Articles for Non-Lawyers

Woman suffering disabling depression

Long Term Disability & Depression by Patricia Santucci

Let’s Talk About Depression

With the recent suicide of Robin Williams, there has been a lot of talk about mental illness lately, and depression in particular. Many people have been grappling with the question of how a man who seemed so happy and funny on the surface could take his own life. A lot of my clients suffer from depression. Some have developed the condition after an accident or trauma, and others have developed it for other less obvious reasons. Depression is the reason that many folks are currently off work and are depending on their long term disability benefits for financial survival. When denied or cut off benefits, these same folks are in dire need of help: medically, socially and professionally.

What is Depression?

The Mayo Clinic defines depression as: a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living. More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of.

Depression and Employment

According to the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, Canadians with depression report that they function at 62% of capacity at work. This organization also states that 3 in 10 Canadian employees report they work in environments that are not psychologically safe or healthy.

The statistics reported from the Mood Disorders Society of Canada also indicate that 35% of Canadians have quit a job because of depression, with 25% reporting that they lost a job because of depression. Even more staggering is that 78% of Canadians report that they are concerned that they will lose their job because of their depression!

Depression and Long Term Disability Claims

According to the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, the percentage of short term disability claims related to mental illness in Canada is 75%, and the percentage of long term disability claims related to mental illness in Canada is 79%. The fastest growing category of disability costs to Canadian employers is…depression. The stats also show that a staggering 70% of Canadians with depression have had to leave their work for short-term, long-term disability or permanently.

Why an Experienced Lawyer is Key

If your long term disability claim has been denied, it is important that you hire a lawyer who has experience dealing with clients with mental illness. Depression often makes it difficult for people to do simple things like gather up their paper work or return phone calls and emails. A lawyer experienced in dealing with clients with depression will recognize these behaviours as symptoms of the depression and will go that extra mile to assist you when you need it most.

Insurance Companies Are Difficult to Deal With at the Best of Times

A surprising proportion of my cases involving disputes over long term disability involve some form of mental illness. Insurance companies are difficult to deal with at the best of times, but even more so when the claim is based on a mental illness like depression. One of the big problems that people with depression face is that the pain is “invisible” so to speak. As the disability is not visible on an x-ray etc. it makes it easier for the insurance company to suggest that a person with depression is not really disabled and deny the claim.

Help You to Feel Less Overwhelmed by the Process

The fact that you have depression will make it challenging for you to manage your dealings with the difficult insurance company. An experienced lawyer will help you to feel less overwhelmed by the process, which often will make your symptoms of depression worse. Clients often tell me that dealing with their insurance company has increased their symptoms of depression. They have been caught off guard when their insurance company denies their long term disability claim. Some have had their short term disability approved and then their long term disability denied. Some have been approved for long term disability, but then they are cut off their benefits at the 2 year mark, when the definition for eligibility for disability benefits changes. It is at these times that an experienced lawyer is essential.

Let Me be Your Bridge Over Troubled Waters

If you are disabled from working due to depression, and you have had your insurance company deny your application for benefits or take steps to terminate the benefits that you have been receiving, please contact Santucci Law as soon as possible. We will act quickly to have your benefits approved, reinstated or litigated. Come in and see us for a free consultation.

We are focused on one result. Yours.

About the Author Patricia Santucci

Patricia Santucci is a personal injury lawyer born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She holds several degrees having attended King’s College at the University of Western Ontario, McMaster University, earned a Master of Arts degree at the University of Windsor and an Ontario Teaching Degree from Teacher’s College as well as her Ontario Teaching Certificate. After graduating from the University of Alberta law school she was called to the bar in 2000. You can find Patricia on and LinkedIn or directly through this website