How Will COVID-19 Affect My Long-Term Disability Claim?

How Will COVID-19 Affect My Long-Term Disability Claim?

The COVID-19 pandemic is already a defining moment of the century. The virus has completely disrupted the normal social order and created an overwhelming sense of economic uncertainty as social distancing relegates people to their homes and forces many businesses to shut their doors.

It should go without saying that the threat (or reality) of losing your job can make a public health crisis even more stressful. That’s why it can help to know what resources – including disability benefits – are available to you if you do become sick during the pandemic.

So how will the coronavirus affect a long term disability claim? For the most part, the answer is relatively straightforward. Long term disability benefits are designed to cover any health condition that prevents you from fulfilling the day to day responsibilities of your job.

COVID-19 is no exception. You would be eligible for benefits if the virus (or complications from the virus) prevents you from working for a significant stretch of time. However, you would still need to follow the normal procedures for disability claims, which is to say that you would first need to apply for short term disability benefits or EI. You would then be able to file a long term claim if your symptoms persist beyond the short term disability window. 

By the same token, a positive COVID-19 diagnosis should not have any impact on a pre-existing disability claim. The illness would further compromise your health and your ability to work, both of which would warrant the continuation of your benefits.

It’s also worth noting that the health impact of the coronavirus can go well beyond physical symptoms. Many people have understandably felt far more stress and anxiety than they would in normal circumstances, and that toll could become come even more pronounced as people spend more time in isolation.

Thankfully, mental health issues are subject to the same guidelines as physical disabilities, in the sense that the source of the condition does not matter. Long term disability benefits will cover any mental health condition, as long as your doctor is willing to attest to the fact that your symptoms are severe enough to stop you from doing your job. That means that depression, anxiety, and other disorders that stem from the coronavirus (and the related upheaval) are covered under existing disability law, whether or not you display any of the physical symptoms associated with the virus.

If you do become infected, there is a chance that COVID-19 could interact with other physical and mental health conditions in unexpected ways. You’ll need to consult with a medical professional if that proves to be the case. The disease itself is still quite young, and it will likely be several months (if not years) before the medical ramifications are fully understood.  

Of course, getting a disability claim recognized can be a challenge even during the best of times. That’s where Share Lawyers can help. If your application gets denied, we can make sure that you get the benefits you deserve.

COVID-19 is stressful enough without the added pressures of the legal system. Our phone lines are still open, so please reach out to find out what we can do for you!

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 Great-West Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.