We often receive questions from people about travelling or moving while receiving disability benefits: Can I leave the country while I’m on long-term disability? Am I allowed to move?
I will be answering some common questions about travelling for vacations, moving, and treatment while on long-term disability.
Read on, or click on a question below to see the answer:
This article is part of our Ultimate Guide to Long-term Disability Benefits.
Here at Resolute Legal we believe that vacations can be important for your mental health, and that you should still be able to travel — even if you’re dealing with a disability claim. With this being said, you should exercise some caution when going on vacations if you’re applying for a disability claim or if you’re on an approved claim.
If you have been taken off of work by your doctor and are planning on applying for disability benefits, it may raise some red flags if you go on a vacation right away. The same can be said once your claim has been approved. You might want to hold off on taking a vacation until your claim has been established for some time.
Of course, it depends on your situation. Sometimes you need to “read the room” with vacations — what would your insurance company think if you went on a vacation at this point in your claim? Would it discredit you or make you look bad? These are some things you need to think about.
If you are planning a vacation, your first step should be to visit your doctor and clear a vacation with them. If they think you can take a vacation, you should try to get them to write a short letter saying that you are cleared to go. Then, you can approach the insurer with the letter and inform them of your vacation plans.
We always encourage you to be upfront and honest with your long-term disability insurer. Don’t try to deceive them or withhold information. It can be hard to speak with them at times, but they can find out about you leaving the country and if you haven’t notified them, this can result in a termination of benefits.
Once you have the “OK” to take your vacation, you may want to get travel insurance in case anything happens and you need treatment or hospitalization while you’re away. We especially recommend this if you’re travelling in the United States or somewhere where healthcare is quite expensive.
Can I leave the country while I’m on long-term disability?
Generally, the answer is yes. Again, you will have to inform your insurer about your travel before you leave. It is always our advice to be upfront and honest with your insurer. Issues can arise when you don’t tell the insurer at all. You might also run into problems if you are going to be out of the country for several months each year. You might have to find a way to continue to receive treatment while you’re away.
Be sure to check your insurance policy or speak with your claims representative for any specific rules about travelling.
Can I travel to go care for a sick family member?
Often, people need to leave the country to care for a family member who has fallen ill. If you’re in this situation, be clear with your insurer about the reason you have to travel. Be prepared to answer questions about the tasks you might be dealing with while you’re gone. The insurance company might try to prove that you are able to work if you take on a lot of responsibility during your travel.
Can I leave the country for a vacation while I’m on CPP disability?
Yes, you can. You will need to tell Service Canada about your plans and confirm with them and your doctor. If you are going to be away for a significant period of time, be sure to supply Service Canada with your updated contact information so you don’t miss out on any important communication.
Generally speaking, it should be fine for you to move while you’re receiving disability benefits. As you might imagine, this depends on where you’re moving as well as your specific long-term disability policy. You will likely experience more hurdles and red tape if you’re trying to move to a different country as opposed to simply relocating within Canada.
Just as with travelling, we recommend being open and honest with your insurance company and Service Canada about where you are living and where you are moving to.
Can I move somewhere else in Canada while on Long-term disability?
Yes, you can; however, keep in mind that you need to continue receiving treatment once you’ve settled in your new location. This means you’ll need to find a doctor and/or specialists to continue your treatment.
Can I move to another country while I’m on long-term disability?
This depends on your policy. Most plans say you must live in Canada for 6 months out of a 12 month period. Do not try to deceive your insurer and pretend you have a residency in Canada when you do not; this can result in insurance fraud charges.
If I move somewhere else in Canada, will it affect my CPP disability benefits?
Moving to a new province will have no impact on your CPP disability benefits. If you are moving provinces, you need to notify Service Canada of your new address and phone number. They may transfer your claim to the appropriate regional Service Canada office; the only impact that will have on you is that you’ll be dealing with the new location if you need to contact someone about your CPP disability benefits.
Can I move outside of Canada if I’m on CPP disability?
Yes, you can. Make sure to inform Service Canada of your new address and phone number as problems will occur if they are not informed. If you don’t inform them and they send a letter to your previous address requesting an update, your failure to reply might result in a suspension of benefits.
It is your right to seek treatment for your condition. Sometimes this involves travelling out of Canada to see a specialist. If you’re travelling for medical care, the very first step is to clear this with your doctor and insurer. Of course, you will want your doctor to support your decision to get treatment in another country. When you’re ready to return home, always get a copy of your treatment records before you leave.
You may want to speak with a lawyer and doctor if you’re in this situation to make sure that your policy will allow this.
I hope this article has answered some of your questions about travelling while receiving disability benefits.