Do you suffer from the long-term, debilitating symptoms of psoriatic arthritis? Does the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling associated with psoriatic arthritis leave you unable to fulfill your duties at work or struggling with everyday life?
If so, you can certainly — though not easily — win disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis in Canada.
Anyone applying for disability insurance benefits in Canada faces an uphill battle. Often, insurance companies deny claims even if their claimants are legitimately disabled. If you have already started the process of applying for disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis, you already know how difficult it can be.
Many people are not aware of psoriatic arthritis, let alone how difficult it can be for those who are suffering from the chronic symptoms of the disorder.
Thankfully, winning long-term disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis is not impossible, and this article will address the unique challenges and steps involved in winning disability benefits in Canada.
If you want to understand psoriatic arthritis, disability benefits in Canada, and how to prove disability for psoriatic arthritis, you have come to the right place. This article will help you to take the first steps toward securing the benefits and support that you are entitled to. This article is part of our series looking at medical conditions and disability benefits.
What is psoriatic arthritis?
Psoriatic arthritis is a joint disorder that can affect people who already have the symptoms of psoriasis. Psoriasis, in turn, is a skin condition associated with red patches and scaly skin. While most people see symptoms of psoriasis first, followed by the joint problems of psoriatic arthritis, some experience psoriatic arthritis before the red patches or scaly skin appear.
Psoriasis on its own is irritating enough. Caused by skin cells being created ten times faster than usual, psoriasis manifests as the old skin cells reach the surface and cause the red patches and white scales seen in most psoriasis cases. These symptoms are primarily found on the scalp, knees, and elbows (but can sometimes afflict the palms, soles, and torso).
Psoriatic arthritis stems from psoriasis – 10 to 30 percent of Canadians with psoriasis will also develop the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. The symptoms are quite similar to arthritis: swollen extremities, lower back pain, and foot pain.
The primary source of disability arising from this condition is related to inflammatory arthritis, which can result in long-term damage to the joints, fatigue, and chronic pain.
In fact, the development of psoriatic arthritis often introduces even more debilitating symptoms than the original disease. Because psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease, it generally only gets worse over a long period of time.
If you already have psoriasis and begin to experience joint pain, be sure to tell your doctor. There is no cure for either psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Instead, treatment is available to address the symptoms and prevent them from worsening.
Types of disability benefits available in Canada for psoriatic arthritis
If your work activities are directly related to your symptoms, winning disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis is one of the first steps in ensuring that the condition does not get worse.
The good news is that you can successfully obtain disability benefits if you take the right steps. Unfortunately, not every Canadian who has psoriatic arthritis is eligible for long-term disability benefits. However, if you are a worker, then you may qualify for these benefits. If having psoriatic arthritis is truly keeping you from being successful and productive in the workplace, then it is certainly likely that you are eligible for long-term disability benefits.
When it comes to claiming long-term disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis in Canada, you might be eligible for one of two types of disability benefits if you are a worker. These are the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefits and the long-term disability insurance benefits.
CPP disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis
The CPP, designed to support you after retirement, also covers disability benefits that start once you have become disabled and last until you are 65. After that, these disability benefits are converted into regular pensions. In order to be eligible for the CPP disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis, you must have worked for four out of the past six years and have paid payroll taxes.
The CPP requires that you prove your disability is both prolonged and severe, leaving you unable to work. For this reason, psoriatic arthritis may qualify you for the CPP disability benefits, given the disorder prevents you from working.
Long-term disability insurance benefits for psoriatic arthritis
Group disability insurance policies are the most common type of disability insurance 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 provide both long-term and short-term disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis.
If you are suffering from chronic pain associated with psoriatic arthritis, you can apply for the long-term disability benefits if eligible. If successful, these benefits will provide you with monthly income payments during long absences from work. This can take the financial pressure of remaining at work through chronic pain off of you completely.
How to win disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis
Proving disability in the case of psoriatic arthritis is difficult, but certainly not impossible. The key to winning disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis is to submit a comprehensive and persuasive claim. A winning insurance claim is one that includes overwhelming evidence in favour of approval.
Proving disability in the case of psoriatic arthritis will involve blood tests confirming the presence of inflammatory arthritis, diagnostic imaging showing joint damage, and objective examination showing a reduction in strength or range of motion in your joints.
All of this involves several doctor visits, so be sure you are prepared when seeking medical documentation. Some of the questions you may need to answer include the symptoms you are experiencing, how long you have had them, what medications and supplements you currently take, what treatments you have tried, and what activities (particularly work-related) that make your symptoms either better or worse.
Many people with this condition 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 psoriatic arthritis. Other tests that you may consider in order to have complete medical documentation are a joint fluid test and x-rays, which can pinpoint psoriatic-related symptoms. Be sure to be completely honest with both your doctor and your employer about how the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis have impaired your daily activities and work.
If you plan to apply for disability benefits on your own or are already in the process of doing so, it is essential that you take the time to educate yourself about the entire disability claims process for psoriatic arthritis and have complete medical and employer documentation.
What to do if your disability claim for psoriatic arthritis gets denied
You’ve filled out the forms, and you’ve compiled as much evidence as you could get – and yet, the letter you get in the post a few weeks later politely denies you the right to disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis, effectively forcing you back to work.
This is a tough time, and I know that – I’ve seen it over and over again with my clients. You don’t know what you’ve done wrong, and a rejection can feel like a slap in the face. Being told your condition doesn’t warrant financial support to give you some space to breathe and focus on your recovery adds humiliation and frustration to the chronic pain. Having to force yourself back to work can have devastating consequences for your physical and mental health.
The good news is that you don’t have to simply accept that your rightful claims to disability benefits for psoriatic arthritis have been denied. You can appeal the insurance company’s decision instead.
I have years of experience with disability benefit claims, including many cases of psoriatic arthritis. I know what you are going through, and I’m confident that I can help you. You have a choice. You don’t have to let insurance companies get away with denying you the support you are entitled to by law.
If you would like to learn about alternatives if your claim is denied and inform yourself about the appeal process, you can take a look at our books, which you can order for free and will help you consider all your options.
Still feeling unsure about your disability claim? Sometimes a quick call with us can answer your concerns and help you move forward with confidence. Call us now at 1-888-732-0470 for a free consultation or click here to schedule online.