Financial hardship was not relevant to question of whether there was disability

Pensions - Federal and Provincial Pension Plans - Federal pension plans

General Division of Social Security Tribunal (SST) denied claimant’s application for disability benefits under Canada Pension Plan (CPP) because she had been working in substantially gainful occupation. Appeal Division of SST denied leave to appeal on basis that grounds did not have reasonable chance of success. Claimant brought application for judicial review. Application dismissed. Appeal Division did not err in finding that grounds of appeal had no reasonable chance of success. Claimant’s disagreement with decision did not mean there was error of law or factual finding made in perverse or capricious manner. Length of time it took SST to decide application for disability benefits was troubling but delays did not affect claimant’s ability to pursue matter or impact main issue. There was no objective evidence of bias, conflict of interest or basis for feeling bullied. Legal test for arguable case for granting extension of time was different from test on application for leave to appeal. Financial hardship was not relevant to question of whether there was disability. Fact that claimant received disability tax credit was not relevant as it may not use same criteria as for CPP disability benefits. It was not role of court to reweigh evidence regarding whether General Division erred in considering gross income rather than net income. Fact that General Division concentrated on “severe” part of test did not mean that it erred in not considering “prolonged” portion of test. Fact that Appeal Division did not consider possible breach of privacy order was not reviewable error as it had nothing to do with entitlement to CPP disability benefits.

Berger v. Canada (Attorney General) (2019), 2019 CarswellNat 2364, 2019 CarswellNat 3424, 2019 FC 780, 2019 CF 780, Anne L. Mactavish J. (F.C.).

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