Long-term disability (LTD) rates are on the rise. According to RBC Insurance, LTD incidence rates are expected to increase 4.7% this year compared to 2017. This may be in part related to a stronger Canadian economy — RBC has found that as gross domestic product accelerates, so do the amount of long-term disability claims.
The increase should impact both employees and employers. RBC says the data may help businesses prepare for the future by ensuring they have adequate staffing during busy periods and helping to budget for costs related to long-term disability claims.
John Carinci, RBC’s vice president/head of operations and client experience, notes:
“Businesses in Canada spent $7.5 billion for LTD coverage in 2016, which is the third-largest cost to a group benefits plan after health and dental. Knowing that LTD rates are expected to rise is important information that businesses can use to help manage those costs, support their employees and ensure their operations continue to run smoothly.”
Let’s take a look at how both employers and employees can use this information about long-term disability claims, plus how a long-term disability lawyer in Ontario can help you file a claim.
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What can employees do about LTD claims?
First off, we should focus on our hardworking employees in Ontario. The fact that long-term disability claims may increase this year should be no reason to be afraid to file a claim — in fact, this information may be beneficial should employers actually work to prepare for a higher amount of claims this year. For instance, if you need to fill in for an employee who is off of work for the next several months on long-term disability due to chronic pain, your employer may have worked to create a contingency plan with your human resources department due to the expected increase in LTD incidences.
That’s exactly what RBC suggests, at least. Julie Gaudry, senior director of group insurance with RBC, says:
“With the anticipated rise in LTD claims, businesses should proactively create awareness of the support available to employees and create contingency plans to ensure adequate staffing. While employees must deal with the significant emotional and financial stress of being off work, business owners can be particularly hard-hit as they lose employees during times of strong economic activity.”
Workers also should seek additional opportunities for support from their employers. Per the RBC forecast, incidence rates of LTD claims also decrease when the GDP decreases. During challenging economic times, workers may feel stress or concerns about job security; once the economy improves, these issues build up into workers taking time off work to recover from an illness or disability.
An increase in LTD incidences in 2017 over 2016 figures also was successfully predicted at the beginning of last year, so this may be a model we can continue to review in the coming years to prepare for long-term disability claims.
What can employers do about LTD claims?
The RBC suggests a few ways that Ontario employers can manage their long-term disability claims. They include:
- Supporting workers through Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), which can help them manage some conditions before they become a disability;
- Ensuring adequate staffing through contingency plans when the amount of LTD claims is expected to increase;
- Allowing for more flexible group benefit plans, which may include options such as offering part-time work with benefits while employees recover;
- Communicating with and educating workers on their full benefits, which may include ways to help them return to work such as financial planning or rehabilitation services.
Filing a Long-Term Disability Claim in Ontario
If you need to file a long-term disability claim in Ontario, you’ll want to know a few things first. Below is a quick primer on five important aspects of securing disability benefits in Ontario:
- Know if your disability classifies as one. Your employer should have information on this, but a disability benefits lawyer also can help you determine if your disability qualifies for short- or long-term disability benefits. You’ll have disability benefits coverage through your work, the Canadian Pension Plan, or if you purchased it on your own. Learn more about the difference between short- and long-term disability in Ontario here.
- You’ll need to prove your disability with medical records. Insurance companies don’t exist to provide easy payouts, so they’ll be looking closely at your medical records and whether or not you exaggerate your condition, such as through posts on social media. Keep a pain or injury journal and make sure to attend every single doctor’s appointment. Keep in mind that while both short- and long-term disabilities require evidence to support a claim, the burden of proof is much higher for a long-term disability.
- Gather collateral evidence. In addition to a medical expert’s testimony, your friends and family may be able to vouch for your disability in your insurance claim.
- Prepare to negotiate. Many people don’t feel confident enough to do this on their own. At Preszler Law Firm, we go to bat for our clients against the insurance companies to collect all documentation and expert witnesses in order to fight for a fair benefits payout.
- Prepare to appeal. Insurers may try to deny your claim, even if it’s for something as simple as not filling out a form correctly. A disability benefits lawyer will provide you with the best chance of successfully winning an appeal.
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How an Ontario Long-Term Disability Lawyer Can Help
At Preszler Law Firm, we’ve been working with long-term disability clients on their benefits applications and appeals for nearly six decades. We’ve even created Guide to Long-Term Disability and Disability Claims FAQs pages, which can help Ontarians review their options for support through workers’ compensation, the Ontario Disability Support Program, and long-term disability insurance.
Our long-term disability lawyers are prepared to pursue your benefits quickly and thoroughly. Find out more ways we can help you win your long-term disability claim, and give us a call today at 1-800-JUSTICE or fill out our convenient online case evaluator form.