Have you been denied or cut-off Long Term Disability Benefits or CPP Disability?
Too sick to return to work?
Here are my Top Tips for Managing your Own Disability Claim:
- First, do not quit your job.
If you are suffering from an illness, sickness, or injury and unable to work, go to your doctor.
Request a medical note to provide to your workplace, and ask your HR department or benefit provider for your disability and health benefits policy wording.
- Second, make application for benefits
If you have Short Term Disability (STD) benefits, obtain the forms from your employer or benefit provider and make application.
If you do not have STD coverage, then apply for EI Medical coverage at Service Canada Office.
If it is a work injury, apply to WorkSafe BC.
If it is a motor vehicle accident, apply to ICBC.
If disability continues beyond short term or EI, usually 4 months for non-union and up to 1 year if union, ask employer or benefit provider for the Long Term Disability (LTD) application.
If your disability from work is severe and prolonged such that you are likely never to work again before age 65, then apply for CPP Disability benefits.
Apply for all the benefits above whether or not you have been approved by any one of them.
If your employer or insurer says you cannot apply for LTD because you have not been approved for STD or EI, insist they provide you the application forms in any event.
There are time limits running against you to make application, so do not let anyone stop you making application so matter what the earlier decisions.
- Third, if you are denied, take action
If you are denied disability benefits at any point or cut off benefits, you must take steps immediately to protect your right to obtain such benefits as there are time limits running against you for:
• Filing an action in court against the disability insurance company;
• Appealing WorkSafe, EI or CPP disability benefits decision;
• Filing a grievance, requesting a claims review hearing or other appeal right to Labour Relations Board if union process governs benefit.
In general, you have two years from the date you were denied or cut off benefits from the date you were last paid or ought to have received payment to file an action in court against an insurer or trust fund.
For government plans such as WorkSafe, CPP, and EI, there are typically appeal options set out in the denial letter to you such as 30,60, or 90 days.
For a union matter, you may have very short time limits to make a claim or appeal, like 7 or 14 days. Ask your representative on the appeal options and deadlines under the collective agreement.
If you are invited to appeal a denial and provide more information to the disability insurer or administrator, note that the time limits for taking action still apply while you are appealing.