Our law firm had a record number of Long Term Disability Claims settle in the last quarter of 2014. In particular, the last month of 2014 was a mediation bonanza for our lawyers when it came resolving long term disability (LTD) disputes.
One of the things which we caution our clients on when it comes to settling LTD claims are the tax implications of the settlement.
Damages for pain and suffering are non taxable. Damages for past and future income loss are taxable. But these heads of damages apply to tort claims such as car accident and general negligence cases (slip and fall, dog bite, etc.)
But what happens for Long Term Disability Claims when it comes to tax implications for the settlement?
Look no further than the wording of your policy. I will be in there. I guarantee it!
Some policies state that benefits are taxable. This means less money in the client’s pocket because they have to pay tax on any amount recovered.
Other policies state that the benefits are NOT taxable. This is much better for the client because they don’t have to pay the tax man for any amount recovered in the case.
If you don’t know whether your LTD benefits are taxable or not, then just ask your insurance broker, union rep or even your employer who is funding the benefits. They will have an answer for you. You can also call the insurer who is underwriting the policy (Great West Life, SunLife, Manulife, Equitable Life, SSQ, RBC Insurance, Co-operators, Desjardins etc.) and ask an agent directly. They will have an answer for you as well.
Effective January 1, 2015, Revenue Canada introduced some important rule changes which impact the tax implications on any taxable LTD settlement. If you have an LTD claim before the Courts, it’s very important to understand these rule changes because they will likely impact on your settlement.
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