Canada’s Pension Plans

Elderly woman shaking hand - understanding pension plans

The Canada Pension Plan Act was established in 1965 to ensure that all Canadians would be protected in their elder years, and allow them to have a high quality of life despite the loss of a regular income. All Canadians who have ever paid into the CPP is eligible for a regular monthly benefit after the age of 65, or earlier if they suffer from a disability which precludes their ability to hold employment – in theory. But in practice, many have been denied CPP coverage, often unfairly, and are forced to appeal. To understand the reasons why disability coverage may be denied, we first need to look at the language of the Canada Pension Plan Act. Section 42(2) states that you are eligible for disability coverage under the CPP only if your disability is both prolonged and severe enough to disallow regular employment. If the Minister decides that your disability does not fit both of these criteria, you can be denied access. Perhaps due to fears that disability coverage will be exploited, the majority of requests are initially denied, even when the requests are warranted.

If you intend to dispute this decision, it is vital that you submit your appeal as soon as possible, as deadlines are generally required to be met within thirty days. After the appeal is submitted, you have three options for how to proceed. In the first, a Request for Reconsideration, Service Canada will reexamine all of the medical evidence and may request a second opinion from a doctor of their choosing. Legal assistance can be extremely beneficial both in building a stronger case for your claim, and ensuring that all of the paperwork and submissions are taken care of promptly and professionally.

If your reconsideration request is unsuccessful, you may then want to make an appeal to the tribunal. With this appeal, your case will go before a three-person tribunal, consisting of a lawyer, a medical professional, and a member of the community. Again, the legal expertise and practical experience of a lawyer can ease you through the process and provide a better chance of a positive result.

Finally, your case may go for a second appeal to the Pension Appeals Board. This may be at your request if your first appeal was rejected, or at the request of Service Canada if you were successful. Service Canada’s interests will be represented by a lawyer and a medical professional, and if they win the appeal, you have no further recourse. However, with able legal help, our team can help you build your case and create a strong and compelling argument to present to the board.

If you have been denied coverage you feel you deserve, contact Mackesy Smye today for a free consultation.

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