The disability process should not exclude victims who are too severely disabled to complete the forms

My situation: I have dual US/Canadian citizenship, from birth. I had spent 25 years of my life as an unpaid, volunteer rescuer, at more than 100 major disasters throughout the world. The World Trade Center was the 892nd collapsed building that I had crawled into, to rescue victims. I was flown to NYC in a private jet, with a USAF fighter jet escort authorized by a US Congresswoman and a US Air Force General.

I became severely injured, in many ways, at the World Trade Center. The subterranean area was still on fire when I crawled for 1 1/2 miles each way. I became poisoned, via my eyes, lungs, sinus and skin. The Laboratory Tests: The list of toxins found in my body at levels up to 5,000 x the max safe level is 35 pages long. This included 32 neural toxins at astronomical levels;e.g., lead: I had enough lead for 510 ( five hundred and ten) people to be legally certified as lead poisoned, in NYC.

At one point I had 47 simultaneous medical problems. Initially, I had many types of brain damage: I could not speak; I was blind; without warning, I would pass out unconscious; I had ‘black outs’, ‘whiteouts’ and ‘grey outs’. I have toxic glaucoma and 4 other brain-eye injuries, many kinds of ‘attacks’ and immunological system disorders, cerebral edema etc etc.etc. Now, I have been diagnosed with severe Central and Peripheral Neural Damage. Now, I have 30 simultaneous medical problems. The latest prognosis is that I have severe, systemic Peripheral Neuropathy. I am becoming paralyzed. The Doctors tell me they can do nothing to prevent this paralysis.

Over the years, I have gone to Service Canada 4 times to get Disability Benefits. You cannot imagine how intensely I struggled to remember dates that I worked, where I worked etc…to fill out the applications. Service Canada told me that it would be " a conflict of interest to help me". I struggled and exhausted myself to the point that I felt that I would die if I didn’t stop and focus on dealing with my health problems. Four different times, I worked to the point of ‘near death’ trying to get the forms completed. I felt that I would die, if I didn’t stop and recover. I never did get the forms completed. I was physically incapable of getting to the destroyed part of my mind where those memories were located.

Now, there are still ‘years of my life that I do not remember’. I am still very sick (last night was a battle). I got out of bed today at 1 pm. Foul tasting gases burped from my stomach, I was hot and feverish, My stomach was churning, diarrhea and twisting and turning all night with pain. Today, my entire body is full of pain. There is a constant, dull pain throughout my body with flashes of sharp pain (like a spear piercing my body) popping up all over. joining in the mix are really sore, sickening pain in my wrists, elbows, knees, and joints. It all blends together with a constant headache, sick to my stomach feeling with a tight chest.

. I have more than 4,000 medical documents from more than 90 Medical Specialists and Physicians; including, documents and a judicial determination that I am and have been permanently disabled; since, Sept 2001.

I have started my pension (with a great deal of help, completing the application forms over many months). Can I get any or all of the 15 years of disability payments that I was due and was too ill to complete the forms? I have no income other than my pension and I had $0.00 income; since, September 27, 2001 when I was first hospitalized and on ‘life support’. The Help to victims of the World Trade Center is more ‘political’ than ‘realistic’. It has been a huge and sad waste of time.

My brain has recovered a lot but my life still is full of incomprehensible suffering. I am trying to use the time that I have left; before becoming, completely paralyzed to save lives and train rescuers. I want to do more good, wih my life.

I feel that Service Canada should have helped me and/or the application for disability process should not exclude victims who are too severely disabled to complete the forms.

What can I do? Can I recover the monies that were owed to me?

Doug Copp

I was physically or mentally unable to apply

If you were physically or mentally incapable of forming or expressing the intent to make an application for CPP disability benefits, and you were also incapable of asking someone else to apply on your behalf, you should request the incapacity provision. You must apply within a year after you regained your capacity. Contact Canada Pension Plan for more information.

I am sorry for your struggle. I am not a lawyer. From the above I think you would have minimal chance. When did you last contribute to CPP or do paid work in Canada?

I just found your blog from 2013. My heart goes out to you. Service Canada would also see the blog and that you applied for other benefits back in 2013. You could always try but I think you’d be spinning wheels and getting no where.

Thanks for your thoughts. We will see. I just got my pension 5 months ago. It took me a year with help to apply.

Sorry to hear about your struggle.

Your case sounds very complicated. Though most of us here are just on LTD and CPP-D I hope there is someone on this forum who can give you any relevant advice.

I don’t know where you are located but you can find free legal clinics in most cities where lawyers volunteer to help people like yourself.

Hi Lori:

Thanks for your interest. Answer: I still have not recovered my memory, to know the dates, times and places that I worked. We were able to recover this information via a year long investigation; however, I still do not personally have any memories.

Yes it is so frustrating. I should have been on AISH like 7 years ago when I became disabled needed a transplant & started my many many surgeries. I was just recently approved But among my issues I have PTSD so those forms that want me to detail every detail of the most traumatic moments in my life are extremely intimidating. Several times when I tried to complete it I had completed breakdowns, got sick(I am immunosuppressed so I catch everything and a flu easily turns to pneumonia I can’t fight & can die from a cold) & stress makes that worse. But I’m supposed to go out & find info a lot of which I can’t remember despite you know being disabled, can no longer drive or afford to and public transit is insufficient, actually causes me pain uses so much energy and is really hard in sub-zero temperatures.

I completed it once before but was denied but despite my constant pain & having no abdominal wall at all I didn’t know how to word it properly so they somehow thought a future surgery to put mesh to get my intestines back in body(I waited 2 more years for & it failed leaving my abdomen open on a wound vac for months in worse pain & more disabled)would magically fix everything & I could work again.
It didn’t
Finally after a stay in the hospital last summer & the help of a social worker & team of doctors who filled out most of it for me I managed to submit & was just approved.

Then I find out they say I have to apply for CPP disability & answer all this stuff I can’t remember. Ending in me signing saying it is all totally accurate or I will be fined or prosecuted. I don’t have a copy of my Aish application that was submitted so I’m scared of accidentally answering differently than what was said on that form or messing up dates from years ago or what doctor to say and getting screwed, cut off, charged or called a liar. It is overwhelming & anxiety inducing to say the least. Especially when they have access to Netcare medical records or employment history they could just look up but that is hard for us to get access to especially when you are disabled which often comes with memory issues, bad organization skills multiple moves so things get lost… And on & on
I feel your pain.

I agree that it can be a barrier for some people.

Try not to worry about your CPP-D application.