Halifax Long-Term Disability Lawyers
Disability insurance exists as a safety net for the worst-case scenario. It’s meant to provide you with financial security in the short term, while you recover from injury, and to provide long-term benefits should you remain disabled.
If all people with a valid disability claim were receiving benefits owed to them, there would be no need for plaintiff disability lawyers. As you may suspect, our long-term disability lawyers assist clients on a consistent basis because this scenario represents the grim nature of reality for so many injury victims. If your disability claim has been denied, or your LTD insurer is aggressively fighting your claim, it can be easy to feel like the best course of action is giving up. As experienced, dedicated disability lawyers, we fight insurance companies so that injured persons receive the benefits and compensation they are entitled to.
Disability insurance policies take many shapes and sizes, but the core feature of most policies considers the extent of your disability. Short-term disability benefits may exist through a group plan through your employer, or via a private plan. These short-term policies are meant to provide moderate financial support while you recover. These policies will usually not act as a complete income replacement, but may cover some lost wages.
Long-term disability, or LTD, insurance generally starts after your short-term disability period has expired.
For more information, please see our free and downloadable Disability Benefits Book.
Additionally, NOVA Injury also has offices and handles LTD cases in:
Do I Need a Long-Term Disability Lawyer?
All types of injury law can seem overly complex and difficult to navigate, especially all alone. The vast majority of our work starts because of two events that occur all too often:
- The injured person’s application for LTD benefits is rejected by the insurance company
- The injured person’s existing LTD benefits are cut-off, after having been approved
Has your application for disability benefits been denied?
Disability claims are complex. Insurance policy wording is purposefully complicated to make it almost impossible for people without a background in disability law to understand. Further, requirements for even accessing disability benefits are lengthy and difficult to complete accurately. And sometimes, a disability application can be rejected simply because an insufficient amount of medical information was provided during filing. In yet other cases, the application form was incomplete or completed incorrectly. An insurer can – and will – use any of the rationales mentioned above to deny an injured person’s benefits claim.
Have your LTD benefits been cut off due to a ‘change of definition’?
An injured person can lose their disability benefits at what’s called a ‘change of definition’ date. Many LTD insurance policies have a definition change clause within the terms of the policy which allows the insurer to end monthly benefit payments to an injured person if the insurance company feels their disability is not severe enough to continue receiving them.
This happens when the definition of benefits changes from an ‘own-occupation’ standard to an ‘any-occupation’ standard. In short, where an insurer would usually state that you are incapable of completing your specific job, they will switch the requirement to any job. In their view, if there is a job that you are reasonably able and qualified to do – whether or not it is available or even tolerable to you – they can terminate your long-term disability benefits.
LTD benefit cut-offs are often unfair. Decisions are generally made by medical consultants working for the insurance company, and they’re usually made with the bottom line in mind, not the patient. Appeals are possible, but the review will be done by the insurance company, which will fight for as long as it can to avoid a payout.
Our work begins with an assessment of your medical files. Following a detailed review of your health and the insurance policy, we develop a strategy to demonstrate your level of disability to the insurer. A properly developed claim will result in one of three main possibilities:
- Your health has improved such that you are able to work.
- Your benefits are reactivated – you return to being “on claim.”
- You receive a lump-sum settlement payment in exchange for giving up your policy.
Enforcing your contractual benefits is often challenging, time-consuming, and discouraging. We help take this burden from our clients through our management of your claim. We are committed to fighting for your health and recovery so that you may focus on what matters most.
We encourage you to speak to us about your disability benefits claim if you have been denied benefits or if you have had your benefits suspended. We will review the policy with you and provide our opinion on your likelihood of success. The free consultation we offer is obligation-free. We look forward to your call.
What is Long-Term Disability?
Long-term disability insurance benefits generally begin when the following benefits meant to help workers with a short-term problem end:
- short-term disability insurance
- sick leave benefits from your employer
- Employment insurance (EI) benefits
When an injury or condition goes from being a short-term experience to a chronic or life-long issue, long-term disability benefits are meant to stand in, so that the victim can still support themselves while they are injured. Most injuries sustained while performing your job, especially if performed correctly, generally qualify for workman’s compensation or disability coverage. If you have been injured at work leading to a chronic condition that makes it difficult to perform your job duties, it is important to seek medical care and document it well. Medical documentation goes a long way in building a solid personal injury case.
Most long-term disability plans will replace 60% to 70% of your normal income. Each disability plan is different. Some may provide disability benefits for up to two years if you’re unable to return to the job you had before becoming disabled. After two years, you may continue to receive benefits only if you’re unable to work at any job. If you’re facing pushback from an insurance company regarding your condition or long-term disability coverage, it is recommended that you speak with a disability lawyer regarding your claim.
For more information, please see:
- What is the Definition of a Disability?
- What Qualifies as a Long-Term Disability?
- Must-Know Long-Term Disability Terms
Am I Still Employed if I’m Collecting Disability Benefits?
You are employed as long as your employer does not formally terminate your employment. It is important to remember that, aside from some exceptions, employers can terminate an employee whenever they want, as long as the termination is not for a discriminatory purpose. Any time your employment is unfairly terminated due to special protected status or disability, you should speak with a knowledgeable long-term disability lawyer to help you fight for fair compensation.
Usually, employers will not immediately terminate an employee who is on long-term disability. While they have the right to do so, it can be difficult for them to prove that the termination is not related to discrimination based on disability. Most employers will therefore allow the claimant to remain employed on approved sick leave for up to two years.
After two years, if the employee is permanently incapable of returning to work in any capacity, many employers will move to terminate. It is important to thoroughly document your case and your medical condition as you work through this process so that you will have ample physical evidence available to you and your legal team if you ever need to hire one to protect your claim.
When faced with a termination of employment due to an injury or disability claim, always get legal advice from a disability lawyer.
How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Cost?
This is a common question that weighs heavily in the minds of victims whenever legal services become involved. A good lawyer will be upfront and honest with you regarding costs and will let you know if they do not believe their involvement will add adequate value to your case.
Depending on what you need to be done, hiring a disability lawyer can cost as little as $50 or as much as $100,000 in extreme situations. You can hire disability lawyers under different fee arrangements, such as hourly rates, fixed fees, or contingency plans – if we don’t win it, you don’t pay. Generally speaking, the amount you will pay will depend on two factors: 1) The amount of financial risk that the lawyer has to take on and 2) the scope of the work you need to be done in order to be successful.
For more information, please see:
When Do my Long-Term Disability Benefits Start?
Long-term disability benefits start after you have been continuously disabled for the required waiting period. Depending on your policy, this waiting period is usually three to six months. It is common for people to receive short-term disability benefits or EI sickness benefits during the waiting period. The exact amount of time can be affected by your unique circumstances, the company you work for, and the policies they have.
You may be approached with an option to accept a guaranteed settlement amount, instead of continuing to pursue your claim for future benefits. This settlement often takes the form of a large, lump sum payment. It is highly recommended that you speak with an experienced, long-term disability lawyer before accepting any settlement amount. Contact an LTD claim lawyer to set up a risk-free case review.
Are Long-Term Disability Benefits Taxable?
Generally, if you pay the entire amount of the disability premium yourself, your long-term disability benefits will be tax-free. This may bring your income while on disability closer to your current take-home pay, but likely won’t cover your lost wages in full.
If your employer pays all or part of the disability premium, your disability benefits will be subject to income taxes.
For more information, please see:
- How Will LTD Benefits Impact Employment?
- How To Handle Disability Claims For Unreported Income
- Returning To Work While On Disability
What Do I Do if My Long-Term Disability Benefits are Denied or Cut Off?
If you’re a disabled worker and recently received a letter denying or terminating your disability benefits, there is still hope. The first thing you should do when receiving one of these letters is to photocopy it and store it in a safe place, as it will be a valuable asset in any appeal.
A denial letter indicates that your LTD claim was unsuccessful. The denial will typically mention that you may suffer some restrictions but that your disability does not rise to the level of a “total disability” as defined by the insurance company.
These letters are a threat to your LTD benefits and must be taken seriously. Once you have sorted out why you were denied, you can then determine what you can do to attempt to overturn the unfavorable decision. There are ways to appeal both a denial and a termination letter. Although this can be a complex matter, and it is recommended that you seek out a disability lawyer, “The Must-Read Guide to Winning Disability Insurance Benefits” available through our resources page lays out a step-by-step guide (along with tips) to successfully appeal a denial or termination and get your LTD benefits back.
For more information, please see:
- How To Appeal LTD Denial
- Winning Long Term Disability Benefits
- How To Present The Impact Of Disability On Your Life
- How To Get Medical Support To Show Total Disability
Can Your Halifax Long-Term Disability Lawyers Help Me With My Case?
While many law firms work on a broad variety of cases, NOVA Injury Law is an ideal ally for a disability benefits case because we focus all of our resources and efforts on supporting injury victims. Aside from the free case review, the no-obligation consultation, and contingency fee agreement available for many types of claims, NOVA Injury Law is a proudly Nova Scotian law firm that offers something that other Atlantic Canadian firms do not – we are the only personal injury lawyers in Atlantic Canada with a doctor on the team.
Dr. Laura Mitchell is a practicing emergency room physician with special training in occupational medicine: this means that she has specialty expertise in workplace-related injuries and illnesses. Working directly with a knowledgeable medical professional allows the brain injury lawyers at NOVA Injury Law to properly support personal injury claims with the most complete, accurate, and convincing medical evidence that is gathered by a reputable consulting expert.
Our extensive network of professional medical consultants will not only work on your behalf but provide you with rehabilitation and evaluative resources to best support your case and your recovery.
No one should have to worry that the disability coverage they’ve worked and applied for might suddenly disappear from under them. If you or one of your loved ones is struggling to get or keep your long-term disability benefits, contact the veteran personal injury lawyers of NOVA Injury Law today.
For more information or to set up an initial consultation, you can reach us by calling 902-706-5205. Our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to support you and your loved ones via email, text, Facebook messenger, and more.
Which conditions may qualify for long-term disability benefits in Nova Scotia?
Here is a list of medical conditions that may qualify for long-term disability benefits, but please note that eligibility criteria varies depending on the specific insurance policy, government program, or employer plan. It’s important to consult the official guidelines of the relevant program or insurance provider for accurate and up-to-date information.
1. Musculoskeletal Disorders:
– Chronic back pain
– Degenerative disc disease
– Joint disorders
2. Neurological Disorders:
– Multiple sclerosis (MS)
– Parkinson’s disease
– Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
3. Mental Health Conditions:
– Anxiety disorders (e.g., generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder)
– Bipolar disorder
– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
4. Cardiovascular Disorders:
– Coronary artery disease
– Congestive heart failure
– Hypertension (severe and uncontrolled)
5. Respiratory Disorders:
– Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
– Asthma (severe and persistent)
– Interstitial lung disease
– Various forms of cancer that limit the ability to work
7. Autoimmune Disorders:
– Rheumatoid arthritis
– Crohn’s disease
– Ulcerative colitis
8. Chronic Pain Syndromes:
– Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
– Chronic migraine headaches
– Neuropathic pain disorders
9. Vision and Hearing Impairments:
– Blindness or severe visual impairment
– Profound hearing loss
10. Organ Transplants:
– Individuals recovering from organ transplantation
11. Genetic Disorders:
– Huntington’s disease
– Muscular dystrophy
– Cystic fibrosis
– Advanced stages of HIV infection
Your eligibility for long-term disability benefits depends on various factors, including the severity of the condition, the impact on your ability to work, and the specific requirements of the insurance company or government program. You should consult with a medical professional or legal counsel to review the eligibility criteria of the specific disability benefits program you are applying for.
Call Our Halifax Long-Term Disability Lawyers Today!
If you need help navigating your long-term disability claim, our team here at NOVA Injury Law of Halifax is here to help. Call our office today for your free consultation and strategy session!