Applying for short term disability, or if you have passed the obligatory waiting time (elimination period under your disability policy), long term disability, can be very distressing. While you wait for approval your financial commitments such as rent, credit cards and mortgage payments can pile up putting you in a difficult position.
Thankfully, in Ontario there are a few benefits available to you if you are injured and unable to work. Below is a brief list of benefits you may qualify for after becoming injured. Please note, you may also apply for these benefits even if you have applied for short term disability or long term disability.
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
ODSP is a Provincial program that offers income support for those with a disability. The maximum you may qualify for under ODSP is approximately $1,000.00. To qualify for ODSP you must meet the following conditions:
- Be at least 18 years old;
- Be an Ontario resident;
- Be in financial need; and
- Meet the program’s definition of a person with a disability, or be a member of a Prescribed Class.
Canada Pension Plan Disability (CPPD)
CPPD is a Federal program that offers disability benefits and income support for those with a disability. The maximum you may qualify for under CPPD is approximately $1,300.00, however the average recipient receives approximately $1,000.00. To qualify for CPPD you must meet the following conditions:
- Have a severe and prolonged disability;
- Be under the age of 65; and
- Meet the CPP contribution requirements.
Income Replacement Benefit (IRB)
You may qualify for the IRB if the disability preventing you from working was caused by a car accident. You are entitled to a maximum of 70% of your pre accident income up to a maximum of $400.00 per week. For example, if you were making $1,000.00 before your car accident, although 70% is $700.00, the most you will receive each week is $400.00. This can increase if optional benefits are available. To qualify for the IRB, you must meet the following conditions:
- Earned income in the last year before the accident;
- Be at least 16 years old; and
- Suffer a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of your employment or self-employment (if you are self-employed).
Employment Insurance (EI) benefits
EI Sick Benefits are available to you if you are unable to work due to sickness, injury or quarantine. You will need to obtain a medical note from your doctor speaking to the medical reason(s) you cannot work. To qualify for EI Sick Benefits you must meet the following conditions:
- You are employed in insurable employment;
- You meet the specific criteria for receiving EI sickness benefits;
- Your normal weekly earnings have been reduced by more than 40%; and
- You have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment during the qualifying period.
Even if you are denied long term disability benefits by an insurance company, you may still apply and qualify for the above benefits.
A Few Things to Remember
Applying to these programs may decrease any disability benefit you eventually receive from your long term disability insurer. There can be consequences if you are entitled to one of these benefit programs and fail to apply for them. Most disability policies allow your insurance company to estimate how much you would get under one of these benefit programs and deduct that estimated amount from your short or long term disability benefits. This is typically known as an “offset”.
If you have been denied disability benefits or have specific questions about the benefits described above and how to access them do not hesitate to contact a long term disability lawyer. Consultations are typically free. You have nothing to lose and lots to gain.