Are you struggling to win long-term disability benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Canada? Are you unable to go to work and complete your duties? If so, you are in the right place.
Winning disability benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be an uphill battle. Many employers are unaware of the impact working with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can have. Additionally, the process of applying for disability benefits can take time and otherwise become a difficult endeavour. The result? A nightmare that could leave you unable to work as you cope with the debilitating symptoms.
In this article, you will learn about the challenge of applying for disability benefits for Carpal Tunnel as well as the steps you need to take to win the financial assistance you are entitled to receive. This article is part of our series looking at medical conditions and disability benefits.
Disability Caused by Carpal Tunnel
Do you struggle with tingling or numbness in your hands, wrist, or arms? Do your hands ever become so weak that you drop items you are holding? If so, you may be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a compression of the median nerves in the wrist. Symptoms are initially felt at night when pain extends up the arm.
The diagnosis comes after electrodiagnostic tests. As gruelling as the process may be, remember that you are not the only one experiencing this condition. Thousands of other Canadians experience Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, which commonly appears during adulthood.
According to Canadian Medical Association, some Canadians are more at risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome than others. For instance, those with certain health problems that impact the joints and blood flow to the arms may be at higher risk. Women over 40 are also likely to experience these symptoms, especially if they partake in activities or work in an environment that requires repeated motions, like typing.
If you type or perform repetitive motions at work, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may prevent you from returning. You might not be able to work at all, especially if you consistently drop items or experience intense pain when you try to type. If it gets to this point, applying for disability benefits may be your only option.
Long-Term Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
When it comes to claiming long-term disability benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Canada, you might be eligible for one of two types of benefits: the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and long-term disability insurance.
CPP Disability for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The CPP was designed to support Canadians after retirement. However, it also covers disability benefits that start once you become disabled and last until you are 65. After that, these disability benefits get converted into regular pensions.
To be eligible for the CPP disability benefits, you need to have worked for four out of the past six years and paid payroll taxes. The CPP requires you to prove that your disability is both prolonged and severe, leaving you unable to work.
You apply for CPP disability by filling out the forms. Your doctor or nurse practitioner will have to fill out the medical report. Then, you send your application to a designated Service Canada office for your province.
If Service Canada denies your claim, you can appeal on two levels. The first is a reconsideration appeal. You must request a reconsideration appeal within 90 days of denial. If denied again, you must appeal to the Social Security Tribunal within 90 day as well.
Once you appeal to the tribunal, a judge or a three-person panel will decide your claim. You can attend the hearing to give evidence and answer questions.
Long-Term Disability Insurance Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Group disability insurance is the most common type of disability benefit in Canada. If your employer has insured you as part of a group, you are receiving your disability insurance through your job. These group disability insurance policies often provide both long-term and short-term disability benefits.
You may also have an individual insurance policy. These policies are common with those who are self-employed or underinsured. With private policies, the payment is usually a fixed amount. However, it might also be a percentage of your earnings.
If you are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you can apply for long-term disability benefits if eligible. If your application is approved, these benefits will provide you with monthly income payments during long absences from work in order to relieve some financial strain and pressure.
You apply for LTD by filling out forms and sending them to the insurer. You will probably have to complete three forms. There will be one for you, your employer (if applicable), and your doctor. Again, it’s on you to get those forms back in. You will not get a decision until the insurer receives all the forms.
If your application gets denied, your LTD plan may allow two to three internal appeals. If those fail, you will have an appeal hearing with an outside arbitrator or judge.
Other Disability Benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits
EI sickness benefits are temporary disability benefits paid through the federal government’s employment insurance (EI) program. EI pays 55% of your salary for 15 weeks. As of January 1, 2022, the maximum amount you can receive in a year is $60,300. This means you can receive a maximum amount of $638 per week.
To qualify, you must have paid into the EI program recently. You pay through deductions from your paycheque. These deductions are automatic. So, if you got an official paycheque, you paid into the EI program.
You apply for EI benefits online through Service Canada, from home or at any Service Canada office. You also need your doctor to fill out a form that confirms your inability to work for 15 weeks. Finally, your employer has to issue a Record of Employment (ROE) to verify your sick leave.
Short-term disability (STD) benefits
Short-term disability (STD) benefits are another temporary disability payment. They pay 50-67% of your regular salary. You can usually get them for 15-17 weeks but sometimes longer. You’ll typically receive payments weekly.
Employers offer these benefits through the company or a group insurance policy. In both cases, employers hire an outside agency to run the program for them.
You only qualify if your employer has one of these plans. Not all jobs offer this option. If your job doesn’t, then you may be eligible for EI sickness benefits.
You apply by getting the forms from your employer or the right insurance company. The application will include three forms. There is one for you, one for your doctor, and one for your employer. It’s your job to get all the forms filled and back to the insurer.
If your application gets denied, you can ask for an appeal. First, someone else in the company reviews your claim. This is called an internal appeal. You may have multiple of these appeals — up to three or four. If you aren’t successful with the internal appeals, you may have to appeal outside of the company. Your options will depend on your situation. You may have to go to an arbitrator or judge.
Worker’s compensation pays short- and long-term benefits to people injured on the job.
Each province has its own compensation program. To qualify, you must suffer a workplace injury or illness and work for a covered employer. That’s right; not all employers have coverage.
It’s possible to prove a workplace injury caused or worsened your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
To succeed in this claim, you need a medical doctor to support your belief that the workplace injury or illness is the direct cause of your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Workers’ compensation payments can overlap with EI, CPP, short- and long-term disability. You should seek legal advice for any concerns about payments. Depending on your province, you may keep some (or all) of your CPP disability and the workers’ compensation.
If workers’ compensation denies your claim, you should follow the appeal procedures for your province. These programs also have two levels of appeal: the internal reconsideration and the outside tribunal. In most provinces, this tribunal is called the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Tribunal (WCAT).
Provincial income support benefits
Each province in Canada pays income support benefits to people who can’t work because of disability. If you qualify, you can receive fixed payments for life.
You can qualify for provincial benefits even if you’ve never worked. However, they only apply if your total family income falls below a certain amount. This amount differs from province to province. Keep in mind family income doesn’t affect the approval process for other types of disability benefits.
You apply for provincial disability benefits with your local agency or program. As usual, your doctor will need to provide a report or certificate confirming you cannot work because of your medical condition.
For denials, you can appeal internally within the agency or program. In some provinces, you can also appeal to an outside tribunal for a final decision. Check with your province for the proper procedures.
Disability tax credit
The disability tax credit is a type of benefit that lowers your taxable income. To qualify, you must have a severe and prolonged impairment as defined by the program. However, this benefit has a higher standard than the others.
Qualifying for this credit can get some of your previous taxes refunded — depending on your condition’s timeline. You apply by filling out a T2201 form and sending it to Revenue Canada.
If Revenue Canada denies your claim, you can request an internal appeal. If that appeal fails, then you must go to the Tax Court of Canada to appeal again.
How to Win Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Disability Benefits
It’s difficult to recognize and diagnose Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. However, the real challenge is ensuring your insurance company takes your condition (and disability claim) seriously. You already know that insurance companies and disability programs do not want to fork over money for conditions like Carpal Tunnel.
One of the biggest points of contention surrounding this condition is whether or not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome prevents you from working. During the application process, you will be tasked with proving that your condition is serious, preventing you from participating in activities you once considered normal. Essentially, you must prove that you are disabled.
This can be extremely challenging, so here are a few ways you to prove to the insurance company you are deserving of disability benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Get a diagnosis
The first step to proving your case? Get an official diagnosis from a doctor. Your insurance company will look for any reason to prevent you from receiving disability benefits, and a lack of diagnosis is the first hole they will look for.
Additionally, the insurance company will look over every bit of testing you have undergone, ensuring that you have received every test necessary to receive the proper diagnosis. If any test or treatment is missing, you may not be eligible for disability benefits unless you receive them.
Report all other conditions
Insurance companies also want to know if Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is associated with another condition you may have, like diabetes or lupus. In some cases, an insurance company will mischaracterize your health issues or misrepresent some of your evidence. Even social media can be used to demonstrate that you may not be disabled.
Get the appropriate treatment
The insurance company will also assess whether you are taking the steps necessary to appease your symptoms. If the symptoms appear mild enough to allow you to return to work, the insurance company may require that you do so. Surgical and non-surgical treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be required.
You should also be getting treatment for all other conditions as well. For example, if you also have diabetes or arthritis, along with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, you must get treatment for each condition.
Make sure your doctor is accurately documenting all of this as well. At the end of the day, benefit providers base their decisions on the medical documents you have submitted. Even if you received world-class treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome without the proper documentation, you received no treatment from the insurer’s standpoint.
Document your limitations and pain
Ultimately, you must demonstrate that your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome severely affects your hands, wrists, and arms. It is not enough to simply have the condition. A lawyer will help to ensure that you can make a strong case for your condition, documenting the ways in which you are now unable to use your hands the way you once did.
Evidence of work-related limitations
Many people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are capable of working, so it is critical to identify the specific impairments that prevent you from working and qualify you for disability benefits for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Be sure to be completely honest with both your doctor and your employer about how the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have impaired your daily activities and work.
You will also want to record all the ways in which you have modified your work habits in order to maintain employment while dealing with heart disease.
You should also try easier jobs within your workplace before you apply. Until you do, the disability benefits providers will always doubt you. You might show that while your job had medium duties on paper, your employer made accommodations to qualify your duties as light.
If you were forced to change jobs as a result of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, make a note of that too.
Credibility is key
It is vital that a person seeking Carpal Tunnel Syndrome disability benefits maintains a level of total honesty throughout the process. Credibility is intensely important when making a legal claim for disability benefits associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Because the condition is so hard to win disability benefits for, you must not pursue any activities that could undermine your believability.
Any exaggerations or inconsistencies in descriptions of symptoms can hurt credibility, even if the inconsistency is an honest mistake.
- Contradicting medical records or earlier statements
- Making excuses or blaming others for problems
- Criticizing other parties in the claim (even if they deserve it)
- Filing complaints against professionals you see as negative, biased, or unprofessional
- Using aggressive, sarcastic, or confrontational tones in your claim or testimony
- Blocking or stalling reasonable requests for information
- Fighting with doctors over your diagnosis instead of focusing on the disability
- Acting like a medical expert
- Making sure what you say matches the medical records
- Taking responsibility for errors or problems with your claim (not blaming others)
- Being cooperative and respectful of everyone in the claim
- Accepting expert advice and opinions
- Making good faith efforts to try all reasonable advice, even if you disagree with it
- Obvious efforts to keep working
Work with an experienced disability lawyer
In order to win benefits, your claim needs to be totally bulletproof with an unshakeable foundation. Oftentimes people are legitimately disabled, but you cannot prove it without the right support. Resolute Legal’s disability lawyers see cases like this daily, and they know exactly how you can prove your case.
At Resolute Legal, we help clients at all stages of their claim, including the initial application, internal appeals and lawsuits. We believe in early intervention, so we like to work with our clients as soon as possible. Why go through appeals when you could get approved on your first application? Book your free consultation today to learn how we can help you craft a bulletproof application.
What If Your Claim is Denied?
Now that you have already filled out the necessary forms and have gathered all your evidence, you have received that ominous letter. Unfortunately, it tells you that you do not have the right to collect disability benefits. Your only choice appears to be to go back to work.
This is where things can get tough. You have to figure out where you went wrong, and you may have no idea what you are missing. This rejection can be devastating, adding to the stress of your disability. You are forced to go back to work, wreaking havoc on your mental and physical well-being.
In fact, your insurance company might make you feel as if you do not have another choice in the matter. Don’t listen. You do have options.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You do not have to accept the letter as the end of your application process. You have the right to appeal a decision made by your insurance company. This is where I come in.
I have experience dealing with insurance companies and disability benefits claims, especially when it comes to cases like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I know the emotional and physical pain associated with this condition, and I know that you do not have to let insurance companies deny you the support the law entitles you to.
These cases can be quite difficult to win, but they are not impossible. With Resolute Legal on your side, you can win. Documenting your loss of fine motor skills is essential to creating a solid case, but only a lawyer can help to ensure that your documents result in a winning case. It can start with documenting your housekeeping abilities and eventually develop into showing your inability to continue going to work, where repeated motions exacerbate your condition.
We know how to win your case and want to help you. Call us at (888) 732-0470 to get started on winning back the benefits you deserve.
Next Step – Get Your Free Books
Start making better decisions today. Subscribe to our email newsletter to get free downloads of our books on winning disability claims.