Returning to Work from Disability Leave

If you’ve been away from work on long term disability or short term disability, returning to the workplace can be a difficult and personal decision. Insurance companies will often pressure claimants to return to work before they are ready, and in ways that may interfere with medical conditions or ongoing medical treatment. If you are considering whether a return to work is right for you, your disability law team at Share Lawyers can help you weigh your options.

How Soon Should I Return to Work After Being on Long Term Disability?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this important question. You should ONLY consider returning to work when you feel you are ready to return, and also your doctor clears you to work. Beyond any question of disability benefits is your health, and how returning to work too early may exacerbate your medical condition.

Can My Insurance Provider Force Me to Return to Work?

Absolutely not, without exception. No insurer has the ability to force you to return to work. While they can threaten to stop your disability benefits, even saying they will end if you do not go back, but they have no authority to force you back to work. If you feel that your insurer is trying to force you back to work, despite any pain you may still be experiencing or medical treatments you are still receiving, it is important for you to not give in to this demand. Please speak to your doctor, or to the disability claim lawyers at Share Law for a free consultation.

If I Return to Work and then Realize it was Too Soon, What Happens?

Generally, long term disability insurance policies will contain a “recurrence clause” for just this situation. In order to go back on your disability insurance claim, there are three things you must do:

  • Have your return to work attempt documented, both yourself and by your employer or HR department. Be clear, and communicate any medical conditions and symptoms that prevent you from performing your work duties.

  • Consult with your doctor about any issues you experienced relating to your diagnosis. Resuming your disability benefits will likely require documented objective proof from your doctor, as well as their support.

  • Tell your long term disability Insurance provider, in writing (i.e. via email) what happened when you attempted to return to work, why your disability prevented you from working, and why you feel you need to resume your LTD benefits. It is particularly important to provide a letter from your doctor supporting your LTD claim.

How Much Time do I Have to Go Back on My LTD Benefits?

If your return to work has not been successful, most long term disability policies will have a limited amount of time to trigger the “recurrence clause” – typically about 6 months after your initial return to work. If you are outside of this window, you may need to submit an entirely new disability claim. Check your own disability benefits and policy for more information.

What are My Options if my Claim is Denied After a Failed Return to Work Attempt?

In that case, don’t worry - you still have options. Contact us immediately at Share Lawyers for a free consultation. Time is of the essence, and after a denied claim you will only have 2 years to start a legal claim to recover the disability benefits that you are owed. The longer you wait to appeal a denied disability claim, the less likely your insurer will be to back down. Fortunately, Share Lawyers is here to help fight on your behalf.

Not ready to talk? You can learn more about Returning to Work on our website.

If you have had your claim for long term disability denied, contact the 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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