Your Benefit Plan - Use it Or Lose It!

Sometimes people complain about not having enough benefits and then don't use the ones that they have.

Most employers are aware of the fact that employees who have personal or relationship problems cannot reach their potential on the job. Because of this, they may provide payment of all or part of a psychologist's fees, offer an insurance program for them or even give time off during work hours for scheduled appointments.

Unfortunately, most employees do not use the benefits available to them when they are feeling stress, experiencing a loss, suffering from depression or anxiety, having relationship problems or just not knowing how to handle something that is bothering them.

You may have benefits that would allow you to work with a psychologist to problem-solve or get you back on track for better health:


  1. Employee Assistance Programs/Plans - Your Human Resources Department or Manager likely gave you a booklet or can refer you to a website that outlines if and how fees will be paid on your behalf. Some plans cover as many as ten hours of counselling that are fully paid for you.
  2. Health Spending Account - Many employees are given an amount that can be used for professional services of their choice throughout the year.
  3. Heath and Disability Insurance - Some benefit policies include a fixed amount for psychological services for each member of the family.
  4. Special Situations - Sometimes managers are able to pay for employee fees through a benevolent fund, wellness account or by other arrangements after assessing your needs on an individual basis. Talk with your supervisor or Union representative about options available.
  5. Private Insurance - You may have a plan where you pay your own premiums such as Blue Cross or Quick Card which might cover part or all of your fees.
  6. Provincial Programs - Many individuals qualify for government funding for specific issues. For example, besides being a Registered Psychologist, I am also a Professional Mediator who is contracted with Regional Justice Services to help develop Parenting Plans for couples who are divorcing.
  7. Income Tax Deductions- Talk with your accountant about the possibilities of claiming your receipts under "Medical Expenses" on your Income Tax return.


Sometimes family members are concerned about your situation and are happy to pay your fees so that they can feel you have the help you need that they cannot provide.

One of my clients told me "Everyone should have a psychologist because there are so many things that are easier to deal with when you have one". It is a shame that so many people have the coverage that would allow them to work with a psychologist and just never use it.

Check out your plans so that you know what is available for you and your family members. Most of them will not reimburse you or provide other benefits if you don't use what you have during the benefit year. It's use it - or lose it!

Today is a good day to commit to dealing with that problem you've been putting off. Obviously others thought it was important enough to resolve it that they provided you with a way to receive the help of a psychologist.

From Dr. Linda Hancock, Registered Psychologist and Registered Social Worker

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