As we all know, many businesses have had to make changes as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. In this article, I’ll be touching on what we've had to adjust to here at Resolute Legal.
(Spoiler alert: thankfully, not much has changed for us!)
For more of our COVID-19 resources, check out our page for COVID-19, Sick Leave, and Disability Benefits.
Changes at Resolute Legal
Although COVID-19 is changing the way businesses are operating across the globe, here at Resolute Legal it’s almost business as usual. Before all of this, our firm was already operating using an online legal services model that allowed us to provide our clients with around 90% virtual services. We already had a structure in place that allowed us to deliver our services entirely online. We communicated completely through phone, email, fax, and regular mail — we’ve never really done in-office consultations.
Our head office in Moncton as well as our Halifax office have been closed until further notice and those employees have been set up to work remotely from their homes. So if you’re calling with our support team, you may hear some furry animals in the background or traffic sounds from the street.
(Katie did a sneak-attack screen grab during one of our last video meetings.)
If you are still relying on mail communications with our team, there may be some delays. This is due in part to reduced hours and high volumes at the postal service, as well as us not being in the office daily — but don’t worry, someone still pops in a couple times a week to get the mail. We are still doing our best to have phone, email, and fax be our main method of communication.
CPP Disability Claims
The way our firm is handling applications for CPP disability is pretty much the same as always. After hiring our firm, you will have a call with your case manager to go through the information needed to fill out and submit the application. When that is complete, they will mail the application package to the appropriate Service Canada office.
However, if you’re submitting an application on your own, where in the past you had to physically mail in your application, you can now apply online using your My Service Canada account (MSCA).
Challenges may arise if you need your general practitioner to fill out the medical report form for your application and they can’t see you in office. It will be crucial to try and arrange with their office to have it filled out and submitted to Service Canada, as an application still will not be considered as complete until both parts are received.
Keep in mind also that once you get your application in, the processing times could be longer than usual now that there is reduced staff and higher application numbers for other programs such as EI or CERB.
If you are appealing your CPP disability denial to the Social Security Tribunal, instead of an in-person hearing, you will now have a hearing by teleconference. This is something that has been an option and we preferred to do at our firm in the past. We will still follow our regular procedure to have a pre-hearing prep call with you and then attend the hearing through teleconference with you, as your representation.
It is safe to assume that there may be delays in decision-making as I mentioned above as processing times may be longer than usual. We have noticed delays in contacting Service Canada offices already. Where before we could be connected to departments such as the Social Security Tribunal, now we are directed to leave a message immediately and wait for a call back at a later time.
Long-term Disability Applications and Appeals
Much like with CPP disability, the way our firm is handling long term disability applications is basically the same. You will have a phone call with your case manager to discuss the information in your claim and to go through anything needed for the application. Our team then prepares the documentation and submits it to your insurer on your behalf.
With long-term disability appeals, however, there have been some changes made. In the past we would have one of our lawyers travel to your area to attend any mediation, discoveries, or hearings in your city. Now we are arranging to attend through teleconference or video conferencing programs.
It is important to note that we have had some delays in contacting employers as well as medical providers for documents or medical support. Some insurance companies have been accepting service by email rather than sending a process server to serve lawsuits in person.
Other than the changes I’ve mentioned above, it should be business as usual with us here at Resolute Legal. We will be keeping you informed as changes occur; I am sure there will be more updates to come as everyone is figuring out how to go on in a post COVID-19 workplace.
If you have any questions specific to your own disability claim, please feel free to call us toll-free at 888-732-0470 or schedule a free consultation online to start a conversation with our disability support team.