CPPD Denial planning to appeal

Hello everyone,

I have been suffering from back pain for over 10 years but after my last pregnancy (2.5 years ago) the pain was debilitating and upon further testing it was discovered that I have severe Degenerative Disc Disease at the age of 40 my lumbar discs have been obliterated (exact word used by the doctor) and the discs in my neck are deteriorating. I also was diagnosed with post partum depression and anxiety and now depression and anxiety disorder as a result of the chronic pain. I was denied CPPD because they found it did not meet the requirements for prolonged and severe, my question is when I appeal should I send in the reports from the chiropractor, massage therapist and physio therapist from the past 10 years showing that it has been an ongoing treatment? It has now gotten to the point I can no longer work.

Yes, send in everything.
Also document the hardships of your life in your “story”.
Include things you used to do but had to stop (eg. Sports, etc.).

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I also found it helpful if your doctor is willing to support your appeal, by writing a brief letter countering the specific wording that Service Canada used in the denial letter.

For example, if they said something like “there isn’t evidence that your condition will not improve in the foreseeable future”, your doctor can specifically write “the patient’s condition is degenerative and as such we do not expect that there will be improvement in the foreseeable future.” Providing more detail and countering their points of denial by using their own wording can sometimes make a difference. Best of luck!

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Add any new supportive medical documentation.
As @Nip says, use the specific wording in both your cover letter AND the request the doctor use the wording - along with ‘severe and prolonged’

Yes, with your type of condition, and especially with your young age, you want to show as much history as possible in terms of advancement of condition, treatment done and work tried.


David Brannen

Disability Lawyer with Resolute Legal

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This is exactly the approach I recommend as well. I call it doing a “reasons for denial matrix” and you can read about it and see examples in this blog article I wrote: https://www.resolutelegal.ca/blog/cpp-disability-reconsideration-appeal

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MarilynM brings up a good point here. I prefer for the doctors to not use the exact words “severe and prolonged” because those are legal terms and it will turn off some medical adjudicators and tribunal judges. They will roll their eyes and think the doctor is just trying to be an advocate. Also it can cause some doctors to get lazy and just say those words without giving the right reasons and explanation for their opinion.

However, I do know there are other lawyers and advocates who prefer to get this use of language form the doctors. I would rather they not say those words and instead give a description of the symptoms, treatment etc and explain why it prevents you from working on a regular basis. You want them to speak to the severe and prolonged aspects without saying that exact phrase – In my opinion.

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