Disability Lawyer on COVID-19 Long-hauler claims in BC


As time goes on and more Canadians contract the COVID-19 virus, many are experiencing symptoms that seem to linger and ensure an inability to return to normalcy. While some individuals have managed to return to work, others have struggled and applied for disability benefits only to be denied by the insurer.

James K. Fireman, a disability lawyer, and partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP joins Jill Bennett on Global News Radio’s 980 CKNW to explore the insurance denial claims and what options long-haulers have.

What They Discussed

Have all COVID-19 long haulers received a positive diagnosis?

Some COVID-19 long haulers no longer have the virus, it is undetectable by a COVD-19 test and some claimants had mild symptoms initially so never sought out a test but are still feeling the effects of the virus.

Is the process to begin disability benefits easy for those experiencing COVID-19 symptoms?

Insurers are pressuring individuals who don’t have a positive diagnosis to return to work despite the fact that many are unable to do so. Disability policy and law however are not concerned with a diagnosis but the symptoms that prevent individuals from working.

Were disability benefit denials based on a diagnosis prevalent before COVID-19?

Insurance companies rely on the fact that most individuals will not seek legal aid and assume the insurance company is right. Insurance companies do not want a reported decision from a court that states COVID-19 long haulers are entitled to long-term disability benefits.

Are insurers worried people are trying to take advantage of the pandemic and scam the system?

Insurers seem to see an opportunity to save money as they are aware that most people will not seek legal help. The percentage of people trying to take advantage of the system is very small and insurers can still cut off benefits from claimants.

What should individuals who feel they need to be on disability benefits do first?

The first step should be to seek out support from a family doctor who is aware of your medical history, has kept track of your symptoms and treatment, and confirms you are unable to work. The support of the medical community is applicable to all disability benefit claims, not just those associated with COVID-19.

What should COVID-19 long haulers do if they do not have a family doctor?

People who do not have a family doctor should try and compile the opinions of walk-in clinic physicians and specialists you might have seen. It is a big disadvantage, however, for individuals seeking out long-term disability benefits not to have a family doctor.

Is it likely there will be more COVID-19 long hauler disability claims?

As time goes on, there seem to be more cases that are COVID-19 related; individuals with unrelated symptoms that could not seek treatment due to the pandemic have also increased.

Are disability insurers taking advantage of the pandemic?

Many insurance companies have taken advantage of COVID-19 as there are a lot more individuals who have become vulnerable as a result of the virus.

Laid Off Due to COVID-19?
Long-term Disability Claim Denied?

Our team is ready to provide you with the advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

Get help now

Advice You Need. Compensation You Deserve.

Consult with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. We are one of Canada's most experienced and trusted employment, labour and disability law firms. Take advantage of our years of experience and success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

Get help now