Marykate - You may be worried needlessly about suffering financially due to the severance offset from your LTD. Optimistically, you might end up ahead financially, depending on your personal situation. Of course, you will lose your employment benefits by losing your employment, which can actually be the most significant financial impact in the long run for many disabled employees.
Here’s one example of how severance offset and LTD may work. If your severance is indeed an offset as per your contract and you receive 12 months of severance, your future LTD payments will be suspended for the next 12 months. You are likely receiving “non-taxable” LTD based on a complicated calculation of your previous gross salary, less payroll taxes, less income tax, etc. to arrive at a net, non-taxable LTD amount. Completely ignoring CPPD or your other personal factors today, if you look at your “net income” from your employer before you went on LTD, you may find that you “netted” $25,000 on a gross income of $40,000. “All other things being equal” and assuming the 12 months of your severance is the calendar year Jan-Dec 2019, you’ll be in exactly the same situation for the 12 months of your severance period (plus you may end up being able to keep your CPPD on top!). You will receive $40,000 in severance from your employer and after all the payroll taxes and income tax is deducted you will end up with the same $25,000. You won’t receive your non-taxable LTD for these same 12 months. Your LTD monthly payments will recommence at the end of your 12 month severance period.
You could end up ahead financially in the situation where you receive the same 12 months of severance via salary continuance (bi-weekly payments) and you receive it across two calendar tax years. This could be a significant benefit to you depending on your personal tax situation since your taxes are calculated on a calendar year basis.
If you receive severance via a “lump sum” and decide to invest in an RRSP via a direct contribution from your severance, you may shelter/defer some of your personal income taxes this year, but you will less money to live on and it won’t reduce your severance offset with your LTD insurer. Your LTD insurer will still suspend your LTD payments for the next 12 months regardless of the form of your severance. Receiving a lump sum will also mean your employee benefits will cease after the legal notice period (e.g. often 8 weeks in some provinces). With salary continuance, however, in some situations employer group benefits like health, dental and pension can continue right through to the end of the salary continuance period (i.e. the end of the bi-weekly payments) because you remain an employee and eligible to remain a member of the employer’s group benefits contract.
The description above is only an example of how severance offset and LTD might work in some situations. As David said, every situation and contract is entirely different.
My standard opening or closing line is you can’t rely on advice from any poster on the internet … I may have no knowledge about LTD or contracts or tax. How would you know? I don’t know anything about you or your contract. There’s a lot at stake here for you. It’s critical that you consult with legal and tax professionals to achieve the best possible outcome for you. The severance offer your employer puts on the table is simply that - an offer… you don’t need to accept it.