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Unforeseen accidents and illness are unfortunate realities many people encounter. When you are injured or develop a critical illness, these afflictions can impact your day to day life, as well as your ability to work and make an income. This reality is the basis on which disability insurance was created, and remains a means to support injured or ill persons who cannot make an income because of an unexpected disability.

Disability insurance is intended to provide financial security for unexpected accidents or illness that impact your ability to work. Disability insurance provides replacement income, to varying degrees depending on the plan, during the period of time in which you can’t work. The definition of disability is not standardized across insurance companies, or even within different policies with the same company. Navigating the disability insurance process can be complex and time-consuming, particularly if you are injured or sick.

Disability insurance can be vital to ensuring a person’s financial stability when an accident or illness results in their inability to work. Often employers provide private disability insurance to their employees, though this is not universally the case, and the extent of disability coverage depends on the type of policy selected. For this reason, it is important to know the extent of your insurance policy and any coverage you may be entitled to. If your employer does not provide disability insurance as part of your employment, it may be wise to consider purchasing your own policy to protect against the unexpected.

Most policies provide two categories of disability coverage, short term disability claims (STD) and long term disability claims (LTD). STD is usually the first phase of a disability claim, and it provides benefits for a sick or injured person for up to six months. If after the six month period in which a person is claiming STD benefits ends and the person remains unable to return to work because of their ailment, they will often apply for LTD. While on LTD a policyholder generally receives income replacement benefits between 60%-70% of their pre-disability income, and typically LTD provides for benefits for up to two years.

Many disabilities are not resolvable in two years, or at all, leaving many people concerned about what they can do once LTD benefits end after two years. Once the two-year period comes to an end, an ill or injured person is not necessarily out of disability benefits, however, the threshold for continuing to claim benefits after the two-year period is high. A person who has used up their LTD benefits must prove that not only are they unable to return to their previous employment, but that they are unable to work at any job. This is a difficult threshold to meet, and as such, it is highly recommended that you consult legal support in dealing with these types of disability claims.

Private insurance plans are not the only form of disability benefits that can be accessed. The Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPP) is a benefit available to Canadians who are under the age of 65 and are now disabled and in need of support. CPP is a public alternative to private disability insurance, though the amount of income replacement available under CPP is typically lower than under private insurance. However, a person can claim under a private plan and through CPP. In order to receive this benefit the applicant must demonstrate the following:

  • They suffer from a severe and prolonged disability; and
  • They have made sufficient CPP contributions during their working years.
  • Further, an applicant’s receipt of other disability benefits such as Long Term Disability is not an indication that their CPPD application will be successful. This test can be deceptively difficult to overcome and many applicants can become frustrated with this process.


Allow Ferguson Deacon Taws to assist you with the preparation and submission of your initial application and/or appeal the denial of your application. Call FDT Law today at 1-800-563-6348.

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