On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
November 2023
Less time to send appeal information to the Social Security Tribunal
The General Division of the Social Security Tribunal (SST) now has shorter deadlines to send in arguments and evidence for the following types of appeals:
  • Canada Pension Plan disability benefits (CPP disability benefits)
  • Canadian Pension Plan (CPP)
  • Old Age Security (OAS)
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS)
The SST also hears appeals about Employment Insurance (EI). But those deadlines have not changed.
The appeal process
People appeal to the SST's General Division when they:
  • disagree with Service Canada's decision about their:
    • CPP disability benefits
    • other CPP benefits
    • OAS
    • GIS
  • asked Service Canada for a reconsideration, and
  • disagree with the reconsideration decision.
A reconsideration is when someone asks Service Canada to review a decision about their benefits. Read more in:
Filling out a Notice of Appeal
To start an appeal at the SST's General Division, the person needs to fill out a Notice of Appeal. They must send this in within 90 days of getting Service Canada's reconsideration decision.
In the Notice of Appeal, the person must explain why they disagree with Service Canada's reconsideration. And why they think they should get a certain benefit. These are called arguments.
The person should also send in any evidence they have to support their arguments. Evidence is used to prove that something is true or false. It can come in many forms. For example, evidence can be a medical report from a doctor or information from a witness.
Deadlines for arguments and evidence
People can send in evidence and more arguments after they send in their Notice of Appeal.
The SST sends them a letter at the beginning of the appeal process to tell them how long they have to send everything in.
These deadlines have changed significantly. People now have much less time to send in their arguments and evidence.
This table shows the new and old deadlines for different types of appeals:
Type of appeal New deadline Old deadline
CPP disability benefit 8 months 20 months
Other CPP benefits, OAS, and GIS 3 months 20 months
The SST can make these deadlines shorter or longer depending on the appeal.
If the person knows they'll need more time to get some evidence, like a doctor's report, they can ask for a longer deadline. They do this by emailing, writing, or calling the SST. The longest deadline the SST gives is 20 months.
Once a person sends in all their information, they can tell the SST that they're ready to move to the next step. They do not have to wait for the deadline to pass.
If a person sends in evidence after the deadline, the SST member decides whether to accept it or not. They might not accept the late evidence if they think it would be unfair to another person involved in the appeal.
The government's deadline
Once the person has sent everything in, the government department that made the decision gets to respond. They'll try to show that they made the right decision. The deadlines for the government department to send their arguments and documents are:
  • 3 months for CPP disability benefit appeals (not changed)
  • 2 months for CPP, OAS, and GIS appeals (changed from 3 months)
Then the person appealing has 30 days to send the SST new arguments or documents in response to what the government sent. This is called a reply.
Getting help with SST appeals
If a person does not have a lawyer or legal representative, the SST assigns them a navigator. This is someone who helps them through the appeal process.
A navigator cannot give legal advice or speak at the hearing. But they can answer questions about the process and help the person prepare for the hearing.
A community legal clinic may also be able to help or make a referral to someone who can.
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Related resources
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Social Security Tribunal of Canada
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