What Benefits or Sources of Income are Available to Me If I Become Disabled?
After suffering a debilitating injury or being diagnosed with a chronic illness, adjusting to everyday life can be one of the biggest challenges a person might face in their lifetime. In addition to the difficulties of coping with their disability, when an individual is no longer able to perform the duties of their occupation because of their medical condition, they may find themselves struggling to pay their bills.
In Canada, at any given time, between 8-12% of the workforce collects some form of benefits payments to help ease the financial burden of living with a disability. Becoming disabled has serious financial ramifications for people who can no longer perform their jobs. More than half of the country’s disabled population lives below the poverty line in large urban centres, like Halifax.
Even if a disabled employee wishes to return to work after taking time away from their jobs to recover from a debilitating illness or injury, the prospect of them finding a new job is extremely low. And when a prolonged absence from the workforce as the result of a physical disability leads to financial anxieties, an individual can develop secondary disabilities related to their mental health, such as depression.
If you live in Nova Scotia and are no longer able to earn a living after becoming disabled, a number of different benefits and sources of income may be available to you. Payment replacement from insurance benefits, income from social assistance programs, and possible legal action against the parties responsible for your disability can help individuals maintain a degree of financial stability during extremely challenging times.
Possible Sources of Income in Nova Scotia
Depending on the factors that caused your disability, you may be able to collect income from a number of different sources. If a workplace accident caused you to sustain a debilitating injury, filing a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board of Nova Scotia (WCB) might result in your ability to collect financial compensation.
If you were injured as the result of a car accident, regardless of which driver caused the collision, you may be eligible to access Section B benefits to recover costs you incurred as a result of your injuries. These damages could include the costs of medical treatments, rehabilitation, lost income, and possibly more. These “no fault” accident benefits might cover up to $50,000 worth of costs related to medical expenses and income replacement following an automobile collision.
If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, whether behind the wheel of a car, or on their residential or commercial property, a Nova Scotia personal injury lawyer may be able to pursue financial compensation on your behalf through tort action. This legal action may be beneficial to those whose accident benefits do not cover the full cost of their injury-related losses. Through tort action, accident victims that sustained catastrophic injuries, such as permanent disabilities, may be able to recover damages from the negligent party that caused their injuries. If your quality of life was diminished as a result of your injuries, these damages may include loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, and possibly more.
If your medical condition prevents you from working, federal assistance programs such as the Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP) or Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits (EI) may provide you with some financial relief. Additionally, depending on your insurance policy’s level of coverage, you may be able to file a claim for the following:
- Disability Creditor Insurance
- Critical Illness Insurance
- Accidental Dismemberment Insurance
- Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Benefits
- And possibly more
Additionally, the province of Nova Scotia has a number of programs to assist those in need of care, as well as family members who require help supporting their disabled loved ones.
Qualifying for Long-Term Disability Benefits
If you’ve received a serious medical diagnosis for a condition that prohibits you from working, you may be eligible to collect long-term disability benefits.
Although eligibility requirements for long-term disability benefits vary between insurance policies, generally speaking, in order to qualify for long-term disability benefits, you must be enrolled in an insurance policy that covers long-term disabilities, either through your employer’s group plan, or a privately held policy. You must also have received ongoing medical treatment for a condition that prevents you from performing the duties of your occupation, and have exhausted all other compensatory options available to you.
Some conditions that may qualify individuals to collect long-term disability benefits include:
- Heart disease
- Back problems
- Chronic pain or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Lupus or Lyme disease
- Psoriatic arthritis or fibromyalgia
- Bipolar mood disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- And possibly more
If you are unsure if your illness or injury qualifies you to receive long-term disability benefits, a Nova Scotia long-term disability lawyer may be able to review your insurance plan and help explain its eligibility requirements.
In Canada, long-term disability plans usually replace between 60-70% of a recipient’s regular wages. That said, even eligible recipients may not be able to collect benefits indefinitely.
Many insurance policies stipulate that, in order to receive long-term disability benefits, for the first two years of coverage (known as the “own occupation” stage), a policyholder’s condition must prevent them from performing activities related to their current job. Usually, after this two year period has expired, an insurance policy’s eligibility requirements will be re-defined, stipulating that, in order to continue collecting long-term disability benefits, a recipient’s medical condition must prohibit them from completing the tasks of any job, even if it is unrelated to their current position.
Supporting Yourself Financially if Your Claim for Benefits Has Been Denied
Insurance companies can deny claims for long-term disability benefits for a variety of reasons. This means that, even if your application for benefits included thorough medical evidence substantiating your claim, an insurance provider may still decide to withhold benefits payments.
Receiving a denied claim for long-term disability benefits can be extremely disheartening. While the situation can feel hopeless, it is important to bear in mind that the majority of disability claims in the country are initially denied. Furthermore, even if an insurance company decides to deny your claim for long-term disability benefits, it may be possible to overturn their initial determination. If you’d like to try appealing your insurance provider’s decision to deny your benefits claim, a Nova Scotia long-term disability lawyer may be able to provide you with crucial assistance and advice.
In many cases, claims for long-term disability benefits are denied due to missing or insufficient supporting evidence. In situations like these, wherein a decision to deny benefits may be overturned by providing additional medical documents or by clarifying minor technicalities, a lawyer may advise their clients to file an internal appeal directly through their insurance provider.
However, the internal appeal process can take a very long time, and may not result in the insurance company changing their initial decision. That being the case, if benefits payments were unfairly denied or prematurely terminated, a disability lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit against the insurance company.
In these situations, a long-term disability lawyer may present various forms of evidence in order to try substantiating their client’s claim, and recovering the financial compensation they’re owed. If successful, a Nova Scotia disability lawyer may be able to help denied benefits claimants recover damages for:
- Previously denied benefits payments
- Legal fees
- Damages for mental stress experienced
- Punitive damages
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers
If your claim for disability benefits was unfairly denied, or your benefits payments were prematurely terminated, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to help you appeal your insurance company’s decision, so you can receive the financial compensation you need to help cope with your disability.