Mental Health, Depression & Long-Term Disability

Experiencing depression or other struggles with your mental health can have a huge burden on your quality of life. It can affect your relationships with other people, your ability to take care of yourself, and even your ability to work. However, unlike a physical injury that can be obviously seen and documented by doctors, mental health struggles can be a little more difficult to properly diagnose and treat.

The good news is that in the last few years, more and more people are opening up and discussing their own mental health struggles, helping to remove some of the stigma. This can help empower those who are struggling to talk about matters with loved ones and seek proper help.

However, if seeking proper help gets in the way of your ability to work and therefore pay bills, then what is the solution?

For many, getting long-term disability or CPP disability benefits can be the answer you need. This way, you’re able to take time off and look after yourself by getting the medical attention you need, while receiving financial assistance.

What Are Long-Term Disability Benefits?

Long-term disability benefits are financial benefits paid through disability plans or insurance policies, that essentially act as an income replacement if you are unable to work. You will receive the disability benefits if your long-term disability insurer decides that you are unable to work. Once you have been approved for long-term disability benefits, you will be provided with periodic payments for as long as your benefits are valid, or you are unable to work.

Although many have similar policies; all policies are different. That’s why it’s crucial that you understand what long-term disability benefits you are eligible for.

Does Depression Qualify For Long-Term Disability?

Canada does recognize depression as a disability, and it is a condition that can qualify for benefits. However, a diagnosis alone isn’t enough to qualify you. Proving that depression or other mental health struggles are keeping you from being able to work is difficult, but don’t let that discourage you.

Many long-term disability providers will focus on the severity of your symptoms and will consider previous, present, and future medical treatment plans. They will also scrutinize how your symptoms affect your work and how hard you’ve tried to keep working.

It is very important that you keep your documents in order and record all necessary paperwork. Canada’s human rights laws state that employers have a duty to help employees with medical conditions that affect their ability to work. Therefore, while it can be scary, it’s important that you speak out against your employer if you are being unfairly punished for having depression or other mental health disorders.  

Mental illnesses or disorders that qualify include things such as major depression, PTSD, severe OCD, and many other serious conditions. The bottom line is you must meet the definition of your policy to qualify.

Common Long-Term Disability Challenges

When you apply for long-term disability claims, there are some common challenges that arise. Below, we’ll walk you through them to help troubleshoot your application before it’s submitted. It’s important to note that the onus is on you to keep medical records, visit your doctor regularly, and participate in recommended treatment.

Inaccessible Health Records

Having proper access to your medical records is critical for getting your long-term disability approved. We recommend that all our clients make copies of all documents received and keep a log of dates and details for each visit with a medical care provider.

If you are unable to get accurate, up-to-date records from your doctor and/or medical professionals, insurance companies will delay making a decision about your long-term disability due to a lack of evidence.

Attending Treatment Sessions

In our experience, accessibility issues and transportation costs are one of the main factors why clients are unable to meet their treatment goals. One good thing that has come from the pandemic, however, is that more healthcare professionals are offering online services, making it easier for patients to access them. Do your best to find medical professionals that offer more than just in-person options if travel will be difficult for you.

Adequate Employment Options

One big reason an insurance company will deny your disability claim is if they believe you should be able to find work. Insurance companies can outsource rehabilitation experts or occupational therapists to determine if you’re capable of going back to work. They can also suggest that you go back to work part-time or gradually. In those cases, we’ll often recommend that our patients try going back to work on these terms. Even if it doesn’t last, saying you tried is always better than saying you did nothing.

There Are Multiple Mental Health Or Depression Benefits Available

If you are unable to work due to depression, mental health disorders, or a disability, there are many different benefits that may be available to you.

  • Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits (Short-Term)
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Veterans Affairs Canada
  • Provincial Disability Benefits
  • CPP Disability Benefits
  • Workers’ Compensation

When Do You Become Eligible For Long-Term Disability?

It depends on your individual circumstances. Usually, long-term disability benefits will come into effect once you’ve used up all your short-term benefits such as Employment Insurance (EI) or short-term disability insurance plans.

After you’ve become unable to work, there is typically a 90-to-120-day period which is called the elimination, waiting, or qualifying period before your long-term disability benefits come into effect.

How Do You Check Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Policy?

Fortunately, many employees have access to long-term disability insurance. Sometimes this insurance is automatically included through your employer via payroll, but other times it’s up to the individual to privately purchase their own long-term disability insurance from an insurance company or broker. This is especially important as more and more Canadians opt for freelance or self-employed jobs. While no one plans to fall ill for an extended period of time, long-term disability insurance is critical.

How To Apply For Long-Term Benefits For Depression or Mental Health Disorders

This is a form doctors don’t fully understand. The first LTB application is incredibly important, and the medical report is critical. It must immediately meet the contractual obligations.

You must contact your insurance. They will send you a form that must be filled out by a medical professional. It is EXTREMELY important that your medical professional understands why you cannot work. If the details aren’t filled out with specific details about why you can’t work, your claim may be denied.

That’s where we come into play. It’s important you contact us before you speak with your doctor. We can help you understand what obligations need to be met for your specific contract. Additionally, we’ll explain how to properly talk to your doctor to get your forms filled out the way they need to be before submitting your claim.

To access long-term benefits, you need to meet with your doctor and other medical professionals. This is how you’ll obtain medical evidence that you are disabled and unable to work. This evidence will need to be provided on an ongoing basis to continue receiving benefits. Whether your claim involves invisible illnesses such as chronic pain or mental illness, or objective injuries which are injuries that can be seen, the medical evidence is still required to process your claim.

It’s important to make sure that you provide your adjuster with all the medical records required. Many adjusters are working on multiple claims at any given time. It is not their responsibility to request records from every clinic you’ve been to. If you have test results that further your case, it’s very important you obtain them. Make sure you send them to your adjuster personally. This improves your chances of being approved and can possibly shorten your approval time.

Was Your Disability Claim Denied?

If your benefits have been denied, it’s very important that you get yourself a long-term disability lawyer. The criteria above may not have been met, forms may be incorrect, and perhaps you don’t have all the forms. This process is time sensitive due to most individuals being unable to afford to be without income. Serious financial consequences could occur if you wait.

Long-term disability insurance is meant to provide financial assistance to you in your time of need. When an insurance company wrongfully denies your claim, you need to seek competent legal advice as quickly as possible. Your best choice is to hire an experienced long-term disability lawyer to review your rights and remedies. They will work with you to make sure your benefits are reinstated.

Why Choose De Rose Lawyers?

Long-term disability insurance is our passion, and we care about getting the best outcomes for our clients. We believe that people want to work and take pride in their jobs. We know that if you’re claiming your benefits, it’s because you have to and truly need the money. It’s not an easy process to complete and insurance companies prey on people not understanding their rights and take advantage of that. They know they can wait you out and will try everything to do so. De Rose believes you need this money, and we will work tirelessly to get you what you’re entitled to.

At De Rose Lawyers, we have over 40 years of combined experience working for innocent victims who have been wrongfully denied their benefits. We are here to help you get the long-term disability compensation you deserve and to make sure the maximum benefits owed are paid to you and your family.