Posted May 13, 2010
By Geraldine McDougall & John McDougall
According to the Service Canada website there are three requirements to be met to be eligible for the Canadian Pension Plan Disability plan. First, you must be under 65 years of age. Second, you had to have stopped work because of medical conditions and third, you had to have paid into CPP for at least
25 years and made valid contributions to the plan in three of the last six years.
Isn’t it wonderful that we Canadians are so well provided for that if medically unable to work we don’t have to worry about not having an income? It really
makes paying all these taxes worthwhile. It’s like paying on an insurance policy. The website further states that at least 75 per cent of applications are decided within four months. Perfect! By the time your sick benefits from Employment Insurance run out your Canada Disability Pension should kick in.
Even though you are medically unfit, life is still manageable. We have come to learn not to believe everything you read even if it comes from the Canadian government.
Three years ago my husband was sitting in line behind a stopped school bus when he was hit from behind. The doctors at the time told him his back was badly bruised but otherwise fine. Since then his medical health has gone downhill.
He started experiencing terrible back pain as well as pain in most of his body. After numerous doctor and specialist visits he has been told that he has osteoarthritis in his back and also has developed fibromyalgia from which he can’t escape the pain. He has sleep apnea worse than his specialist has ever
seen and they fear that he could die in his sleep. He has high blood pressure and has suffered two slight heart attacks.
CPP and Ontario Disability Support Plan have both denied him a pension. When his sick benefits ran out we survived on my income. Last January because of poor circulation and open ulcers on my legs my doctor put me off work. He says I will never return to my job. We both filed for ODSP at this time. We survived
on my short-term disability followed by sick benefits from EI. We were both denied from ODSP. We were forced to go to welfare. Through them we were allotted $939 per month if we signed an agreement to pay back the money when and if we received a disability pension. Our rent is $785 plus hydro.
Thank God for our wonderful, compassionate superintendent, Diane Gault and her amazing boss or we would be living in a dump if not a dumpster. We have a large outstanding amount of rent and knowing our circumstances they are being very patient.
We have a van which we almost lost a couple of times. We have paid on it for four years with only one more to go and we couldn’t stand to lose it or have to live in it. We have borrowed money from everyone we know to get us this far and have promised repayments and payments in the event of this ever-evasive
settlement from our disability pension.
My husband finally got a hearing to appeal their decision from CPP in February. We went there with the hope of finally getting relief. My husband happened to know one of the board members so the hearing had to be cancelled with the promise of a speedy rebooking. Three weeks later my husband called the CPP
office and they had not even been notified that he needed a new hearing. I realize that they are busy and many people are applicants for disability and all are not truly disabled. I feel we have been very patient but life is getting desperate .
I worked for 13 years at what I considered the best job in the world and loved being there. I was devastated by the fact that I couldn’t return and now the government tells me that I haven’t proven to be eligible for a disability pension.
Do they know what it’s like not to be able to play with their grandchildren because of physical disabilities and then become so financially disabled that you can’t afford to keep little treats in the cupboard that they are used to having? Do they know how it is not to be able to invite friends for a meal because it will leave you short for the week? Do they know how humiliating it is to stand in line for a turkey so you can have your children come for Christmas dinner? Do they know what it’s like to feel so beaten that some days it’s easier just to stay in bed or to listen to your spouse break down in sobs because he feels too useless to go on?
I am 48 and my husband is 45. We both worked all our lives and made pretty good incomes and paid into CPP. There is no doubt we satisfy the requirements but they make us suffer. Our kids are grown and gone. These are the days we thought we would enjoy with grandkids and friends and looking forward to retirement.
We don’t expect the government to give us our regular income but I didn’t expect to live in fear of losing our vehicle, our home and our minds.
According to the website, our wonderful government will provide for us when we are ill or old but when in need, how low do we have to go to attain this supposed earned provision?
Geraldine & John McDougall
Smiths Falls, Ontario