Did you know that 1 out of 5 people over 15 years of age have a disability in Canada? With so many people qualifying for disability you might be looking into applying for disability yourself. If you are not familiar with the lingo and the steps, it might seem overwhelming and a bit confusing.
Keep reading to learn about the different disability programs and how to apply for them if you qualify.
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Knowing and understanding the different types of disability plans will make it easier for you to know what exactly you might qualify for. In some cases, you might qualify for more than one disability benefit.
If you have a disability that is not permanent and will last anywhere between 1-3 months then you can apply through your employer’s short-term disability program. Keep in mind that not every employer offers short term disability. If your employer does not have this program then you might qualify for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits.
There are some employers that will offer sick days as part of their benefits package. If you go on disability leave, these are the first hours that you will have to use. Usually, you can have the sick hours add up to weeks or months of pay.
This program will give you a temporary income replacement for up to 15 weeks. In order to qualify for this program, your income has to be reduced by at least 40%, you have to have earned 600 hours of insurable employment, and you have to be employed by a qualifying employer.
Canada Pension Plan Disability
Most Canadian workers can apply for disability payments through the Canada Pension Plan. In order to qualify for this program, you have to be under 65 years of age, not able to work because of a disability, and you have to have made recent contributions to the Canada Pension Plan.
Keep in mind that before you can become 100% eligible you have to be off work for 4 consecutive months.
How to Apply for Disability in Canada
Once you figure out what you might qualify for, you might also want to consult a reputable lawyer such as Preszler Law Firm to help you navigate through the paperwork and the disability system.
These are the steps that you will have to go through in order to get approved:
First, you have to make sure that your doctor is on the same page as you and supports you. If you attempt to make any type of disability claim without your doctor supporting you, more than likely you will be wasting your time.
Most disability plans will deny your application if your own doctor does not support you because they will not see your claim as being true. Your doctor has to agree that your circumstances do not allow you to work in order to get approval for disability.
Once your doctor agrees with you then you can start gathering the application forms that you have to fill out. Every disability program has its own forms and procedures to follow so you have to make sure that you read the exact process for the one that you are applying for to avoid getting denied.
If you are applying for short-term disability benefits you will gather these forms from your employer, if you are covered under group disability plans via your employer. If you are self-employed then you will get the forms from your insurance company or your insurance broker.
If you are applying for a Canada pension plan disability then you can pick up the application from any Service Canada office or you can download them online.
Once you have the correct form you want to fill it out and gather any supporting documents that you need. Usually, you will have at least 2-3 forms that you have to fill out and in some cases, your employer might have to fill out a form as well.
The form that you have your doctor fill out, take the time to read it over carefully to ensure that it is 100% accurate. Sometimes a doctor might forget to mention key medical conditions that are necessary for the disability department to approve your application.
When everything is filled out by you, your doctor, and employer, submit the application to the disability program you are applying for. Once they have your application they will assign a claim representative to your case to review it.
If they need anything cleared up they will contact you directly or write to you for clarifications on your application or for more information. Make sure that you always cooperate and give them the information they request to the best of your ability.
Last but not least, is the waiting game. Usually, you will wait around 30 days for the claim representative to make a decision. They will let you know if they either approve or deny your claim and the reason for the decision.
If for some reason, you are waiting months for a decision you want to contact your representative and figure out the reason for the delay.
Ready to Apply?
Now that you are more familiar with applying for disability in Canada, you can decide what programs you feel you qualify for. Then contact an attorney that is familiar with disability cases and take all of the necessary steps above to apply.
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