I would like to speak to the Board, how do I do that?
The Board does have a policy in place for claimants who wish to speak to the Board in person. Although the Board welcomes presentations from claimants, there is a process to follow.
Policy: “All claimant requests to be heard by the Board must be received in writing outlining the nature of their request. The claimant will be scheduled on the agenda of the next Board meeting after their written request is received. The claimant will be notified in writing of the location of the meeting and the time they are to attend. Any costs associated with their attendance at a Board meeting is the claimant’s responsibility.”
When I re-apply, if I am approved why are benefits only paid back to my re-application date and not my initial application date?
The assessment from which you are eligible for benefits (when symptoms consistent with mercury contamination exceed the minimum point score of six) is what determines your eligible payment date.
For example: You initially applied for benefits on November 1, 2004 and your assessment outcome was denied. You then filed a re-application on April 1, 2009 from which your assessment outcome was approval of benefits in the amount of $300/month. You would only eligible to receive benefits from April 1, 2009 as that was the date the application was received which had a corresponding assessment that supported a benefit payment. The assessment corresponding to the November 1, 2004 application did not support a benefit payment.
Why does it take so long from my application until my neurological assessment?
The Board has one neurologist completing assessments at this time. Although the neurologist has agreed to complete assessments for the Board, he does have other obligations in his own practice. The length of time it takes for your assessment to occur depends on the number of initial applications and re-applications the Board receives and the availability of the neurologist.
Assessments are booked by the date the applications or re-applications are received and there may be other claimants who filed ahead of you who will have their assessments scheduled before you.
How come my hair and blood sample results, my results from my testing with Dr. Harada and my lifestyle (history of hunting, fishing or guiding), is not included in determining the outcome of my application? The Board is bound by legislation to use the examination tool as it exists. This protocol for the assessment of symptoms consistent with mercury poisoning was developed by a panel of experts at the inception of the Board and is based on neurological symptoms and the point score which corresponds to the severity of those symptoms.
How come some of my family members are eligible for benefits but I have been denied? The Board takes an individual approach to each and every application and appeal. Benefit eligibility is determined by each claimant’s individual assessment and corresponding point score.
It was noted on my outcome letter that I cannot re-apply again for two years, why is that? The physicians on the Board determined that two years is an appropriate amount of time to have passed for neurological symptoms to have changed to possibly warrant another neurological examination to determine benefit eligibility.
Why can I not attend the Board office to file applications?
The Board did have a store front office open which has since been closed. It was determined that there was not enough traffic in the office (as most communication was done by mail, phone or fax) to financially warrant the office to remain open. The service level of the Board office has not changed through the use of phone, fax or mail only communication.
I am receiving benefits by cheque and would like direct deposit is this possible?
Yes, you can receive your monthly benefits by direct deposit. A direct deposit form from your bank or void cheque (for the account to which you would like your benefits deposited) needs to be forwarded to the Board office to start the process for direct deposit.
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, 2021 the Mercury Disability Board has processed 1571 initial applications for benefits.