After two years of being cooped up by pandemic restrictions, many of us have been longing to travel and put Omicron in the rear-view mirror. This includes people who are on long term disability in North Bay.
But those currently on LTD may be wondering, can you leave Canada while on long term disability? And will travelling impact my disability benefits?
Before travelling while on long term disability, you want to be sure you meet the requirements of your disability insurance policy and not jeopardize your recovery.
Consider these steps:
Review Your Insurance Policy
Look through your insurance policy to see if there are restrictions on travel outside of the country. You may be required to notify your disability insurance company if you are leaving for a certain number of days while other companies want to be notified if you are travelling outside of Canada period.
Your disability insurance company may take the position that if you can travel, you can go back to work. Make sure requested medical forms or documents are completed before you leave.
Get Your Doctor’s Clearance to Travel
Before booking your trip, check with your doctor first.
Your insurance company may require your doctor to verify that travelling is within your limitations and will not impede your treatment plan. Samantha Share, Assistant Managing Director at Share Lawyers said, “If you reach out to your doctor, they can confirm that leaving the country won’t cause issues with your recovery. That should be done as soon as possible.”
Contact a Disability Claim Administrator
If you’re unsure about the terms and conditions of the policy, contact your disability claim administrator for clarification. If you’re concerned that travelling will look bad for your claim, or even if you can’t find anything that prevents you from travelling outside of the country, it’s a good idea to check with your disability claim administrator.
Keep a Journal
Your doctor and the insurance company have given you the green light to travel, but you still have some reservations.
To ease your mind, keep a journal of your trip, including details of your activities, especially if you can’t do the things you used to do before your illness or injury. Share said, “If the insurance company is going to accuse you of doing something on vacation that you shouldn’t be doing, it’s a good idea to keep a record of what you’ve done.” Your journal can be evidence that your disability is impeding your daily life, even if you are well enough to travel.
Beware of Social Media
You may think posting your travel photos on social media is harmless, but your long-term disability insurance provider may see the images as a reason to revoke your benefits. Share said, “There is constant suspicion from the insurance company that a person is faking illness to receive benefits, but rarely is a recipient faking it.”
Insurance companies are notoriously tight-fisted and are looking for grounds to discredit your claim and stop paying benefits. Keep your information private and do not post anything about your case or condition. Share said, “An insurance company’s business model only works if they don’t have to pay people out. They will deny claims as widely as possible and then we come in and fight back on behalf of our clients.”
Contact a Long-Term Disability Lawyer
If your insurance company has a problem with you travelling and has revoked your benefits, you should not hesitate to contact a disability lawyer in Ontario to discuss your options more fully or use one of the free online tools available to find out if you have a valid disability case.
The longer you wait, the longer you will be without income. “A disability lawyer can get the appeal or lawsuit process started right away,” added Share. “They also can make suggestions regarding other forms of financial relief that may be available to the claimant while the claim is ongoing.”