Q: How long does it take to get short-term disability?

A: All policies are different, but It usually takes about 5 business days for benefits to kick in. The first five days of the STD period count as sick days, then STD benefits kick in. It also generally takes the same amount of time for your claim to be assessed. Once your claim is approved, your insurance provider will notify you. The quicker you fill out and submit your application to your insurer, the sooner you’ll get your benefits. Some insurers use delay tactics to discourage you from getting what’s owed to you. This is where one of our experienced lawyers can help.


Q: How much money will I get?

A: Short-term disability benefits are calculated based on a percentage, usually 65%-100%, of weekly earnings for a specified duration of time, as set out in the insurance policy.


Q: How many weeks does short-term disability last?

A: Short-term disability benefits last 4-6 months. This can vary depending on the insurance company or the particular policy. Be sure to check your policy to avoid any surprises.

Q: Can I get fired while on Short-Term disability?

A: Your employer has the right to fire you while you’re on short-term disability. The employer must give proper notice or pay severance. However, for practical reasons, employers generally avoid firing employees on disability. Human rights law prevents disability-based discrimination. This means the reason for your firing cannot be your disability. To avoid violating human rights law, most employers will avoid firing someone on short-term disability. If you are considered disabled under human rights legislation your employer has a duty to accommodate your disability.


Q: Can I work another job while on short-term disability?

A: If your insurance policy has an “own occupation” definition of disability you can work another job while on disability and still collect benefits as long as the duties of the other job are substantially different from your job. However, doing so could prejudice your LTD claim and may also give the impression to your employer that you have resigned. Consult an employment lawyer today if you are unsure what to do.


Q: Can I travel while on short-term disability?

A: Technically, yes. However, this may not be a good idea. It is important to show that you are committed to your recovery and that you are genuinely injured and unable to work. Travelling out of the country, especially for pleasure, sends the message to your insurer that you are not committed to your recovery and speedy return to work or that your injury is not as serious as you claimed.


Q: Can my employer contact me while on short-term disability?

A: Yes. You are still an employee while on short-term disability. Your employer can contact you to inquire about your readiness to return to work, accommodation requirements or for other work-related issues. Repeated contacts requesting information or urging you to come back to work prematurely over a short period of time may constitute harassment. Contact one of our lawyers today if your employer is harassing you about prematurely returning to work.


Q: Do I need a doctor’s note for short-term disability?

A: Yes. It is essential that you have medical evidence to substantiate your claim. Insurance companies are vigilant in spotting fraudulent claims and will not approve your claim if it lacks medical evidence from a doctor to back it up. Other experts like occupational therapists may also provide you with documentation to further substantiate your claim.


Q: What medical conditions qualify for short-term disability in Ontario?

A: Any injury or illness that affects your ability to work may qualify you for disability benefits. To get short-term disability benefits you must be “totally disabled”. The test for determining whether you are totally disabled is whether you can perform the duties of your own occupation. A total disability doesn’t mean that you are physically unable to do any part of your job, but rather that your injury/illness makes you unable to do the essential duties of your job. You may be able to claim disability benefits for physical injuries and/or mental illness such as:

  • Back injury
  • Brain injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Visual Disorders


Q: How do I apply for short-term disability?

A: First get the application forms from your employer or directly from the claims administrator or insurance company. There are usually three forms for STD: the employee statement, the attending physician’s statement, and the employer’s statement. You’ll need to fill out and send in the first two forms to HR or the plan administrator. Once the application is received, a case manager will be assigned to adjudicate your claim. They’ll contact you to get further information and discuss your claim as well as answer any further questions you have. Your claim will be approved or denied based on your eligibility.

Disclaimer: While there are general rules that apply to most STD policies, every policy is different. It is important to check your policy. If you need assistance reviewing your policy don’t hesitate to contact one of our lawyers today.

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