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How will LTD impact your health and dental benefits?

If you are on long-term disability benefits due to an injury or illness after paying your premiums faithfully while you were healthy, you might have many unanswered questions. These questions might not only involve the claims process and the benefits you could expect to receive but also about what will happen to other job-related benefits such as dental and health benefits. If you are unable to go back to work, can your employer suspend those benefits?

If you were only employed by a business for a short time before you became disabled, your employer might not be willing to continue benefits for health and dental expenses until your LTD benefits terminate -- or at all. If your health deteriorates and you have significant costs to obtain the medication you require, your disability benefits may not be sufficient. If your employer then terminates your medical benefits, it could put you in a precarious position.

Is it the company's choice?

An organization can choose how it will approach such issues, based on its culture and the company's benefits policy. However, it must remain aware of its obligations related to vacation or service accrual along with pension contributions and insurance plans that cover accidental death or dismemberment as well as extended plans for health and dental care.

Aspects to look for in a disability management policy

If an employer chooses to terminate continued benefits, he or she must ensure the decision meets legal requirements. You may want to look at your employer's human resources policy with a particular interest in the following aspects:

  • Roles and responsibilities: What were the roles of you and your employer when you became disabled?
  • Information and timelines: Did you provide the necessary medical notes, information and reports along with functional abilities forms within the required timelines?
  • Type of disability program: Is the disability program a continuance program, and what benefits will it pay?
  • Information privacy: Will your medical information be protected and who will have access to it?
  • Return-to-work process: If your disability turns out not to be permanent, how will your return to work be handled?
  • Redeployment: Will the organization offer accommodation, retraining or redeployment within the company in the event of recovery?
  • Benefit contributions: For how long will benefits and health and dental payments continue, and will your employer expect you to contribute a portion of the contributions even if you are on long-term disability?

The aging workforce in Toronto and the rising costs of medications and prescription drugs may cause organizations to review their policies related to employees who are on long-term disability benefits. A lawyer who is experienced in the field of disability laws can help you find answers to your questions, explain your rights and provide the support and guidance you need to work toward the highest level of financial stability under the circumstances.

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