When you think of the word ‘disability’ what images come to mind? Most people imagine being paralyzed, an amputee, blind or having other serious impairments. But these are just the most extreme cases. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians apply for disability every year and the majority don’t suffer from those types of injuries or conditions. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a disability thusly:
- Disability a condition (such as an illness or an injury) that damages or limits a person’s physical or mental abilities
- the condition of being unable to do things in the normal way : the condition of being disabled
As you can see, this definition covers a very broad range. Disabilities are not always obvious but they still have very real effects on people’s lives. Your work and personal life can suffer greatly and disabilities often take a toll on your general health. There are various types of disabilities, but we’ll focus on two categories that most disabilities fall under.
A Short Term Disability (STD) is the result of an injury or illness that will keep you away from work for a short period of time. Slips and falls, sprains, back injuries and stomach ailments are the most common types of STD claims.
Short Term Disability Insurance is a type of insurance coverage which pays a percentage of your regular salary for the duration of your disability. This can last for as little as six months to one year. In most cases employees are required to use their sick days before they can receive benefits. When filing a claim you may be required to include a date for when you can return to work.
A Long Term Disability (LTD) is also caused by illness or injury but is more serious. These injuries render a person incapable of performing essential tasks associated with their job for extended periods of time. The most common causes of this type of disability are:
- Circulatory Disorders (heart disease and stroke)
- Injuries resulting from severe accidents
- Musculoskeletal Problems/Disorders (arthritis)
- Mental Health (depression, bi polar, etc)
To qualify for this type of disability benefits, you must meet certain requirements. These can vary depending on a number of factors as each disability case is unique. Typically, you’ll need to prove that you have a severe and prolonged medical condition. Severe meaning that the condition prevents you from doing substantial work in your regular occupation. Prolonged means that the disability will continue indefinitely or may result in death. Long term disability benefits will usually cover between 50-70% of your normal income.
In both long and short term disabilities, time is of the essence when making a claim and it is possible to be denied benefits if you wait too long after an incident to file a claim. Having legal representation can greatly improve your chances of getting approved or successfully appealing a denied claim. It helps to have someone experienced to walk you through the process. So if you are thinking of applying for disability benefits or even if you were recently denied, please call an experienced law firm today.