Posted: June 10, 2022

Statistics Canada reports that, during their working years, as many as one in three Canadians may experience a disability which lasts at least three months.  If the person makes a significant recovery from the injury or illness that is causing their disability, they may be only temporarily unable to work, but for others, their disability may be prolonged or permanent and consequently, could result in a devastating loss of income over their lifetime.    

If you have an illness or injury that prevents you from working effectively, talk to your disability insurance representative as soon as possible to find out if there are any disability claim deadlines you must meet.  As a general rule, you can apply for disability benefits as soon as you become aware that your disability prevents you from performing the essential parts of your job and you have been under a doctor’s care for your condition.  Also, you will need medical assessments and opinion evidence from a physician or medical specialist that substantiate your claim. 

There are two key thresholds or ‘tests for disability’ which a disability claimant must pass in order to qualify for disability benefits:

Own-occupation test:

When you initially become disabled due to an illness or injury, your claim must provide medical evidence showing that you are not able to perform the essential tasks of your regular job.

Any-occupation test:

Typically, after two years, the eligibility requirements become stricter and in order to continue eligibility for disability benefits, you must provide evidence showing that your disability prevents you from performing any job to which you are suited by way of your skills, experience and training.

A person will not qualify for disability benefits simply because they have been diagnosed with a particular illness or injury.  Rather, eligibility for disability benefits is based on a person’s inability to perform their job.  This means that, in order to make a successful disability claim, a claimant must provide medical opinion evidence showing that their symptoms or impairments interfere with the ability to carry out the required tasks of their job.   A person’s disabling symptoms or impairments may include physical symptoms (such as such as chronic fatigue, back pain or an inability to stand for extended periods), cognitive impairments (such as an inability to concentrate) or emotional challenges (such as anxiety or depression).  Depending on the nature of your job, a specific impairment may have a lesser or greater impact on your ability to function at work.

As well as demonstrating that your specific symptoms prevent you from performing the key aspects of your job, your disability insurer will also require that you are undergoing an appropriate treatment for your medical condition.  Your insurer expects that you are taking active and reasonable steps to alleviate your symptoms and get better so that you can return to work as soon as is possible.  

Unfortunately, disability claimants are often denied benefits at the two-year point, even when they have provided new medical evidence showing that they are unable to perform any job to which they are suited.  In such a case, the claimant may be forced to file a civil claim against their disability insurer in order to get their owed benefits.

If you suffer from a disability that prevents you from working and were unfairly denied disability benefits, talk to an experienced Kitchener-Waterloo disability claims lawyer at Dietrich Law.   Our experienced staff are happy to answer all your legal questions and give you a frank assessment of what steps are needed to get your disability claim approved.  Call Dietrich Law to find out how we can help.   



Posted in Disability Insurance Claims
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