Having a disability that prevents you from working can be a difficult thing to deal with. Whether it’s a disabling injury or illness that occurred recently, or something that you have dealt with your whole life, your first question is probably, what can I do to make sure that I am able to support myself? In cases such as these, most people will be able to apply for long-term disability and receive benefits, but some people may not be able to be covered. What constitutes a long-term disability and what doesn’t? More importantly, who exactly qualifies? If these are questions that have been on your mind and you are looking for answers, here are a few key points to help.

What is long-term disability?

Long-term disability can be difficult to gauge as, unless your condition is clearly a long-term issue from the start, you can never be quite sure how long you are going to be unable to work. However, once you have reached a certain point and can determine that your condition is going to last for an extended period of time or is now permanent, there is a term identified in most plans or programs known as “total disability.” Although the term can be a little confusing to those who are just trying to determine if they qualify for coverage or programs, total disability is defined by the Supreme Court of Canada as the inability to engage in certain activities due to the physical inability to do so. To clarify, this does not mean that your body needs to be completely paralyzed in order to qualify for long-term disability, nor do you have to be someone who is comatose or otherwise incapacitated. It simply means that you have to have a health issue or injury that prevents you from working as you normally do, and may keep you from doing so for a long time.

Do I qualify and what for?

Once you’ve found yourself in a situation in which you have to take time off work because of a physical disability or another debilitating health issue, the first thing that people ask themselves is what do I qualify for? It is highly recommended to see if you can take any sick pay from your employer while you figure out what options you have. Next, you need to begin taking a look at your disability insurance plan (both short-term and long-term, if you have an individual plan or one through your employer) to figure out if your current condition allows you to qualify for any of the coverage, how much is covered, and how long your plan is going to last. If you shouldn’t have a disability insurance plan for some reason or another, there are also a variety of programs in Canada that may be able to help you with your disability case.

What Now?

Only when you’ve determined what you qualify for and what you can do at the moment should you begin going through the process of making a claim. Trying to make a long-term disability claim can be an extensive process that will require a lot of paperwork and court visits. In the event that you have found yourself disabled or facing a severe health crisis and are unable to work, it is crucial that you reach out to an expert long term disability lawyer who will be able to help you work through the process and relieve some of the stress that comes with your injury or health issue.