Going to Your Hearing at the Social Benefits Tribunal (ODSP: Disability)


Hello if you are watching this video then you have appealed a decision about your ODSP. You have also been getting some help from the legal clinic. This video will guide you through the process so you’ll know what to expect and how to prepare. You should also read the guide “Getting Ready Your Social Benefits Tribunal Hearing.” The guide is on the
clinic website at www.hamiltonjustice.ca or you can ask or paper copy from the
legal clinic. This is Jody Hamilton. She has applied for ODSP but has been
denied. We will follow Jody as she goes through her appeal, You will be mailed a
notice of hearing from the Social Benefits Tribunal. You are called the
appellant. It says the Social Benefits Tribunal will conduct will conduct a hearing on your appeal.
These words are very formal so it may make you feel nervous. This is normal The good news is that the Social
Benefits Tribunal or SBT is not a court. It is a meeting in a small private room
where you have a chance to tell your story Think of it as going to a new doctor to
tell them about your health. You are the u best person to explain how you feel day to day. Your meeting with the SBT will
take place about 10 months after your appeal. While you are waiting think about
what new information might help your case. It is important to gather your
medical records. There are deadlines to send in new information. Medical
documents must be sent in at least 30 days before your hearing date. If the legal
clinic is helping you, you need to get new documents to the clinic as soon as
possible. Contact the clinic if you missed the
deadline. Read the Getting Ready for Your Hearing Guide. It will help you prepare and feel more confident. When it is time for
your hearing bring your copy of the file with you to the meeting. If It will help you be more at ease
bring a friend, family member or community support worker with you. That
person will not participate in the meeting but they can sit with you to
give you support. Jody has decided to bring her sister to helped her stay relaxed. If a friend or someone in your family helps
you out a lot because of your health, you can bring them as a witness. Your notice
of hearing will tell you if you have an in-person meeting or a video
conference meeting. It will give you the address of where you need to be and the
time. It could be an office building or a hotel. So be sure to go to the right
place. Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the
time on your notice. Think about how long it will take you to get to the meeting
room so you can be on time. Sometimes you will have to wait one or two hours in
the waiting room. Wear comfortable clothes. If you have a
video hearing, check in at reception. They will show you to the room. If it is
an in-person meeting take a seat when you arrive. When they are ready to start
someone will show you into a private room. This is what the room is like for an in-person hearing. The person who will listen to your story and make a decision is called
the SBT member. The member sits at the head of the table and is in charge of
the hearing. He will ask you questions to better understand your conditions. The
member will tell you where to sit. If you have brought a witness, they’ll have to
wait outside until it is their time to answer questions. If you have asked for
an interpreter they will sit with you. There may also be a person who works for
ODSP. They are called the case presenting officer or CPO. Their job is to defend
the decision that was made. They will ask you questions and make a statement at
the end of the hearing. Remember to be respectful and polite to everyone at all
times. The hearing will be recorded. This is what a video conference during looks
like. The member will be on the TV screen. You will sit facing the screen. A video
camera and microphone will make sure that you are seen and heard by the
member. The member will explain the process for
the hearing. Normally you get to go first. You’ll be
asked to affirm that you will tell the truth. Telling your story is about
explaining how your medical conditions make you feel. You will need to talk
about the medical conditions that your doctor has written in your health status
report. The SBT Member’s job is to decide whether the decision to deny you ODSP was correct AT the time it was made. That is why you must talk about the medical
conditions at the date of the director’s decision. That is the date on the first
letter you received denying your application. Your doctor may also have
filled out a form that looks like this. If your doctor has not mentioned the
condition on either of these two forms, you will not be allowed to talk about it. You have the option of talking about
your case before questions are asked. You can do so if you feel comfortable. If you do
it is helpful to talk about the problems you have with day-to-day activities.
These can include dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking a bus
or driving, sitting, standing, walking, using stairs, bending, sleeping, working,
hobbies, sports, and being with other people. If you have pain tried to
describe it on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the worst. Say how often you
have pain and what it feels like. You can also talk about treatments like
medication, therapy or surgery and whether they help. What are your good
days like compared to your bad days? You have to answer questions during the
hearing, sometimes many questions. The member will likely start and later the
case presenting officer will ask questions. Always tell the truth even if
you think it might hurt you. This is because it is very important
that the member believes what you are saying. You also want your answers to be
consistent with what you have said before in your application and to
doctors. When answering questions be brief and clear. Take your time if you
do not understand a question. You may ask the person to repeat or rephrase the
questions if you don’t understand. The most important thing is that you
actually answer the question you are being asked. Even if you don’t like the
question, be honest and stay calm. Some hearings last over an hour but many do not. The Member will end the meeting. A decision will not be made that day. You
should receive a decision in the mail within 60 days. We would like to hear
from you when you receive your decision letter. We can explain what will happen
next. Your appeal will depend mostly on medical reports.
The hearing is your chance to explain how you feel. Do not put too much pressure on yourself. You are the best person to tell your story.

1 Response

  1. ALifeLearned says:

    I wish more legal aid offices provided this much information for the Tribunal Hearings!!
    I was thankful to get help from legal aid for my application, but I had no idea what to expect and felt heavily emotionally stressed by the people in the hearing – so it would have been nice to have been shown this before hand!

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