What Conditions Qualify For Disability in Canada

Many employees may wonder what medical conditions qualify for disability in Canada. There is an extensive list of medical conditions that can make an employee eligible for long term disability and short term disability.

Arthritis, heart failure, and paralysis are examples of eligible physical conditions for long term disability. However, medical conditions do not need to be physical disabilities to qualify for disability benefits. Employees may also be eligible for long-term disability benefits with “invisible” conditions, including mental health disorders. For example, anxiety, major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder can all be reasons for someone being unable to return to work.

It is possible that any medical condition can make an employee eligible for disability benefits. It is the extent of the disability that matters and how much of an impact that disability has on your capacity to work. 

It is possible for each policy to have a different definition of disability. Some insurers may exclude certain conditions. However, most policies cover you regardless of the severity or type of illness you have provided you are unable to work at your own occupation or any occupation. The focus is always on the level of disability, not the actual diagnosis.

List of Conditions That May Qualify For Disability

Below is a list of common illnesses, injuries or other disabling conditions that may qualify you for long-term disability benefits:

  • Arthritis
  • ADHD
  • Asthma
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Drug addiction
  • Diabetes
  • Sleep disorders

This list is intended to only serve as an example of the conditions that could qualify an employee for long term disability benefits. It is not an exhaustive list. Any condition may entitle an employee to long term disability benefits if the condition is severe enough.

Note that it is possible for your benefit plan to exclude certain types of disabilities or medical conditions. If you are unable to perform your regular work because of a medical condition, and that condition is not excluded by the benefits plan, you may qualify for long term disability benefits. If you are denied disability, you should always speak to a lawyer. 

How To Qualify for Disability

To receive long term disability benefits, employees are typically required to show they are “totally disabled”. To be successful, an employee must first demonstrate that they are unable to perform substantially all essential and material duties of their own occupation as a result of their disability, which could include any of the conditions listed above and more. If successful, an employee will generally receive benefits for two years. 

After two years of receiving benefits, employees must demonstrate to their insurer that they are unable to perform any occupation which they are reasonably qualified for because of their disability. If successful, the employee could receive long term disability benefits until the age of 65 – the retirement age.  It can be very difficult for employees to prove that their disability prevents them from working any occupation. It is not uncommon for your claim to be denied. For that reason, having an experienced disability lawyer on your side will be extremely useful. You will be more likely to be successful and more likely to begin receiving your benefits sooner. 

Get Legal Advice

If you are applying for long-term disability benefits or have been denied a claim, it is important to seek legal advice regarding your options. Call Monkhouse Law today for a free consultation regarding your long-term disability claim.

This was written by Shane Burton-Stoner. Shane is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario and is an Employment Lawyer at Monkhouse Law. 

Monkhouse Law is an employment law firm located in Toronto focusing on employees’ issues. We offer a free 30-minute phone consultation. Please call us at 416-907-9249 or fill out this quick form.

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