Denied Disability Claim For Addiction

Denied Disability Claim For Addiction

Applications for disability benefits with invisible illnesses are often held to higher levels of scrutiny. Addictions — alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex, etc are considered invisible illnesses, and are often heavily scrutinized. Leonard, a 43-year-old web developer, learned this the hard way. 

Leonard was walking home when he was involved in a car accident. Someone ran a red light and hit him as he was crossing the street. Thankfully, it was a small residential area, so the car wasn’t moving fast enough to cause any broken bone but Leonard suffered severe whiplash, a mild concussion, and a few cuts and scrapes. He recovered without incident, and was back to normal within a few weeks. He was also prescribed Percocet and Cyclobenzaprine, a muscle relaxant, to help manage his pain and stiffness. 

Leonard had never taken Percocet before. His entire life, he’d never taken anything stronger than Tylenol for headaches or sprains from running. He thought he’d be fine with stronger medication, but didn’t expect to become addicted. At first, he didn’t think too much of it. He was letting the medication do its job, and enjoying the pain-free relaxation that came with it. But soon, that became too enticing to say no to. He found himself lying to his doctor about his pain levels in order to get more medication. 

When he was working he couldn’t focus. He found himself getting easily distracted, eager for the sensation from the medication. He tried to stop taking them, as he realized they were affecting his performance but found he couldn’t go without them. He decided to just try to stop taking them, but the withdrawal symptoms were too much for him to handle. At work, his boss, Alex, started to notice a change in his demeanor. The quality of his work was suffering immensely and his behavior had become highly antagonistic. He would lose his temper with coworkers and with Alex, frequently lashing out over small issues. 

Alex confronted him about his shift in behavior. He suggested he should take some time off work, apply for Short term disability benefits and reassess his current condition. Alex said, without hesitation, that Leonard seemed to have become addicted to his medication, and that he wanted to help him. 

Begrudgingly, Leonard agreed. 

To help with his recovery, Leonard applied for short term and then long-term disability benefits with Alex’s help. Unfortunately, because addiction is an invisible illness, his physical ailments had long since subsided, and he was not in an active treatment program, so his claim was denied. Heartbroken and defeated, he wasn’t sure what to do. Thankfully, a friend of Alex’s had contested a denied claim the year prior with the help of Share Lawyers. Alex pointed Leonard in our direction, and we quickly got to work on his case. Our lawyers used their expertise in addiction and long-term disability to successfully argue that Leonard deserved the benefits he had applied for. Despite what seemed like many roadblocks to settle his case during the COVID-19 pandemic, Leonard’s case was settled sooner than he expected, and he was thrilled at the outcome – he was now able to focus on getting better and not worry about paying his bills. 

At Share Lawyers, we know that just because an illness isn’t immediately visible, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We’re here to believe you and fight for the benefits you need to recover from your condition and lead a normal life. 

If you or someone you know is living with addiction or mental illness, these national services and resources can help. You’re not alone. 
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.