The lawyers at Aaron Waxman & Associates are experienced with Disability, Personal Injury and Employment claims.
A person applying for long-term disability benefits may be making an application as a result of a physical injury or illness or a psychological illness such as a substance use disorder. A person who has a substance use disorder may no longer be able to complete the essential duties of his or her job and may require an extended period of time off work to seek treatment at a rehabilitation facility for example.
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), in any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental health or addiction problem and,
The terms ‘mental illness’ and ‘addiction’ refer to a wide range of disorders that affect mood, thinking and behaviour. Examples include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, as well as substance use disorders and problem gambling. Mental illness and addictions can be associated with distress and/or impairment of functioning. Symptoms vary from mild to severe.
The Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, along with other related organizations is observing National Addictions Awareness Week from November 15-21, 2015. The theme this year is “Addiction Matters”, because addiction is a chronic health condition that affects more than just the individual with the addiction, it affects his/her family members, and it affects communities.
In Ontario, a coalition of leading health organizations is calling on the provincial government to develop a comprehensive alcohol strategy to address the health harms of alcohol. This was prompted as a result of the plan to introduce beer sales into grocery stores, which would increase alcohol availability. According to CAMH, alcohol is a public health issue, and the annual costs of alcohol-related health care, law enforcement, corrections, lost productivity, motor vehicle collisions, injuries and social problems are estimated to cost the province $5.3 billion annually.
Clara Hughes, one of the spokespeople for Bell Let’s Talk, was recently quoted at a charity event as saying,
“There’s some statistics that are not talked about enough…I’m talking about the statistics of the one in five Canadians that are going to struggle with mental illness in their life[time[. I am part of that statistic…I have gone through major depression throughout my life. We all walk a fine line between health and illness…There is so much silence involved. I’m never going to stop talking about this because we need to understand at a much deeper level what this struggle is, when it comes to mental illness, addictions, brain injury and developmental disabilities.”
Did you know that mental illnesses and substance use disorders are recognized disabilities under the Ontario Human Rights Code?
The Ontario Human Rights Code (section 4.1 and section 4.2) recognizes impairments such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, schizophrenia, alcohol dependence and addictions to illegal drugs as types of disabilities and explains that:
In many cases, they [disabilities] may not be visible to the average onlooker. People’s experience of disability may result from bodily or mental impairments, or from limitations arising from impairments that affect people’s ability to function in certain areas of living. From a functional or medical perspective, for example, mental health disabilities or addictions may be characterized by “alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour- or some combination thereof- associated with significant distress and impaired function…
Addiction is considered to be a chronic disease and from a medical perspective, one definition is,
A primary, chronic disease, characterized by impaired control over the use of a psychoactive substance and/or behaviour…Like other chronic diseases, it can be progressive, relapsing and fatal.
Mental illness is not always visible to the average onlooker, and is often referred to as an “invisible illness”. If you are making a claim for long-term disability benefits as a result of a mental illness it is important to show the types of treatment you attend/have tried including trials of medications and different types of therapy. Make sure you always report your symptoms and changes in mood/behaviour to your treating specialists. Even if your claim has been denied, it is always important to continue treatment.
If your claim for long-term disability benefits has been denied for any reason, or you have questions about your long-term disability claim, don’t hesitate to contact our firm. We offer a free, initial no obligation consultation and are available to meet you in person, by telephone or via Skype.
* This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute legal advice. Please read our disclaimer for further information.
* All of our lawyers are licensed by The Law Society of Upper Canada
* Office in Toronto and able to represent people in the province of Ontario
Disability & Personal Injury Blog