A cancer diagnosis can come with excruciating pain, physically and mentally. It can also come with significant financial debt. When your long-term disability insurance carrier decides that you are no longer in need of your financial benefits, that debt can become overwhelming and the stress can add up. There’s no doubt that any type of cancer can be costly, emotionally and socially – since cancer survivors who are unable to resume a former job often face the risk of financial loss and ruin. Life can get pricey in terms of costs and expenses when you cannot work and contribute to your home and family – especially if there’s a mortgage to pay, kids to feed, dance lessons to pay for, car loans, insurance and other household bills that do not stop when someone get sick.
According to the Canadian Cancer Society, one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and one in four of those individuals will die from cancer. The majority of Canadians who are diagnosed with cancer are over 50 years old, but those who are younger are also still at risk and could be diagnosed at any age.
The most common types of cancer in Canada are colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancer is also a prevalent type of cancer diagnosis in Canada, but the survival rate is significantly higher than other forms of the disease. Over the past five to ten years, survival rates have increased due to new developments in healthcare and technology, but early detection is the most important factor in survival. The earlier a cancer is detected, the more successful treatment will be.
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There are over 100 different kinds of cancer that affect Canadians. These diagnoses vary in causation as well as treatment options. Some cancers have specific causes, such as skin cancer, which is generally caused by over-exposure to UV rays and sun damage. However, some are variable and could be caused by a variety of factors, including environmental factors and genetics.
Cancer is generally diagnosed in four different stages depending on the severity and how far the disease has spread throughout the individual’s body. In stage one, the disease is relatively small and is contained within one area of the body. Stage two includes the tumor being larger than stage one but the disease still contained in that area. By stage three, the cancer begins spreading to surrounding areas, known as metastasizing. Lastly, by stage four, the most serious and severe stage of cancer, the disease may spread throughout the bloodstream and metastasize to any area of the body.
Treatment options vary depending on the stage of the cancer and the extent to which it has metastasized. The most common treatments for cancer include medications, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy.
Most Canadian insurance policies require the claimant to be totally disabled in order to receive long-term disability benefit payments. This means that the claimant must be incapable of performing the sudbstantial duties of his or her “own occupation” for the first 24 months of disability. Often times, individuals with cancer are often considered totally disabled due to the nature of cancer treatment that they have to go through.
Cancer treatment is invasive and often requires surgeries, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, and can leave long-lasting side effects that impact one’s ability to work, such as nausea, anxiety, and self-consciousness. In addition to the invasive nature of cancer and the extensive treatment that is required, there are many ongoing factors that affect those individuals who have the disease. Cancer is not a one-time illness that simply disappears after treatment. Often, individuals with cancer must endure long-term treatment and rehabilitation that can have a significant impact on their ability and availability to return to work.
After two years, your disability insurance policy will likely undergo a “change of definition”. This change means that you must now prove you are unable to work any occupation related to your education, experience, and training in order to continue to receive your long-term disability benefits. This is a common time for insurance companies to cut off or deny your long-term disability benefits, and you may find that you are now subject to an investigation by your insurance carrier. During this time, your insurance carrier will deploy their own team of medical experts and investigators who may ask you questions, look at the details of your case and occupation, and determine whether they believe you are capable of returning to work. Our Hamilton disability lawyers recognize this as a crucial time in your policy and will employ our own team of medical professionals, vocational experts, and other industry sources in order to create the strongest defence against your insurance carrier’s conclusions.
The impact of cancer and the potential side-effects of the treatment can no doubt lead to functional limitations, physical and/or psychological disabilities which may create barrier to participation in the workplace. Your insurance carrier may argue that since your treatment is over, you are able to return to work. You may be in remission – and even if you are, studies have shown that cancer survivors are at risk for job loss, unemployment and work disability.
Most insurance companies that we have encountered are initially sympathetic and understand that travesty of cancer, but many also expect claimant to return to work in the event of getting better. Many insurance companies do not understand or account for the long-term treatment and ongoing care that you may require depending on the condition of your diagnosis. This may result in their decision to unreasonably deny or cut off your long-term disability benefits.
When your insurance company denies or cuts off your benefits, you have two options. You may decide to accept your denial, which will mean that you will continue to endure financial stress. This option will simply prolong your suffering and provide you with no clear solution as to how you will overcome your financial debt.
However, you may also hire a Hamilton disability lawyer to file an appeal on your behalf and ask a Court to declare you disabled. Our disability law firm is highly experienced and understanding of your situation. When you hire our Hamilton law firm, we will view your documentation, medical records, and any details pertaining to your occupation in order to determine the best option for your situation. We will also employ our industry and vocational experts to prove beyond a doubt that you deserve your disability benefits. Whether you need to take the case to trial or force your insurance carrier to accept a settlement, our Hamilton disability lawyers will get you the support you need.
Disability claims are complicated. Our Hamilton disability lawyers are highly skilled and experienced in representing disability claimants against every major insurance company in Canada and represent disability claimants at all stages of disability benefits. When you contact our disability firm, long-term disability Matt Lalande who has helped hundreds of claimants appeal their long term disability benefits, will personally consult with you, review your case and file suit. Matt will personally represent you in court if need be. Call our offices at 905-333-8888 or fill out a contact form online to book a free, no-obligation consultation with our Hamilton disability lawyers. We will travel to you if you are too sick to come to our offices, and we will never ask for payment until we have represented your claim.