Autoimmune Symptoms, Stress, No Support in Waterloo

Forty-year-old Tim was no stranger to hard work. A chef at a popular downtown restaurant in Winnipeg, Tim had been working in kitchens across Manitoba since he was eighteen. Though he received a diagnosis of autoimmune disease Guillain-Barre syndrome when he was in his 20s, he had been mostly symptom free since.

Pandemic Uncertainty

Things changed very quickly at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic. In mid-March 2020, most stores and restaurants in Winnipeg shut down, scrambling to figure out what to do, and how to stay in business while keeping the staff and customers safe. Tim, worried about his job and concerned about how he’d continue paying his family’s bills, became increasingly stressed. He was also devouring anything he could read about COVID 19 and was realizing that his Guillain-Barre syndrome could put him at higher risk for more severe symptoms.

Once the restaurant opened back up again in April, they were only doing takeaway orders. These orders were coming in quickly, and the same number of kitchen staff continued to work in a small and hot kitchen area close together. Though they all wore masks, Tim felt like he was a ticking time bomb. He started feeling resentful every time he saw a mask slip down exposing someone’s nose.

Stress Levels Rise

The stress started adding up. And when restaurants opened back up for indoor dining several months later, Tim knew he couldn’t keep going in this environment. Takeout orders were still coming in, and now he had to deal with servers and customers crowding him for eight hours straight. Tim’s mental health suffered so much that he couldn’t sleep at night and the isolation of social distancing was making him feel loopy. He dreaded going to work each day, believing that that day was the day he would get COVID 19. He started having panic attacks each morning, hiding them from his partner and children.

One day at work, Tim’s fingers and wrists started to tingle. He knew that his anxiety had been taking a toll but didn’t realize that he was experiencing a flare up of his autoimmune disease. Over the next week he started feeling extreme weakness in his arms and legs and talking and swallowing became increasingly difficult.

When he was finally able to see his doctor virtually, she told him that she was concerned he was experiencing symptoms of Guillain-Barre syndrome and sent a referral to a specialist. Her medical opinion was sound, but the healthcare system was moving slowly due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. While Tim waited for his appointment and for any kind of treatment, he applied for short term disability from his work. He felt lucky that he even had disability benefits through work – a lot of his colleagues in the service industry were not so lucky.

Patiently Waiting

After several months on short term disability benefits, Tim, on the advice of his doctor, applied for long term disability benefits. He was trying to wait patiently to see a specialist and was taking the time to rest at home. He was also waiting patiently to hear about his benefits – and had to follow up several times with his case manager. When he finally heard back, he learned that his LTD benefits were denied due to his not receiving any treatment for his symptoms.

Tim was floored and had no idea what to do. He was panicked about having to go back to work, about how he would keep up, about potentially being fired because he couldn’t perform basic food-prep duties let alone run the kitchen.

Long Term Disability Lawyers Weigh In

He saw a Share Lawyers ad when scrolling Facebook to distract himself one evening. Share Lawyers, a disability law firm based out of Toronto, specialized in winning long term disability benefits for those who had been denied. He left a message for us that night and we called him back first thing the next morning – we knew that he had been waiting long enough.

As soon as Tim talked to us, he breathed out a sigh of relief. After discussing his situation, we assured him that he did have a case against his insurance company, that they had wrongly denied him, and that our disability lawyers would fight back on his behalf to get the benefits he deserved.

While our lawyers collected all relevant medical documents and informed Tim’s insurance company that we would be suing them for his benefits, Tim signed into the Life reBUILDER portal on the Share Lawyers website and found that he had several resources to help him in his time of need. He signed up for Maple Online Healthcare, which helped him get his prescription medicals quickly and without needing to leave his house. He knew that he was in good hands with our disability lawyers and was not surprised when he learned that we were able to secure his disability benefits in a lump-sum. He was grateful that the Life reBUILDER portal had links to free budgeting software as well, as his eldest daughter was to start university soon.

“Share Lawyers saved my life,” Tim told us by email after his case was closed. “Thank you so much for everything you’ve done. I could not have gotten this far without your supportive team. You guys are the real deal.”

If you have had your claim for long term disability denied in Waterloo,contactthe long term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our 35+ years of experience in long term disability (LTD) law can help you win your case against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and other insurance companies. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless you win your case. Join us on Facebook and become a Top Fan for a chance to win each month.


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