Unfortunately, people on social assistance, especially single mothers sometimes face stereotypes and prejudice. While decision-makers are supposed to act with an open mind and treat people fairly sometimes they fail to do so. The Social Benefits Tribunal is required to record all appeal hearings so that if a person believes their appeal hearing was unfair, they can point to the recording to show how.
The Income Security Advocacy Centre and Community Advocacy and Legal Centre worked together to help a single mom who was denied disability benefits by ODSP and the Social Benefits Tribunal. At her appeal hearing the Tribunal Member suggested that she was trying to take advantage of taxpayers because she failed to take her medications. We argued that the Tribunal Member’s comments showed bias towards the person and the outcome of her case. Because of his belief the Tribunal Member ignored the fact that she had memory and concentration problems, stemming from her disability, which led her to sometimes forget to take her pills.
After starting an appeal at the Divisional Court the Social Benefits Tribunal said they could not provide a hearing recording or notes in this case as they are required to do. Since the person could not properly appeal the unfairness of her hearing without this information the clinics and ODSP agreed to ask the Court to order a fresh hearing, which it did.
To read the Notice of Appeal see here: Notice Of Appeal Bias...