A Quick Guide on Disability Benefits for HR Executives and Employees

A Quick Guide on Disability Benefits for HR Executives and Employees

  March 11, 2024

SEB Marketing Team

Understanding disability benefits in Canada can be complex, often due to lack of direct information, misconceptions, and evolving policies that impact the lives of those seeking support for their unique needs. The number of Canadians with at least one disability has nearly doubled in the last ten years. In fact, 27% of people 15 and older are likely to experience a disability at some point in their lifetime. With as many as 43% of Canadian working households having someone take time off work because of a disability, it’s important to understand the financial impact and to recognize the likelihood of experiencing a disability. Let’s break down the basics of how disability benefits work, and the essentials you need to know.

Understanding Disability Benefits: Disability benefits are designed to provide financial assistance and support to individuals facing challenges due to a disability. These monthly benefits aim to bridge the gap for those who are unable to work or face increased expenses related to their condition.

Eligibility Criteria: To access disability benefits, employees must meet specific eligibility criteria. Generally, these criteria involve demonstrating a medical condition that significantly impairs their ability to work. It’s crucial to understand the specific requirements outlined by both federal and provincial programs.

Types of Disability Benefits: In Canada, disability benefits primarily fall into two categories: short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD). STD provides coverage for a temporary inability to work due to a health issue and this support can last up to 52 weeks. LTD offers support beginning after the STD completes and could last for up to two years.

Employer-Sponsored Disability Plans: Many employers in Canada provide disability benefits as part of their employee benefits package or as a voluntary product option. It’s essential for employees to familiarize themselves with their employer-sponsored disability plan, understanding the waiting periods, coverage limits, and any additional features offered.

Application Process: Applying for disability benefits involves submitting a comprehensive application, typically including medical documentation supporting the disability claim. Employees should be diligent in providing accurate and detailed information to ensure a smooth and efficient application process.

Roles of Employers and Insurance Providers: Employers play a crucial role in supporting employees through the disability benefit process through adequate communication and setting the right expectations. They often act as a liaison between the employee, insurance provider, and healthcare professionals. Understanding this collaborative effort is vital for employees seeking support.

Return-to-Work Programs: Many disability benefit programs in Canada focus on rehabilitation and facilitating a return to work when possible. Employees should be aware of any available return-to-work programs and engage with their employers to explore options for a smooth transition back to the workplace.

Navigating disability benefits might seem daunting at first, but armed with the right information, employees can access the support they need. By understanding the eligibility criteria and application process, as well as the types of benefits available, employees can confidently navigate the system, ensuring they receive the coverage and support essential for their well-being.

SEB is Canada’s leader in providing benefits administration solutions to over 400,000 plan members from Canadian companies,. For more information, check out our solutions page here.