Serving All of British Columbia Call 1-888-404-5167

Does Addiction Qualify for Long-Term Disability Benefits?

If you struggle with addiction, whether with alcohol, drugs, or activities such as gambling, you may qualify for long-term disability benefits.

However, much will depend on your employer’s group policy. Most do not preclude benefits due to addiction– but there are usually strict requirements regarding treatment and rehabilitation programs for qualification.

There is also a difference between addiction involving legal substances, such as alcohol, cannabis, or painkillers prescribed by your healthcare provider– and illegal substances, such as heroin or cocaine.

Our personal injury law firm will review your employer’s policy and protect your rights while you deal with your addiction. For over 60 years, we have helped clients receive the benefits they deserve, and our record speaks for itself.

Call 1-877-572-1324 to speak with our British Columbia legal intake team for free Book Free Consultation

Addiction as Disability

Addiction is seen as a mental disability or illness in Canada, and compliance is key. The person must actively participate in rehabilitation programs, and failure to do so will disqualify them. It is likely that long-term disability benefits will be denied, at least initially, which is why the person should engage a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Gambling Addiction

Although less common than substance abuse addictions, gambling addictions are just as, or even more, destructive. The compulsive gambler can quickly spend all of the family finances and go deeply into debt. However, it may not qualify as a disability.

The “side effects” of compulsive gambling may be eligible, although not necessarily for long-term disability. If they cannot function, including working, because of depression, anxiety, or fear, they may file a claim. Many gamblers deal with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which may help them if diagnosed by a medical professional.

Keep in mind that a disability claim for compulsive gambling will not go forward unless the claimant can show they engaged in professional treatment.

Medical Evidence

In any disability claim, medical evidence is the most relevant documentation. When it comes to addiction, the claimant must not only show that it impairs their ability to function, but also that the evidence meets the standards of the policy, whether group or private, that governs the criteria for eligibility.

Long-Term Treatment Steps

While treatment may vary, this is a typical scenario:

  • Detoxification
  • Counselling
  • Medication, if necessary
  • Mental health evaluation
  • Treatment of any mental health conditions
  • Follow-up care for relapse prevention

Treatment for addiction is always long term because relapse is common and that is especially true for those who undergo only short-term treatment programs.

Treatment Availability

Unfortunately, the demand for treatment and rehab often outstrips the supply of such services. Residential treatment facilities are not common in many areas, and the wait time for admittance is often long. If the person chooses to go into a private rehabilitation program, their employee benefits may only cover part of this, if at all.

Fighting a Denial

Some people struggling with addiction may find the insurance company does not consider addiction a disability at all. If benefits are denied on that basis, your lawyer will challenge that decision. Under Canadian employment law, substance abuse is considered a disability, although that is not the case with compulsive gambling.

Contact a Vancouver Long-Term Disability Lawyer

If you or a loved one are dealing with addiction issues and seeking benefits, a long-term disability lawyer from our firm can help. Because there are strict time limits for filing and appealing disability claims, time is of the essence. Fill out our online contact form or call us today to arrange a complimentary consultation. We will review your case and let you know your options.

Connect With Our Legal Team

Schedule a call with our personal injury legal intake team. Our team is available 24/7 so call us now to book your call. Our scheduled intake allows you to tell us details about your accident and gives our legal team an opportunity to review your case and advise you on possible solutions and outcomes. The best part is, if you decide to hire us after this call - you don't pay anything unless we win. We can help clients regardless of where they reside in British Columbia so let us help you get started on your road to recovery.


1321 Blanshard Street
Suite 301,
Victoria, BC
V8W 0B6
Fax: 778-373-8213
Toll Free: 1-877-572-1324
4720 Kingsway
Suite 2600,
Burnaby, BC
V6E 3C9
Fax: 778-373-8213
Toll Free: 1-877-572-1324
5811 Cooney Road
Suite 305 South Tower,
Richmond, BC
V6X 3M1
Fax: 778-373-8213
Toll Free: 1-877-572-1324
7164 120th Street
Suite 202,
Surrey, BC
V3W 3M8
Fax: 778-373-8213
Toll Free: 1-877-572-1324
1631 Dickson Avenue
Suite 1100,
Kelowna, BC
V1Y 0B5
Fax: 778-373-8213
Toll Free: 1-877-572-1324
1075 West Georgia Street
Unit 825,
Vancouver, BC
V6E 3C9
Fax: 778-373-8213
Toll Free: 1-877-572-1324
*These are consultation offices that require a booked meeting in advance. Walk-ins are not allowed.

DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that the header image and other images throughout this website may include both lawyer and non-lawyer/paralegal employees of Preszler Injury Lawyers and unrelated third parties. Please note that the purpose of this disclaimer is to ensure that the usage of our spokesperson, John Fraser, or any other non-lawyer/paralegals in our legal marketing is not to be construed in any way as misleading to the public. Any questions regarding the usage of non-lawyers in our legal marketing or otherwise can be directed to management. Please also note that past results are not indicative of future results and that each case is unique and that case results listed on site are from experiences across Canada and are not specific to any province. Please be advised that some of the content on this website may be out of date. None of the content is intended to act as legal advice as each situation is independent and unique and requires individual legal advice from a licensed lawyer or paralegal. For legal advice on your individual situation – we can provide legal guidance after you have contacted our firm and we have established a lawyer-client relationship contractually. Please note that some of the content on this website may be out of date and no longer relevant after May 2021. For additional clarification on legal questions please contact our law firm and book a consultation with a member of our legal team.