How important is your credibility when you are receiving disability benefits from your short or long term provider disability benefits provider? Like most cases, credibility is extremely important in short-term disability and long-term disability claims. While your injuries are significant, and your doctors agree that you are unable to work, any unintentional or intentional misstatement can damage your credibility. A lack of credibility can have a negative impact on your case at any point up to and including trial, where it is arguably of most importance as you are judged by six strangers.
Insurance companies that provide long-term disability benefits such as Sunlife, Manulife, Great West Life, and RBC will thoroughly review your file and any documents they receive regarding the same. This can and will likely include your family doctor records and any statements you have made to them.
There is also an important distinction to be made between consistency and credibility. Though the two are different, they are strongly related. Inconsistent reporting of your symptoms or inconsistencies in your application for Canadian Pension Plan benefits, for example, will become known to a long-term disability provider and possibly used against you.
Finally, after starting your short-term disability or long-term disability claim, the insurance company has the right to investigate you. This may be done by traditional surveillance, however more and more insurers are using social media, and what they find, against disability claimants.
It is important to keep the following two simple principles in mind when engaging with social media after you’ve started a long-term disability claim:
1. Assume that whatever you post online can and will be seen by EVERYONE because it likely will. Despite what you may believe about privacy settings, or having an online name that differs from your real name, if it’s online it has or will be seen.
2. Whatever you post online stays online forever. Even though the option to delete your account is available, that information is and will be stored somewhere digitally. This creates, at the very least, the possibility that it may be accessed and used against you during your claim for long term disability benefits.
A more in depth blog regarding engaging with social media while you have an ongoing long term disability or pain and suffering case will be posted soon.
Maintaining your credibility during a disability claim puts pressure on the insurer and ensures your claim will be taken seriously. Furthermore, it increases the likelihood of a successful outcome whether through early resolution or at trial. If you have questions or concerns about your claim for long-term disability benefits, do not hesitate to contact a lawyer immediately.