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What is Long-Term Disability Insurance ?
This article provides an overview of short term and long term disability insurance in Toronto and FAQ’s related to it.
The purpose of disability insurance is to protect you if you become sick or disabled, when you’re no longer able to work and earn an income. Disability insurance will typically compensate you for between 60% and 85% of your lost income. The policy often imposes limits on amounts paid over time.
Many extended healthcare plans will include Short-Term Disability (hereinafter “STD”) and Long-Term Disability (hereinafter “LTD”) benefits. Entitlement to STD begins after an individual sustains an injury or illness that prevents them from returning to work. It is important to know that the injury or illness doesn’t need to have occurred while at work or as a result of the work.
STD benefits will compensate individuals while they are off work because of injury or illness. If an individual is off work for a long time, STD benefits will typically convert into LTD benefits.
Entitlement to benefits is outlined in each individual policy and policies can vary from company to company. Duration and amount of STD and LTD benefits is also determined by the policy. In all policies, your inability to work must be supported by your treating physicians.
If your application for STD or LTD benefits is denied, you may have the right to sue. If you have been receiving STD or LTD benefits and your insured has terminated your benefits, you may also have the right to sue.
Long Term Disability Lawyers in Toronto
At Grillo Law, we have over 30 years of experience litigating STD and LTD benefits claims. We can help you better understand the law and assist you in recovering the compensation that you deserve. If you or a loved one have sustained injuries and have your benefits denied, call Grillo Law at 416 – 614 – 6000 for a FREE consultation. Remember, you will not pay any fees until your case is won or settled.
Do I Need To Purchase Disability Insurance In Ontario?
Before you go out and buy disability insurance you should check what disability insurance you already have. You may have group disability insurance already and there is no point in over insuring. Many self-employed business people buy disability benefits to ensure that their business costs are covered if they are not able to work. If you are looking to cover your business expenses it may be worth contacting a short-term disability lawyer or an LTD insurance attorney.
Long-Term Disability Insurance
Almost all long-term disability insurances in Ontario will cover between 60% to 70% of your lost earnings. Long term disability plans only take affect once the once you have exhausted your leave pay, short term disability insurance and Employment Insurance sickness benefits. Disability plans differ. Some will pay you for 24 months if you are unable to work in your own occupation and then beyond 24 months you may receive benefits only if you are unable to work in any occupation. Your experienced long-term disability insurance attorney can explain the differences to you. You must understand the terms and conditions of the disability plan before you sign on the bottom line. If there are exclusions or clauses that deal with pre-conditions, you must know about them. Make sure that you understand how disability is defined in the plan and how long you’ll wait before you receive benefits. If you are unsure of the terms and conditions of your disability plan it may be time to discuss it with an experienced disability lawyer.
Short-Term Disability Insurance
Short-term insurance will usually protect you for up to six months if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. Some employers provide short term disability insurance for their employees. If your employer participates in a short-term insurance plan then you would have to apply for benefits through the disability plan. If you do not have access to disability benefits through your own or your group disability insurance Employment Insurance sickness benefits may also be available to you. Sickness benefits only take affect once you have worked a certain number of hours. You must also have exhausted your sick leave. Before you sign up with a short-term disability plan you must investigate the costs and benefits. Find out how much you’ll pay each month and what you’ll receive in benefits. Be sure to check whether these are adjusted for inflation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Long Term Disability
Difference Between Individual And Group Disability Insurance?
To summarize, group disability insurance will cost less since risk of injury is spread among the group of people. At the same time there is a chance that group insurance premium will increase during annual renewal, where individual policy’s monthly premium will remain unchanged.
Individual disability insurance is purchased by individuals in order to insure against illness or injury that may result in time off work and lost wages. Individual disability insurance can act as a stop gap or addendum to an employer-provided group disability insurance plan. Some benefits to an individual plan include the flexibility in policy options that may not be available under a group plan, portability of the policy, tax free benefits if paid from personal income, and the fact that the policy cannot be cancelled without your permission.
Group disability insurance are comprehensive, group plans that are purchased by businesses and companies and provided as working benefits to their employees. Premium payments for the insurance pan are either paid through pay cheque deductions or by employer contributions. Coverage for both short and long term disabilities exist although there are caps to the total benefits amount receivable under the policy.
What Information Is Required On My Disability Claims Form?
A claimant’s statement of disability includes standard personal information such as your name, gender, date of birth, address, health card number, telephone number and importantly, your insurance policy number. When filing for long term disability benefits you will also be required to provide your banking information, list of healthcare providers, source of income, employment information, your medical history related to disability. Each disability insurer has their own disability claims forms that must be completed by the insured and often by their treating physician.
More specifically, you will also be asked to provide information such as whether your medical condition is the result of injury or illness, and details regarding the injury or illness such as how the injury occurred, the symptoms it may cause, how the illness or injury prevents you from returning to work, and how it may affect your daily living conditions. For further detail on these requirements, it is best to speak to a medical professional.
In the case of a group insurance plan, your employer will be required to corroborate this information.
What Type Of Disability Qualifies For Long Term Disability Benefits?
Any illness, injury or long term condition lasting a year or longer and is preventing you from being able to work, whether this be a physical, mental, or emotional health issue may qualify for a long-term disability benefits.
Importantly, it may not be one isolated injury or illness that allows you to qualify for LTD benefits but a whole bevy of injuries and symptoms over time. Here at Grillo Law we work closely with the best medical professionals to come up with accurate prognoses of your situation and a plan on how your disability may affect your future employment or income stream.
What Types Of Disability Insurance Are There?
Disability insurance is categorized into “short- term” and “long- term” categories. There are also many features associated with these types of policies.
Short term disability insurance can provide benefits for up to 6 months for an illness or injury. Long term disability insurance will generally begin when the short term insurance benefits and unemployment insurance (EI) end. Other forms of disability insurance exist for more specific uses, such as insurance that covers critical illnesses or those that guarantee mortgage payments (disability mortgage insurance) in the event that you are disabled and can no longer make your periodic payments.
Also, there are a number of features attached to the types of disability insurance available. For example, non-cancelable disability insurance is the most comprehensive, and thus often most costly, form of coverage. The primary benefits to a non- cancelable policy is that the policy-holder retains control and the insurer cannot cancel the policy. Guaranteed renewable insurance policies allows an insured person to guarantee their policy, on similar terms and premiums, when it comes time to renew their policy.
Difference Between Short Term Disability Insurance And Long Term Disability Insurance?
The difference between short term and long term disability insurance is generally the period of time for which these benefits are offered and designed to help replace your missing income and the nature and severity of impairment. Short term disability benefits usually cover up to six month, and long term disability benefits can last years. In Ontario you can apply for two, five or 10 years of benefit periods, or until retirement.
Short term disability insurance provides the injured claimant with “short term” replacement wages in order to supplement a temporary time off work. Long term disability insurance is designed to supplement your long term income in the case that your injury completely prevents or decreases your ability to work over a period of time.
Who Pays For Long Term Disability Coverage?
Depending on the type of long term disability coverage, funding can occur from differing sources. Long term disability coverage can be either paid for by individuals through employer as part of their paycheck contributions or purchased through private insurance company. It can also be paid for by employers and businesses, as a form of workers’ benefits.
How Long Do The Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits Last?
Generally, LTD benefits will persist for two to five to even 10 years, or until you are 65 years old, whichever is sooner.
The duration of your long term disability insurance benefits also depends on the insurance policy contract. Policies may also have certain rehabilitation clauses that will help assist you off of LTD benefits and back into employment.
How Much Will I Receive From Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits?
Most long term disability insurance plans will compensate 60% to 85% of your annual income and at the same time not exceeding certain amount.
The amount you receive from long term disability insurance will depend on your insurance contract. As a general rule, LTD benefits will never exceed 100% of your pre-disability average income.
Are There Deadlines When Making A Claim For Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits?
It is important to meet the notice deadlines for making a claim for LTD insurance benefits, as failing to meet these deadlines will give insurers a reason to deny the benefits. These deadlines will often depend on the insurer and the coverage plan, so please review your insurance policy contract specifically.
As a general rule, we recommend that you submit your claim and proof of disability or injury as soon as practically possible. If you need assistance completing your LTD application package, the experts at Grillo Law would be more than happy to assist you.
There is some interesting case law on the matter. In Ortiz v Great- West Life Insurance, the court held that insurers have a duty to assess the disability status of the insured within 24 months from the injury or event, and for a further 24 months afterwards.
In the case of Ortiz, the claimant had submitted his lawsuit against the insurer well after this period of time, up to 3 years after the disabling incident. As a result the court established that the statute of limitations, as it pertained to the specifics of the case, had elapsed.
Do I Need A Lawyer To Handle My Long Term Disability Insurance Claim?
It is strongly advisable to hire an experience long term disability lawyer if you think you have been unfairly denied LTD benefits in Ontario. Insurance companies have bureaucratic tools at their disposal to avoid, minimize, and delay the payment of claims. Furthermore, victims who have been disabled are often unable to amass the resources necessary to complete a comprehensive and complete application for their LTD benefits. For these reasons, we advocate that you consider our services at Grillo Law. We have over 30 years of experience in dealing with insurance companies, and as a large firm with over 60 professionals and support staff, we have the resources on hand to help you get the necessary medical and corroborating information, as well as proceed with further legal options including commencement of a law suit, should your claim get denied.
Can Other Benefits Be Deducted From My Long Term Disability Payment?
Depending on your insurance policy, the total amount of disability benefits that are paid may be reduced by any other amount of benefits that the claimant has received. This may include benefits such as severance pay or vacation pay.
Other forms of disability benefits, such as CPP or EI (Employment Insurance), may also be reduced from the total amount. The reason for this is because LTD benefits are meant as a form of income supplementation, and insurance companies will argue that it is only fair that your total compensation be inclusive of existing benefits you are already entitled to receive.
How Long Do I Have To Wait To Collect Long Term Disability Benefits?
Generally the waiting period for long term disability benefits is known as a “qualifying period” and can range from 90 to 180 days after the claim is approved, or even longer, depending on your policy.
Shorter qualifying periods are associated with higher insurance premiums, generally. Long term disability benefits will kick in if approved, after the short term disability coverage period expires, so it is best to consult the language in your insurance policy for specific details. For assistance in doing so, feel free to contact Grillo Law.
Does Long Term Disability Provide Extended Medical Or Dental Care As Well?
Extended medical or dental care by is generally not covered under most LTD benefit policies. It is imperative to review the specific wording and terms of the policy.
Can My Long Term Disability Insurance Company Force Me To Apply For Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) Disability Or Other Benefits?
Yes, you may in fact be legally obliged to apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits as a part of your insurance policy requirements.
This depends on the wording of your policy. Some policies are a “last option”, meaning that only after all other sources of disability benefit are exhausted will the long term disability policy apply. However, the outcome of your CPP disability application or any other organization should not affect your private long term disability claim.
I Was Recently Denied Long Term Disability Benefits, When Should I Get A Lawyer Involved?
If your claim has been denied, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced lawyer such as Grillo Law in order to figure out your legal options and how best to proceed, to ensure your rights are protected and receive the insurance compensation you deserve.
The process for establishing a claim against your insurance company can be complex and difficult, and we recommend consulting a legal professional at the onset of your disability, before the application is processed, or as soon as possible thereafter.
Are My Benefits Taxable?
One of the most common questions our clients ask is whether insurance benefits are taxable, or considered as employment income or taxable benefits. In general, the distinction between taxable and non-taxable depends on whether the insurance premiums are paid for by the individual or by the employer.
Individual disability insurance policies are generally not taxable. On the other hand, where the employer pays for the insurance premiums as part of an employment insurance plan or group disability insurance policy, the benefits may be considered taxable benefits and thus included in your income at the end of the year.
More specifically as well, where an employer contributes to an individual insurance plan, these may also be considered a taxable benefit.
How Much Will It Cost To Sue My Insurance Company?
Grillo Law offers free first time consultations and we work on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not pay until we win the case for you!
It is vital that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible in order to review your legal options. Due to the statute of limitations and requirements under your policy terms, you do not want to have missed the period for which you can still bring a claim against your insurance company. A case such as Ortiz v Great- West Life Insurance Co. shows the dangers of waiting too long to make your claim.
What Is The Process For Suing The Insurance Company?
If you feel that you have been unfairly treated by your insurance company, or they have breached their contractual obligations, the first step you should take is to consult with an experienced legal professional such as the lawyers at Grillo Law. Your lawyer will access your case and advise you on the scope of your legal options. If it is decided that it is in your best interest to proceed with a claim against your insurer, your lawyer will commence a Statement of Claim against the company. Disclosures of information will be exchanged and you may have to attend a hearing or deposition, where lawyers will ask you questions under oath. Rest assured that we at Grillo Law are well versed in negotiation strategies and will help you with the legal process.
If I Have Been Denied Disability Benefits Do I Have To Go To Court To Receive Them?
If you have been denied disability benefits, you may have a case against your insurer if you feel that they have unfairly denied your claim or if they have breached their insurance contract with you. For further advice, it is best to speak with a lawyer from Grillo Law.
At Grillo Law we have over 30 years of experience dealing with insurance companies and we are well prepared to prevent a costly trial and help you mediate or negotiate a settlement.
If The Insurance Company Agrees That I Am Still Entitled To Benefits, What Are The Different Ways That My Settlement Can Be Paid To Me?
Once approved, or mandated by a court, insurance benefits can be paid on a monthly basis as stipulated in most standard form insurance contracts. You may also opt for a lump sum settlement amount that accounts for moneys owed and future benefits, plus interest and costs owing.
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