The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on Canadians’ mental and physical health. An Ipsos poll conducted earlier this year found that 56 percent of those surveyed reported increased feelings of social isolation, depression, and anxiety due to the pandemic and related lockdowns. We are beginning to learn that those who have contracted the virus may experience long-haul COVID, which refers to long-term symptoms people may experience after recovering from their illness.
This raises a question for Canadian employees enrolled in workplace group disability insurance plans. Will they be eligible to submit disability claims for illnesses and injuries related to the COVID-19 pandemic? The short answer is yes.
What is Employer Disability Insurance?
Disability insurance helps protect millions of Canadian employees from unexpected illnesses or injuries that render them incapable of working. Disability coverage replaces 60% to 85% of an employee’s income when they are totally disabled and unable to work. In most cases, the coverage is by an insurance provider. However, many large companies self insure, so when a claim is denied, your dispute is with your employer.
COVID-19 and Mental Disability
Traditionally, disabilities with physical symptoms and tangible manifestations predominated disability claims. However, the gradual destigmatization of mental illness over the past two decades has changed the equation. Now, employers and insurance companies take mental disorders more seriously. According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, mental illnesses now account for a third of disability claims in Canada. The total cost of mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually.
Employees who experience mental disability related to the COVID-19 pandemic have legitimate disability claims. There is no basis for an insurance company to deny a disability claim when the COVID-19 pandemic and workplace stress caused or exacerbated an underlying illness. In fact, it has been reported that insurance companies expect to see an avalanche of disability claims in the coming months and years that are directly related to mental health challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 and Physical Disability
For some people who have contracted COVID-19, there is growing evidence that they may experience various long-term physical symptoms, including extreme fatigue and neurological impairment. In cases where these long-term symptoms render employees unable to work, they would be eligible for disability benefits if they have access to a workplace group insurance plan.
Disability Insurance Claims for COVID-19
Of course, employees who submit disability claims must provide sufficient medical support for their illness or injury. The first step for any employee considering a disability claim is to speak with their doctor. They should also check whether they are enrolled in a workplace group disability insurance plan and have access to these benefits.
Unfortunately, disability claims can be complicated, time-consuming, and frustrating. Insurance companies perform extensive due diligence, including scrutinizing medical documents and subjecting claimants to independent medical examinations. Insurance companies, after all, are corporations ultimately driven by the profit motive. A single disability claim can cost an insurance company millions of dollars. It follows that insurance companies often deny legitimate disability claims due to the competing interests at play.
For that reason, it would be wise to consult a disability lawyer if you wish to file a disability claim or dispute a claim denial.
Disability Lawyers in Toronto
If you are searching for a disability lawyer in Toronto, contact Lecker & Associates.
Lecker & Associates has over 35 years of experience successfully challenging employers’ insurance companies over denied and cancelled disability claims. Our experienced disability lawyers can alleviate much of the stress associated with applications and appeals. With a seasoned disability lawyer at your service, we will review the specifics of your job function and help you collect proper medical reports to position your claim for success.
Do not let the matter of legal fees stop you from seeking your entitlements. We encourage you to contact us for a complimentary assessment of your case. We will only take on your case if we believe we can win, and we have a vested interest in seeing it succeed. For most disability cases, we charge you a fee based on a percentage of the settlement we obtain for you.
Our team has the experience and bench strength to go after insurance companies and employers with every tool at our disposal. We take care of your claim, leaving you free to focus on your health and recovery.
Call us today to schedule a consultation with a disability lawyer to discuss your case.