If an eligible claimant has never applied for benefits before, a three page application form is required to be completed and submitted. Application forms are available at the band offices and health clinics in Wabaseemoong or Grassy Narrows or by contacting the Mercury Disability Board office. Page one is the Claimant Statement and is to be signed by the claimant, page two is the Band Council Statement – this verifies the claimant’s band membership and is to be signed by the Chief of the affiliated first nation, page three is the affidavit and is to be signed by the claimant and also signed by a witness to the claimant’s signature. The completed and signed application form needs to then be submitted to the Mercury Disability Board office.
These forms are then processed at the Board office to begin the claims process with the administrator, The Canada Life Assurance Company (formerly Great West Life Assurance Company). The claimant is then put on a waiting list for a neurological assessment. The claimant will be notified in writing of the date, time and location of this assessment appointment. The completed assessment forms are then scored and forwarded to the administrator. Canada Life then reviews that assessment and point score recommendation and determines the claimant’s eligibility for benefits. The claimant will be notified in writing of the outcome of their assessment.
If the claimant’s claim is approved, their monthly benefit amount is sent to them by cheque or direct deposit.
If the claimant’s claim is denied, the information, including the reason for the denial is sent to the claimant with a copy to the Board.
If a claimant would like to re-apply, re-application forms are available at the band offices and health clinics in the Wabaseemoong or Grassy Narrows or by contacting the Mercury Disability Board office. To file a re-application, the claimant needs to complete and sign the re-application form and submit it to the Board office.
The Board will then assess the re-application including information contained on the re-application form and, if acceptable, the claimant will be put on a wait list for a subsequent neurological assessment.
If the claimant’s re-application is approved, the monthly benefit amount is sent to them by cheque or direct deposit.
If the claimant’s re-application is denied, the Board will notify the claimant in writing including the reason for the denial.
Claimants may re-apply after a waiting period of two years. In cases where there is medical evidence, the waiting period may be reduced.
The process for the initial application and re-application is the same for children with the exception that the legal guardian of the child must sign on the child’s behalf as they are a minor. The name of the person signing on behalf of the child must be printed legibly on the form with a notation of the relationship to the child.
As children are minors, approved benefit payments from the Mercury Disability Fund (from either the initial application or re-application) cannot be paid directly to the child or to their parent or legal guardian. A trust fund must be established for each child approved for payment because of their minor status. A parent or legal guardian can apply to have funds released from the trust fund set up for the child.
For children living on reserve in Ontario, payments are directed to Indigenous Services Canada in trust for the child.
For children living off reserve in Ontario, payments are directed to the Office of the Children’s Lawyer in trust for the child.
For children living off reserve in other province, arrangements are made with the equivalent of the Children’s Lawyer in that province.
Should a parent or guardian chose, they may apply to have a private trustee (other than those mentioned above). All expenses in doing so are at the cost of the applicant.
Eligibility to Apply for Benefits
For a person to be eligible to apply for benefits (per legislation), that person must be a current member of Grassy Narrows First Nation or Wabaseemoong Independent Nations; a past member of one of the two bands; or a registered Indian who was customarily resident on one the two first nation communities prior to the first day of October 1985
Did You Know…
that since inception to March 31, 2020 the Mercury Disability Board has processed 1489 initial applications for benefits.