Canadians pay into the Canadian Pension Plan throughout their working lives. This allows them a disability pension from their participation in this Plan, in the event they become unable to work at all.
CPP appeals are appeals from decisions which do not recognize that the applicant is disabled. In meeting the challenge to prove that a person cannot work, we evaluate medical evidence from the law’s perspective, as well as prepare to contradict prejudicial evidence to meet the standard for claim acceptance. We have handled CPP appeals at the Office of the Commissioner of Review Tribunals, as well as further appeals to the Pension Appeals Board. These files have sensitized us to the needs of the applicants who are in this appeal process.
CPP appeals are not what is traditionally considered an appeal, since they involve a process of hearing where the evidence is freshly considered. Generally, an appeal in law means addressing points of law in an earlier hearing that were errors to be examined in the appeal. Many tribunal appeals such as CPP appeals have what are called de novo hearings, meaning a new hearing of the evidence. This amounts to a fresh opportunity to prove the case through evidence. Updated medical condition and its proof through testimony is a significant component of such appeals.
CPP disability appeals involve showing that disability is severe and prolonged. These appeals pose challenges arising from the government’s position that the claimant is not entitled to benefits. A common assumption made by the government is that the claimant can work part time and is not totally disabled. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to show how the claimant cannot realistically work within the limited range of ability, and that the disability is total under the law. This requires careful legal analysis and understanding how the evidence should be presented.