The Different Kinds of Disability Programs in Canada

The Different Kinds of Disability Programs in Canada

In many workplaces, disability insurance is typically available as part of your group benefits insurance plan, and those plans will differ depending on the insurance company and the nature of the plan itself.

If you are self-employed, are a professional, or work as a freelancer you may not be eligible for group benefits.  You could investigate purchasing a private disability policy.

Group disability benefits are limited insofar as they only cover the employee (not their family) as long as they are working at the same company and meet the criteria of the plan.  Many companies do not offer any Long term disability coverage at all. That’s why it can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the different federal and provincial programs that are available across Canada.   You may not be eligible for every program, but every little bit helps, and being aware of your options will give you a better chance to maximize the amount of support you receive.

These are some of the federal programs that offer monetary relief and other benefits to workers with short term and long term disabilities:

Employment Insurance

Employment Insurance (EI) is a federal program available to all Canadians. It is intended primarily for those recovering from a short term injury or illness, or those who need to take some time off work for another reason (such as surgery or quarantine). EI coverage can last for as many as 15 weeks and provides recipients with financial support until they return to work.

Canadian Pension Plan Disability Benefits

The Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) is similar to EI, but is geared to those with long term instead of short term disabilities. Any Canadian who has contributed to the CPP over the course of their professional career may be eligible for disability benefits through the program, which can provide relief for periods of two years or more. Recipients are usually expected to have been in the workforce for four of the past six years. They will also require an official diagnosis from a doctor, who will attest to the fact that the disability is severe enough to keep them out of work.

Veteran Benefits

These benefits are reserved for Canadians whose disability is in some way related to their service in the military. You can find out more by clicking here.

There are also provincial and municipal programs that are available exclusively to those living and working in Ontario.

These are some of the provincial programs that offer monetary relief and other benefits to workers with short term and long term disabilities:

Provincial – Workers’ Compensation 

Most provinces offer workers’ compensation for those who are injured or fall ill due to events that occurred while they were on the job. The funds are expected to cover medical expenses (including the purchase of medical equipment), and to make up for lost income during the recovery. Most workers’ compensation programs expect that the employee will eventually return to work, though you can check with your provincial board to find out more about the requirements in your area.

Provincial – Disability Support Programs

These programs cover costs of living and other expenses for people with severe disabilities and are usually set aside for people with financial needs. That can make them more difficult to qualify for than some of the other programs, but it also means that they can be an essential source of support for people who are struggling. It never hurts to check to see what programs are available in your province.

Provincial – Welfare Programs 

Many welfare programs are run at the municipal or local level, rather than by the province. Each town, city, and county can have its own procedures for distributing funds, as can First Nations territories.

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.