Are you considering returning to work after long-term disability Canada? It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to try and pressure their injured clients who have been off work and on long-term disability to return to work even when they’re not ready or able to. As a rule of thumb, you should only consider returning to work if:
- You feel ready to give it a try and,
- You have received clearance from your doctor
Can Your Insurance Company Force You Back to Work?
Certainly no. Your insurer cannot force you to return to work regardless of how long you have been off work. Some insurance companies will threaten to stop paying out disability benefits in an attempt to force you to return to work. Don’t give in to this pressure. You don’t have to return to work if the doctor hasn’t cleared you and you’re not ready.
Communicating to Your Insurer Regarding Returning to Work
It is illegal for an insurer to harass or bully you into returning to work before you are ready, especially if you have already informed them in writing. If you receive any requests from your insurance adjuster regarding going back to work, you can communicate to them in writing that the doctor has not cleared you to go back to work and that you’re not ready. You can also state that the premature request from your insurer is uncalled for and could end up causing you harm. You can solidify your claims by attaching a letter from your doctor that shows their expert opinion regarding your condition. If your insurer ignores this communication and continues to pressure you, seek legal help immediately.
As a reputable long-term disability law firm in Canada, we have helped many injured victims who are pressured and harassed by insurance adjusters to return to work before they are ready. Most of our clients are unaware that this kind of bullying is in breach of the insurance policy, and they need help to protect themselves so that they can continue receiving the benefits owed. Our long-term disability lawyers will protect your rights and ensure your insurer pays the LTD benefits you are owed.
5 Things to do Before You Return to Work
Returning to work after a long-term disability can cause a lot of anxiety. There’s a lot to navigate, and reintegrating may be a challenge if you’re not well prepared. We’ll share 5 tips on how you can plan your return.
1. Get clearance from your doctor
First things first, you will need to get some documentation from your doctor that states you can handle most duties in your job description. If you will need some accommodations or assistive devices, your doctor should include this too. Share this letter with your employer so that they can start planning for your return and make any necessary changes in your workspace or job.
2. Consider a gradual return to ease the process
Instead of going back to work full time, consider working a few days or partial days at first to see how the new routine is affecting your health. This is likely going to be a hard transition, but a gradual return can help ease the process. If you will only be paid part-time, your insurer can still make partial payments during the transition. Contact your employer and insurer to find out.
3. Reconnect with colleagues before you return to work
It’s a good idea to start rebuilding your relationship with colleagues as you plan the return process. You will need to get up to speed about the projects you are likely to be involved in. Get in touch with your supervisor to have an idea of what projects you’ll be handling when you’re back and whether there are changes in processes or documentation that you need to be aware of.
4. You have a right to ask for disability accommodations
Don’t be afraid to ask for accommodations such as a desk and chair that are more appropriate for you. You may also request changes to your job, such as being able to work from home or getting some administrative help with some tasks allocated. There are companies that may not be able to provide certain accommodations due to their small size and undue hardship, but larger organizations usually have greater responsibilities to their disabled employees.
5. Ask for help
If you experience difficulty during the transition, such as colleagues making discriminatory comments, work with HR to have this resolved. Don’t be quiet if the transition is not working out or you’re being discriminated against. It’s your right to be respected like any other employee at the workplace.
What to Do if Your Attempt to Return to Work was Premature
If you attempted to go back to work, but the transition became too difficult, have a discussion with your employer or HR department. It is important that you communicate the exact issues you’ve been experiencing since you returned to work that prevents you from doing your duties.
Next, follow up with your doctor and express the issues you’ve been experiencing since you returned to work, including any symptoms, pains, and limitations that hinder your work. Your doctor needs to be aware of these issues so that if you need your LTD benefits reinstated, the medical report can support that move.
Lastly, let your insurer know why your attempt to return to work has failed, and you need to be put back on LTD benefits. Most insurance policies have a recurrence clause that allows you to receive benefits if you return to work and realize that you are still disabled. To qualify for benefits, you will need to provide supporting documents such as letters from your employer and doctor regarding the struggles you are experiencing while at work.
However, take note that the long-term disability return to work recurrence clause is only valid for a limited amount of time. Typically, you will be required to send a request for reinstatement of your LTD claim within 6 months of your initial attempt to go back to work. That means that if this allowable time period lapses, you will be required to submit a new disability claim. Your long-term disability lawyer can review your policy and help you understand the time limit in such situations.
What to Do When Your Insurer Denies Benefits After a Failed Return to Work Attempt
If you applied for benefits after your initial attempt to return to work failed and it was denied by your insurer, call our disability lawyers immediately. There’s a high chance that your insurer will not back down until you take legal action to address the matter. You will need sound legal advice to act against your insurer for refusing to reinstate your long-term disability benefits. You have up to two years to start the claim and have your benefits paid to you. Once the two-year mark lapses, you might lose any chance of getting any of your benefits owed.
If you are experiencing any issues with your long-term disability claim in Canada, we’re here to help. We have years of experience both in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. We can work with your employer or the insurance company to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Our team comes with the experience, tenacity, and determination to ensure that you get the advice you need and all the benefits owed to you in full. Talk to our experienced disability lawyer today to discover your rights.