Understanding Disability Benefits

Closeup shot of a man sitting in a wheelchair

Having to take time off work due to illness or injury can be scary and unpredictable. Luckily, there are several potential sources of disability benefits that could be available to you. In this article, we are touching on some of the most common sources of financial support for leave due to temporary or permanent disability.

Sources of Short-Term Income Replacement

For a leave of a short-term nature (a few months), there are various private and public benefits that can help until you are able to return to work. Your employer may offer paid sick leave, particularly if you are in a unionized position. Your private insurance plan may include short-term disability benefits, if you or your employer has disability insurance coverage for you. There are also government benefit systems that can help. For an on the job injury, Workers Compensation (WCB) benefits may be available. Employment Insurance may also be an option. Not only are these benefits available when someone has lost their job, they are also available should you need to take sick leave. Your employer or union representative can tell you more about what short-term benefits might be available to you.

Long-Term Disability Benefits

Financial stress often becomes more serious if you are off work long-term due to a disability. Once EI runs out, many people with disabilities may face hard financial choices. If you are unable to work for a longer period of time, there are also various benefit systems available to help.

Employers often fund private Long-Term Disability (LTD) insurance as part of your compensation package. Your employer can tell you if you have LTD insurance coverage.

Many people suffering from a disability don’t realize that there are also government benefits available to help. These monthly benefits are provided by the federal government as part of the Canada Pension Plan – they are known as Canada Pension Plan Disability benefits. If you qualify, these benefits pay 55% of your pre-disability income. This can go a long way to making ends meet every month. Additionally, if you do have LTD coverage under a private insurance plan, the terms of that contract may require you to apply for government CPP disability benefits in order to access and continue to receive private LTD benefits!

Everyone’s circumstances are different and disability benefit plans and programs have different eligibility requirements. An experienced disability lawyer can help you navigate the various sources of support that may be available to you.


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