When someone is ill or injured to the extent that they have to miss a significant amount of work or can’t manage day-to-day activities, they may wonder if they qualify for long-term disability. Applying for and proving long-term disability can be complicated and add stress at an already-stressful time. Read on for information on long-term disability in Canada, and contact us for a free case review.

How Is Long-Term Disability Defined in Nova Scotia?

Long-term disability is when someone who was gainfully employed and actively working has to stop working for a more extended period of time because of an illness or injury that prevents them from working. These benefits are meant for people who have lost income due to the disability, not people who weren’t employed to begin with.

What Kinds of Injuries Can Cause Long-Term Disabilities?

Any injury that affects a person’s ability to return to work is something that could potentially qualify someone for long-term disability. The injury doesn’t necessarily have to take place at work, either. For example, someone could be in a catastrophic car accident that leaves them partially paralyzed and no longer physically capable of doing their job.

Mental health issues can also qualify for long-term disability. If you suffer from debilitating anxiety, PTSD, or other mental health challenge that affects your ability to work, you may qualify for disability benefits.

What Kinds of Illnesses Can Cause Long-Term Disabilities?

Many illnesses qualify because they can be physically debilitating or lead to situations where parts of the body no longer work properly or even need to be removed. In general, things like different forms of cancer, heart disease, lung conditions, chronic pain, lupus, back problems, depression, and many others can cause someone not to be able to perform their job. Mental health conditions such as PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Clinical Depression may also qualify, among other mental health issues. However, this can vary from plan to plan. There may also be stipulations for pre-existing conditions which can cause the disability claim to be denied, which is why consulting a disability lawyer is recommended.

What Are Long-Term Disability Benefits?

These are benefits offered by private insurance companies, some provided by employers and others enrolled in by individuals. They’re meant for people who face losing income on a long-term basis due to injuries or illnesses. This would not apply to people who have a case of the flu and miss a day or two of work but rather to people whose ability to work at all is severely compromised for weeks, months, or even permanently. As noted above, long-term disability is only available for people who were actively employed when the disability occurred.

The type of benefits available through these plans varies from insurer to insurer. It’s important to understand that long-term disability benefits aren’t meant to replace 100% of lost income. Instead, most people that qualify will receive between 60-70% of their previous gross income. If the employee used to receive overtime income, that would not be factored into their benefits, just the actual salary before overtime.

What Is the Process to Apply for Long-Term Disability Benefits?

Most insurers offer an initial 30-day period of disability benefits, which is subject to review at the end of that time. That review period is called the elimination period. During the elimination period, which usually lasts 3-4 months, the insurer will research whether or not there are other types of benefits available that can be used instead of long-term disability. Some forms of benefits that might be recommended include:

Workers’ compensation. If the person’s employer is registered with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia. Benefits available through this group are solely for employees who were injured in the workplace or developed a medical condition from workplace conditions (for example, exposure to toxic substances). 

Employment insurance. This is a program offered by employers through which employees can pay for coverage. It’s meant for shorter-term disability stints of up to 15 weeks. 

Canada pension plan. This is another employer-based program into which employees can pay for coverage. It’s meant for long-term disabilities.

How Long do Long-Term Disability Benefits Last?

How long the benefits last varies from case to case. In general, after the elimination period, most people are eligible for two years of benefits if, during that time, the employee cannot return to their previous job. To qualify beyond two years, the employee must be disabled to the extent that they can’t work at any job. The benefits will end if they can be trained to transition to a different job.
If the employee can return to work before the two years are up, the benefits will stop at the point of their return. If they can’t work at any job again, the benefits will last until they turn 65 or until they pass away, whichever occurs first.

What if My Long-Term Disability Benefits Claim Is Denied?

The insurance company should provide a written explanation detailing the reasons for the denial. Bringing in a lawyer at that point is vital, as they can determine whether or not the grounds for denial appear legitimate. They may also be able to find different grounds for challenging the denial in court, where someone might be able to recover lost benefits and additional damages.

What Should I Do if I Think I Qualify for Long-Term Disability?

Call us at 782-824-3371 to set up a free case review. Our team of experienced, knowledgeable personal injury lawyers understands the complicated disability laws, and we’ll work to ensure you receive the best possible outcomes. We know what medical evidence is required and will help you compile it. Let us handle all communication regarding your injury and disability claims, as there are people whose job is to reduce your eligibility for disability or other settlements. We’re aware of the tactics they use, and we know how to counter them.