Going on disability leave is stressful especially as your pay cheque is smaller and bills will keep coming.

There are practical things you can do to effectively cope during this challenging time including keep busy, stay positive and make “getting back to work” a full-time project. To help you cope create action plans for your finances including investigating government programs and a plan for your recovery.

Financial action plan

Employer and private disability insurance plans are limited. If you anticipate a long or uncertain recovery, it will be essential for you to take control of your finances by making daily decisions about how you spend your money including:

Government programs

If you don’t have disability insurance or if it runs out before you go back to work, and if you’ve contributed to the Canada Pension Plan, you may have access to additional federal and provincial programs. This means you could qualify for:

Check with your local government offices and apply immediately.  

Recovery action plan

It’s in your best interest and your employer’s for you to return to work as quickly as possible in your best state of health. If your employer has an Employee Assistance Program, take advantage of any physical and mental health counselling and programs to help speed up your recovery and help you deal with the emotional stressors. 

If you return to your job with a disability that requires your employer to make changes to your workspace, book a meeting with your boss to discuss your needs. Employers are required to adapt the workplace to accommodate your disability and many employers have an ergonomics professional available to help you. 

During your leave of absence you may want to:

Finding ways to cope with finances and your recovery can alleviate much of the stress during a challenging time and the more you manage the more you will feel in control and be able to return to work faster.

Read more on this topic:

12 facts and figures about having a disability in Canada

Services guide for people with disabilities

Manulife workplace advisor

Manulife absence and disability management

A guide to disability insurance

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