[VIDEO] Are Addictions Considered Disabilities?

[VIDEO] Are Addictions Considered Disabilities?

Invisible illnesses and disabilities are often some of the most challenging when it comes to short- and long-term disability claims. The required criteria can be challenging to meet, and are often very easily disputed. Addiction can fall into this category, making applying for disability benefits with addiction a very challenging process.

According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), “mental health issues and addictions are ‘disabilities’ that are protected under the [Ontario Human Rights] Code.” This includes anxiety disorders, depression, post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD), and addictions to various substances. However, some insurance companies simply don’t recognize addiction of any kind as a medical disability, despite this flying directly in the face of the OHRC. This is where our clients may have a case.

At Share Lawyers, we have clients who suffer from a variety of addictions. This includes those related to pre-existing conditions, addictions that are self-contained and have no relation to other illnesses or issues, addictions to alcohol, opiates, and many others. At Share Lawyers, we recognize that addiction is a disability like any other, and we want to ensure that those living with addiction are able to get the help they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

Some of the biggest challenges facing those living with addictions who are seeking long-term benefits are the loopholes designed to benefit insurance companies and keep those in need out. “Most insurance companies are going to deny people who have an addiction,” says Samantha Share, an associate lawyer with Share Lawyers, “unless they’re in an appropriate treatment for their condition, which is usually a rehab program.” But getting into one of these programs can be difficult and costly. On top of this, they can often have long waiting lists. Sadly, being on the waiting list just isn’t good enough for many insurance companies; you must be actively in the program for this to meet the criteria. This can often be the lynchpin that stands in the way of someone getting their benefits.

However, there is hope. While these cases can be difficult, Share Lawyers has been successful in fighting many of them and getting good settlements. We recognize that there are many deterrents that can stand in someone’s way, preventing them from getting help. This is no reason not to keep pursuing any avenue possible to get the benefits you need, and Share Lawyers will be there right alongside you every step of the way.


Has your long-term disability claim been denied? Contact Share Lawyers and put our experience to work for you. We have recently settled cases against Standard Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and much more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.