What is the difference between short-term and long-term disability?

What is the difference between short-term and long-term disability?

Disability is a very broad term that covers many forms. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) outlines s.10 (1) which defines the term “disability” as it pertains to the Code. The OHRC states disability can be defined as a physical disability that causes injury or impairment, mental or developmental impairment, mental disorder, learning impairment, or strictly a provoked injury. If an employee has become injured, the injury can be either minor or major to be categorized as a disability. The key element is whether they have been constrained from performing their job to the expected degree.

What is the difference between long-term and short-term disability?

Short-term disability insurance is an income replacement benefit that employees can receive while they are briefly injured. This period will not last longer than six months, or at most, fifty-two weeks of leave. An employee who would be likely to file a short-term disability claim is someone who has broken their ankle at work and requires 3 months on crutches. This employee would not be able to perform their work duties with this injury and would require this period off from work.

Long-term disability insurance provides support for a period longer than six months. This level of disability would be a substantial injury that would take longer than six months for recovery, or if the employee’s disability is permanent. A long-term disability could be anything from a mental illness, like depression, to a permanent physical impairment like scoliosis.

How should an employee know whether they should choose a short-term or long-term disability?

The key differentiation between knowing whether the employee suffers from a short-term or long-term disability is not the is not the diagnoses itself, but how much it restricts the employee from performing their job.

It is important to note that short-term disability and long-term disability are two different plans. If your short-term injury becomes more long-term, you will have to apply to long-term insurance separately. When applying for short term insurance, the employee would file a claim to receive Employment Insurance (EI), whereas if the employee was undergoing a long-term disability, they would file a claim to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP).

If an employee’s disability is categorized as long-term, they must apply to both short-term and long-term insurance. Why? The reason to file a claim for both plans is because short-term disability provides the employee with income replacement benefits for up to six months, and following that period, the long-term disability plan will help with the remainder of the leave. This is critical because short-term plans usually offer more income support than long-term plans (short-term is often 80% while long-term is up to 60%).

If you wish to file a claim, your claim has been denied, or your employer is failing to accommodate, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.