Disability Benefits for AsthmaJanuary 31, 2023
Is Asthma A Disability?
Asthma is a fairly common breathing condition that involves the narrowing of a person’s airways making it difficult to breathe properly. The symptoms of asthma or an asthma attack include wheezing, shortness of breath, and tightness in the chest. Affecting more than 3 million Canadians there are two main types of asthma that a person may have, pediatric asthma and occupational asthma. Both conditions can negatively affect how a person not only breathes but what they are able to do in day-to-day life.
Both types of asthma have the same symptoms but where pediatric asthma develops in children for a number of reasons, occupational asthma is directly related to working conditions. If you are an adult who develops asthma because of your job you could face difficulty breathing, tightness in your chest, the need for puffers, and in severe cases it could restrict your ability to work due to poor breathing.
Common Workplaces Contributing to Asthma
There are a number of workplace situations that could cause a person to develop occupational asthma. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are more than 400 identified substances that can contribute to the development of occupational asthma. Some of the most common professions where employees end up working with these potentially harmful substances include:
- Metal and plastic factory workers
- Woodworkers or welders
- Textile and carpet makers and workers
- Drug manufacturers
- Farmers and grain workers
- Laboratory workers – particularly those who work with animal testing
- Health care workers
These occupations require people to work with chemicals, fibers, dusts, or other materials which can lead to respiratory problems. Breathing in harmful fumes or small particles of wood, dust, carpet fiber or even animal dander can all lead to lifelong health issues. If you have worked in any of the above workplaces and are now dealing with asthma or other breathing problems you could be entitled to disability benefits if you are unable to work. There is also the possibility that you could qualify for compensation through Worker’s Compensation as well if it can be shown that your asthma is directly related to your job.
Disability Benefits and Asthma in Ontario
There are two ways that a person living with asthma may be able to receive financial assistance and long-term benefits. The first would be through their private health insurance company. Many insurance companies do recognize asthma as a condition that would, in severe circumstances, be eligible for long-term disability benefits, however, it can be quite difficult to meet these companies’ criteria of ‘severe.’ Very often the LTD claim is denied the first time around and an appeal is necessary to try to get insurance companies to act. An LTD lawyer with experience dealing with rejected claims for conditions like asthma will have the knowledge necessary to help navigate the appeal process to satisfy the insurance company’s requirements.
The Ontario Disability Support Program Act is the other way to try to get benefits for asthma. The ODSPA does recognize asthma as a medical condition that qualifies a person to apply for ODSP should they suffer from it. ODSP or the Ontario Disability Support Program is designed to offer financial support to people who are unable to work due to disability. This benefit is of great help to people however, just like with insurance benefits, it too can be difficult to access as a person must prove that they are incapable of working to receive this help.
Although asthma tends to be an easily diagnosed and documented disabling condition it must be shown that the severity of the asthma prohibits an individual from working. Because of this many people have had their disability claims for asthma denied.
What To Do If Your Asthma Disability Claim is Denied
If you are dealing with severe asthma and have had your disability claim denied by either your insurance company or ODSP it is important to reach out to an experienced disability attorney near you. They will be able to advocate on your behalf and find to get you the compensation you deserve. Here at HIMPRO we have over 21 years of experience helping individuals who have had their disability claims denied for one reason or another. Contact our Toronto law office today to set up a free case consultation.
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