Disability insurance is meant to provide peace of mind in case your physical and/or mental health stops you from working. Often employers will purchase disability insurance on behalf of their employees, as part of an employee benefit program. Individuals may on their own purchase disability insurance, as well. In any case, disability insurance is meant as a safety net, to help cover living and general expenses in the event you are unable to earn an income.

When a disability does occur however, claimants may find their expectations upset by an insurer that chooses to pay too little or unreasonably denies a claim. Dealing with the insurer in such circumstances is difficult and time-consuming, especially for someone attempting to recover from a disability.

A disability insurance policy typically entitles a disabled person to a portion of their lost income as well as other potential healthcare benefits. The maximum amount that may be paid, as well as the duration of the payments depends on the terms of the particular policy. Short term plans often have a maximum duration of less than one year. Long term plans can continue for a period from several years until the person reaches retirement age, but may have additional coverage.

Any disability – physical and/or psychological – that restricts a person from performing the essential tasks of their employment may entitle them to disability insurance benefits. However, there may be disagreement on the person’s ability to return to work or the extent of their disability. It would be a mistake to think that an insurer is correct in its determination of a person’s abilities and its decision as to the benefits (if any) to be paid.

A lawyer can help a disabled person with short and long term disability insurance claims disputes in at least two ways.

First, by meeting with the claimant in person and listening to their side of the dispute. The lawyer is then able to make an assessment as to the reasonableness of the insurer’s conduct and the potential to successfully dispute the insurer’s claim.

Second, the claimant can rely on the lawyer’s knowledge and experience to reduce the power imbalance between them and the insurer. The lawyer will use their own knowledge and experience to present the strongest argument in their client’s favour and guide them through each step of the process towards receiving the benefits they are properly entitled to.