Concerns about COVID-19 caused many people around the world to postpone or even cancel travel plans. Now that travel restrictions have become more relaxed, many are wondering, “can you travel while on disability?” Canada has recently updated travel guidelines so those who would like to travel to visit those family members they haven’t seen since before the pandemic started are asking “Can you leave Canada while on long-term disability?”
For those who are receiving long-term disability benefits, there are additional concerns about travelling outside of Canada. You might be unsure if you are allowed to leave the country and still be eligible for long-term disability benefits.
In most instances, travelling outside of the country while receiving long-term disability benefits is similar to taking a vacation while working. When you are working and want to take vacation time, you must get approval from your employer first. Similarly, when you are receiving disability benefits, you need to ensure that you get any plans to travel outside the country cleared with your doctor and your Disability Claim Administrator.
You may be wondering what you need to know to protect yourself before you take a trip. Not only do you want to stay in compliance with the requirements of your disability benefits insurance policy, but you also want to make sure that your recovery is not jeopardized.
Here are the things that you need to consider before you travel outside of Canada.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Your insurance company may see travelling as being inconsistent with being disabled, so you’ll want to review your policy to see if there are any restrictions on your ability to travel outside of the country. There may be restrictions in your specific policy that require you to stay in Canada to keep receiving benefits. Some disability benefits policies will have travel restrictions and may require you to stay in Canada to continue receiving benefits. Make sure you familiarize yourself with those rules before booking a vacation.
Make sure that any forms or documents that have been requested by your insurance company are taken care of before you leave. For example, if you have been asked to undergo an independent medical exam, you should complete that requirement in advance of your travel plans.
Make Sure Your Doctor Has Given You Clearance To Travel
Depending upon the distance and length of your journey, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first. Find out he or she believes that this trip will negatively impact your treatment plans, especially if you need to reschedule appointments. If your insurance company requires documentation from your doctor that leaving the country will not cause issues with your recovery, make sure you take care of that as soon as possible.
Contact A Disability Claim Administrator
Even if you’ve read through your policy and can find nothing that would prevent you from travelling outside of the country, you should still double-check by contacting your Disability Claim Administrator. If you are concerned that travelling will look bad for your claim, it’s a good idea to give the insurance company a heads up.
Keep A Journal
Even if your doctor and insurance company have given you clearance to travel, you may still be nervous. To put your mind at ease, take a journal with you and jot down details about your activities, especially when your disability prevents you from doing things that you may have done otherwise, such as walking long distances or playing with your children. If you have any problems with your insurance company after you return, this journal can be considered as evidence that your disability is still affecting your daily life, even if you were well enough to travel.
Watch What You Say On Social Media
Even though you may want to share status updates and post photos of your trip on social media, consider that you are probably under surveillance by your insurance company. They may interpret your good time as inconsistent with having a disability. Although it seems unfair, it is still something you need to keep in mind.
Contact a Long-Term Disability Lawyer
Remember, insurance companies often take the position that if you are well enough to travel, you must be well enough to work. If you encounter difficulties in dealing with your disability insurance company because they have a problem with you travelling and have cut off your benefits, you should not hesitate to contact Share Lawyers to discuss your options more fully. We specialize in disability law and can provide a free consultation so you can figure out how to proceed.
If you have had your claim for long-term disability denied, contact the long-term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long-term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.