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III

APPLYING FOR DISABILITY BENEFITS

Make sure you have read and understood your insurance plan. It is important to know whether there is a statement in your policy on “pre- existing conditions” because this may affect your eligibility. There may also be a clause stating that the insurance provider has a “right to refuse” or that there can be “non-compliance with recommended protocols”. Further, your plan may state that to be eligible, you must be unable to do “any” as opposed to “some” work. Various other conditions like these may be placed on your eligibility.

If you have an individual disability policy and you do not know or do not understand the details of your particular policy, contact the agent or broker who sold you the policy for clarification. If you have a group disability policy and you are not sure of your coverage, contact your union representative or the appropriate person in your Human Resources Department.

Once you know what your plan states, provide the information and supporting documents that your insurance provider requests. Make sure the documentation you provide is correct, thorough and consistent, and keep copies for yourself.

The following are some other details to remember about disability benefits provided by your insurance company:

Most policies require that you be under the constant care of a physician

Individual disability benefits are not taxable

Some group disability benefits are taxable and others are not. If the premium is paid fully by the employee, the benefit is not taxable. If the benefit is partially paid by the employer, the benefit is taxable. Most plans are designed to be non-taxable

You should keep a journal detailing your symptoms and activity level while receiving disability benefits

You should keep copies of everything concerning your disability. This includes all correspondence from doctors, all results of tests and any other relevant documents.

Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program MS Society of Canada, BC Division

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