Social Security Tribunal of Canada

Canada Pension Plan disability appeals: Process at a glance

You got your Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability decision from Service Canada, and you don’t agree with it. What now? This page provides an overview of the appeal process. Click on the links to get more detail on each step. 

STOP: Are you in the right place?

Do you want to apply for CPP disability benefits? 
Apply to Service Canada on the Canada Pension Plan disability benefits section of Canada.ca.

Do you agree that you owe money to CPP and you want a payment plan or want the amount reduced? 
If you agree that you owe money to CPP, such as an overpayment, but want a payment plan or want the amount reduced, the SST can’t help you. 

  • You can contact Service Canada to discuss repayment options. For example, you can request that the overpayment be collected over a longer period of time.
  • Sometimes Service Canada can remit (cancel) an overpayment. You should make your request in writing to the same Service Canada office that issued your CPP decision. 

Do you believe that Service Canada owes you money, or that you shouldn’t have to repay the money, because they gave you wrong advice or made an administrative mistake?
If you believe that Service Canada owes you money or that you shouldn’t have to repay the money because they gave you wrong advice or made an administrative mistake, the SST can’t help you.

  • You can contact Service Canada to ask them to pay you the money you would have received if the mistake had not been made, or you can ask them to remit (cancel) all or part of the overpayment. 
  • You should make your request in writing to the same Service Canada office that issued your CPP decision.

Is your complaint about the way you were treated by Service Canada? 
The SST hears appeals about Service Canada’s decisions. We can’t do anything with complaints about how Service Canada treats people. You can contact Service Canada’s Office for Client Satisfaction

Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability at a glance process

Appealing to the Social Security Tribunal (SST)

If you disagree with your reconsideration decision, you can appeal to the SST. We have 2 levels of appeal at the SST: the General Division (first level of appeal) and the Appeal Division (second level of appeal). 

You can get help with your appeal if you need it. 

General Division (first level of appeal): Appeal a reconsideration decision from Service Canada

If you disagree with Service Canada’s reconsideration decision, you can appeal to the General Division. The General Division is the first level in the SST’s appeal process.

How to appeal 

We must receive your appeal within 90 days after you receive the reconsideration decision.

Think about these things while preparing your appeal:

Fill out and send us the Notice of Appeal – Income Security – General Division form to start your appeal.

After you start your appeal

We send you a letter to tell you that we received your appeal.

We let ESDC know that you’re appealing.

We send all the documents to you, ESDC and any added parties.

We assign your appeal to a General Division member (decision-maker). 

You send us your supporting documents. Once you tell us that you’ve sent us everything, we move your appeal to the next step. The maximum amount of time we may give you to send us your documents is 20 months from when we receive your Notice of Appeal.

ESDC then has up to 3 months to send us their documents.

You then have 30 days to reply to what ESDC sent us.

In some cases, the member may decide to change this process. If this happens, we’ll let you know.

Preparing for your hearing

We’ll send you a Notice of Hearing with the date and time and the type of hearing (in person, over the phone, videoconferencing).

You can ask to change the date of your hearing.

Find out what a hearing is like: How formal, how long, who will be there, breaks, and more.

A hearing can also take place in writing. We’ll tell you if this is going to happen.

Learn more about how to prepare for your hearing.

Getting your decision

After your hearing, we’ll usually send you the decision in writing within 30 days.

If you have a representative, they’ll get it too.

Appeal Division (second level of appeal): Appeal a General Division decision

You can appeal to the Appeal Division if you disagree with the decision of the General Division. 

How to appeal

Make sure you understand your reasons for appealing. You’ll first need to get permission to appeal. You have to explain what the General Division got wrong or give new evidence the General Division didn’t have.

After you receive the General Division decision, you have 90 days to apply to the Appeal Division. Fill out and send us the Application to the Appeal Division – Income Security form to start your appeal.

After you start your appeal

We send you a letter telling you that we received your appeal.

We tell ESDC that you’re appealing and we send the documents to you, ESDC and any added parties.

We assign your appeal to an Appeal Division member (Appeal Division members are different from General Division members).

The member decides whether to give you permission to appeal.

  • If you aren't given permission to appeal, your appeal doesn’t go any further. 
  • If you’re given permission to appeal, the appeal will be heard as a new proceeding (you don’t need to prove the General Division made a mistake). In most cases, you'll have 75 days to send us new evidence and arguments. You’ll also have time to respond to the other party’s evidence and arguments.

In some cases, the member suggests alternative dispute resolution (this could be suggested earlier in the process too).

Preparing for your hearing 

We’ll send you a Notice of Hearing with the date and time and the type of hearing (in person, over the phone, videoconferencing). 

You can ask to change the date of your hearing.

Find out what a hearing is like: How formal, how long, who will be there, breaks, and more. 

A hearing can also take place in writing. We'll tell you if this is going to happen.

Learn more about how to prepare for your hearing

Getting your decision

You’ll usually get: 

  • your permission to appeal decision within 30 days after you applied
  • your final decision within 60 days after your hearing

If you disagree with the Appeal Division decision, you can ask a court for judicial review

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