attend the hearing with you. Navigators are only able to do so much. They can help you understand the appeal process but they cannot do the work that is needed to prepare for your appeal.
This is an extremely helpful and well needed service that is being offered by the SST. Many people are afraid to reach out for professional help for fear of costs, etc. Any help is good help in my opinion. If you feel like you need more help than a navigator can supply, you are then able to seek an alternative.
Also, SST Navigators cannot refer you to our company as we are a business. So, they may refer you to some community-based organizations or legal aid, but my thoughts are they may not be experienced as DCAC.
Overall, I am thrilled that this service is in place and I know the Navigators are committed to help as much as they can.
Next steps – give us a call if you need help deciding what to do. We are experienced and are committed, with our 20+ years of proven results.