Long-Term Disability Conditions That are Difficult to DiagnoseJuly 21, 2020
According to national law in Canada, a person with a long-term disability are “limited in their daily activities.” That seems like a rather clear-cut definition, but for many who apply for disability benefits in Ontario, the situation is not so simple. That’s because many long-term disability conditions are difficult to diagnose and lead to rejected claims.
Those who live with long-term disability conditions in Ontario often seek legal help from an experienced lawyer in order to reach a successful outcome when filing claims. Some of the tough-to-diagnose conditions are physical but most fall into the psychological or mental health categories. In fact, anyone in Canada with a “difficult to diagnose” condition will have a tough time getting benefits without expert help.
Disability Conditions That Cause Legal Problems
What long-term disability conditions present particular problems when it comes time to file for benefits? Generally speaking, all forms of mental disorders are high on the “hard-to-diagnose” list because there is often no solid physical evidence of the problem other than the patient’s word.
It’s important to note that many chronic mental disorders don’t cause visible, physical signs of disability even though the person is in no shape to work. In some cases, people with mental problems like severe depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia have trouble receiving benefits unless their applications include diagnoses from more than two physicians. But mental conditions are not the only disability conditions that present problems for applicants.
Here are some of the most common long-term disability conditions in Ontario that often frustrate citizens who apply for benefits:
- Celiac’s disease
- Paranoid schizophrenia
- Chronic arthritis
- Bipolar disorder
- Chronic anxiety
- Sleep disorders
There are many more, but the ones listed are notorious for leading to a large number of denied claims.
Why Many Long-Term Disability Conditions are in Legal Limbo
One thing many of the above-listed conditions have in common, besides being difficult to diagnose, is that they are virtually “invisible” to the untrained eye. Most physical disabilities are more obvious, even to the layperson. Conditions like spinal problems, paralysis, severe back injuries, blindness, and others typically pose no difficulty for applicants who seek long-term disability benefits.
In addition to initial claims being denied, hard-to-diagnose conditions present challenges for people who wish to continue receiving benefits after a successful claim. In other words, if you suffer from chronic depression, for example, and finally win a benefits claim, it’s quite possible that your case will be “re-evaluated” on a regular basis. Government and private insurers routinely look for reasons to terminate benefits in situations where a person does not have an obvious physical disability.
Many insurance and legal experts say the situation is equivalent to discrimination against people who suffer from mental illness or “invisible” disease or ailment. That may very well be true, but the fact of the matter is that hard-to-diagnose conditions present legal problems for applicants on an ongoing basis. Not only are initial benefits hard to get, but insurers repeatedly check on beneficiaries and often terminate payments on short notice.
Going It Alone Won’t Solve the Problem
For unsuccessful benefit applicants, the wisest route to take is hiring a lawyer. Only a legal expert who has worked on denied claims cases and those based on hard-to-diagnose conditions knows how to navigate the system and get positive results. It’s just an unfortunate fact of life that many long-term disability conditions are difficult to diagnose. That’s why it’s just plain common sense that Ontario residents who want to apply for benefits should seek competent legal assistance.
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