So you’ve been denied CPP disability. Maybe you wanted to appeal the decision, but you weren’t aware there was a deadline — maybe you did know about the deadline, but missed it for legitimate reasons.
In this article, as part of our Ultimate Guide to CPP Disability Benefits, I explain how to request an extension of time to appeal a CPP disability decision, and the deadlines and rules you must be aware of to do so.
What are the deadlines to appeal a CPP decision?
This is one area where Service Canada has kept it simple. You have 90 calendar days to appeal any decision about your CPP disability claim. There are three potential deadlines, depending on where you are at in the process:
- Deadline to file reconsideration appeal: 90 days from the day you received your initial claim decision letter from Service Canada
- Deadline to file the notice of appeal to the Social Security Tribunal – General Division: 90 days from the date you received your reconsideration decision letter from Service Canada
- Deadline to file the Notice for leave for appeal to the Social Security Tribunal – Appeals Division: 90 days from the date you received the decision from the Tribunal – General Division.
It is important to note that you have 90 “calendar” days and not “clear” days. With the calendar days counting method, both the start and end date are included in the counting.
So, with that in mind, the date you receive the letter would be DAY 1 and DAY 90 would be the deadline. If DAY 90 would fall on a holiday, then your deadline would be the next business day after that.
Want to read more about filing a reconsideration appeal? Check out our article: How to do a CPP Disability Reconsideration Appeal [Guide + Sample Letter]
Requesting an extension of time to appeal
So you’ve missed your 90-day deadline to request your reconsideration appeal or to file your notice of appeal to the Social Security Tribunal. When this happens, Service Canada or the Tribunal will send you a letter advising that it cannot consider your appeal because it’s late. The letter will look something like this:
As you can see in the letter, they invite you to make a request for an extension of time to file the notice of appeal. Having done several successful requests for extensions of time, I can give you an overview of how to do it.
The process for requesting an extension of time is basically the same whether you missed the 90-day deadline to request a reconsideration appeal or to request a notice of appeal to the Tribunal.
Depending on which stage of appeal you’re at, you will be dealing with one of the following forms:
Each of these forms has a section where you will indicate if you are submitting it past the deadline. You simply have to fill out that section with details as to why you missed the 90-day deadline and attach any documents or proof that will validate your claim.
As you can see, the forms have a brief list of what you must include in this section. This list is derived from the 4 criteria that must be met in order to grant an extension. I will explain these in more detail.
Criteria to grant an extension
Service Canada and the Tribunal have limited authority to grant extensions; this is set out in laws and regulations governing CPP disability. The overriding rule is that extensions should be granted when it’s in the interest of justice to do so.
The Federal Court has discussed the rules for time extensions and created a list of 4 criteria that must be considered before granting an extension. These criteria are:
- A continuing intention to pursue the appeal
- There is a reasonable explanation for the delay
- The matter discloses an arguable case
- There is no prejudice to Service Canada in allowing the extension
A continuing intention to pursue the appeal
You have to show that you intended to appeal and weren’t giving up your rights. You have to show you intended to file the reconsideration within the 90-day deadline and that you kept that intention following the expiry of the deadline.
This factor is closely related to your reasons for the delay. The better you show that you were taking steps to appeal and preparing the appeal, the more likely you can prove you had a continuing intention to pursue the appeal.
There is a reasonable explanation for the delay
This part is linked closely with the continuing intention to appeal. Whether the factors that caused your delay were “reasonable” will depend on the specific facts and context of your situation. To have a reasonable excuse, there must be some exceptional or extenuating circumstances.
For example, exceptional circumstances could be that your medical condition prevented you from acting in a timely manner. For extenuating circumstances, you need to show the delay was caused by unexpected situational factors that were beyond your control. You need to provide proof of extenuating or exceptional circumstances — this could include medical records, phone records, photos, or other paperwork that will back up what you are saying.
The matter discloses an arguable case
This is just a fancy way of saying that your appeal has a chance of success. Sometimes appeals don’t have a chance of success if the application was denied based on ineligibility. This can happen in cases when the applicant didn’t contribute sufficiently into CPP; has been receiving CPP retirement benefits for more than 15 months; or applied after age 65.
If the main issue is whether your medical condition causes disability, then you are likely to show that you have a chance of success. This is because in this case, the final decision whether you meet Service Canada’s criteria for disability depends on a reading of all the evidence and your testimony.
There is no prejudice to Service Canada in allowing the extension
In this context, prejudice means that the delay will make it harder than normal for Service Canada to defend against your claim. In other words, the delay has created a situation of unfairness to Service Canada so that it would be unjust to allow your appeal to go forward.
It is hard for Service Canada to show that an extension would result in unreasonable unfairness to them. The only situations where this could happen is if somehow key evidence is no longer available because of the delay — records being destroyed in a fire during the delay period or a key witness passing away, for example.
If there is any sense that you used the delay to game the system to your advantage, then your extension application will be denied on grounds of prejudice to Service Canada.
If you have any questions or need help with requesting an extension of time to appeal your CPP disability denial, you can call us toll-free at 888-732-0470 or request a free consultation. We strive to book our consultations within 2-3 business days of receiving the request, so this is a good option if you’re tight on time.