Most Albertans are insured for long-term disability benefits through their employer. This coverage is designed to provide you with financial support if you’re suffering from an illness or permanent injury.
A disability can have an enormous toll on your life. In addition to not being able to work in person or remotely, it can prevent you from enjoying special moments with loved ones.
Now, if all that wasn’t enough, what if your insurance company decides to not provide you with the disability benefits you need to pay bills and put food on the table?
This is where an experienced disability lawyer can help. Here are the three things you need to do if your long-term disability (LTD) claim is denied in Alberta.
1. Understand your rights by speaking with a disability lawyer
In my experience, insurance companies believe that you will give up and walk away from money that is rightfully yours if they deny your LTD claim.
Unfortunately, many people do throw in the towel because they are unaware of their options after being denied.
If you are legitimately disabled, and your doctor supports you being off work because of your condition, then you likely have a case.
Our firm can assess your options and empower you to make the decision that is right for you and your family.
2. Focus on your health and continue treatment with your doctor
Your doctor can offer you the right support if you are suffering from an illness or injury. Follow their advice on what treatment you need and check with them to see how long you need to be off work.
Getting a letter from your doctor explaining why you are unable to work due to your condition is crucial. Medical professionals can help ensure that you remain off work until you are ready to return.
Pressuring individuals to return to work before their doctor recommends is a tactic that I regularly come across when dealing with insurance companies.
If you don’t return to work when your insurer asks you to, they might use your refusal as a reason to stop paying you benefits and close your claim prematurely.
When you follow your doctor’s advice for treatment, you protect your health and your entitlement to further disability benefits.
3. If your long-term disability claim is denied, you generally shouldn’t appeal
After your LTD claim is denied, you will likely receive a letter inviting you to appeal the decision. You might even be told that you must do so before a certain deadline.
While it may seem like a good idea to appeal, I generally advise against taking the insurance company up on their offer.
The appeals process is typically handled by the same insurer who denied your LTD claim in the first place. There aren’t set timeframes or deadlines for a decision and you won’t find anything about an appeal in most disability policies.
Your insurance provider has closed your claim and they want to keep it that way. This saves them time and money.
It’s very unlikely that an appeal will result in your insurance company reversing their decision. Instead, the process helps insurers run out the clock on your two-year window to file a legal claim against them to get the money that you are owed.
Let a disability lawyer fight for you
Your top priority should be your health and recovery. When our firm is formally hired to represent you, we will communicate with the insurance company on your behalf.
At Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, we regularly resolve LTD, life insurance and mortgage insurance claim denials in Alberta, and across Canada. Clients including Sandra Bullock and Julie Austin are two examples of how we hold insurance companies accountable.
Our lawyers provide free consultations and we don’t get paid unless we successfully secure the compensation from your insurer that you are legally entitled to.
Long-term disability claim denied? Asked if you want to appeal the insurance company’s decision?
Contact the firm or call 1-855-821-5900 to secure assistance from a disability lawyer in Ontario, British Columbia or Alberta. Get the advice you need — and the compensation you deserve.
Tamar Agopian is a disability lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, one of Canada’s leading law firms specializing in employment law and disability claims. She provides free advice as a host of Canada’s only Disability Law Show on TV and radio.