If an employed individual unexpectedly suffers from a disabling injury or a lengthy illness, his/her source of immediate, but temporary finances, is his/her employer-provided short term disability benefits; payment of this usually lasts from one to four months. During this time, it is expected that he/she has received his/her policy’s maximum coverage amount, has reached the time limit specified in his/her policy, or has recovered. If, however, his/her disabling condition continues despite having reached the time limit of his/her policy, then his/her long-term disability benefits will kick in.
Long-term disability (LTD) insurance starts paying after the short-term disability insurance ends. With the exception of a few large companies, but long-term disability insurance is not always provided by employers; this makes it necessary for employees to buy this type of coverage on their own.
A long-term disability insurance policy costs more than a short-term disability insurance policy. Despite its higher cost, it is definitely worth it, considering the fact that it pays an amount that is higher than a short-term policy plus it covers periods from a couple of years to age 65 (there are some policies, depending on its type, which will cover the policy holder until he/she recovers or for the rest of his/her life).
LTD policies are classified as either “group” plans, which are employer-sponsored, or individual plans, which are bought by employees on their own. If an employee has access to his/her employer-sponsored long-term disability insurance, then he/she may be able to convert a group long-term disability policy into a private long-term disability policy.
Qualifying for LTD benefits, by the way, depends if a claimant’s disability falls within the definition of disability that is stated in his/her policy. To start with, “disability” falls under two categories: the “own-occ” or own occupation policy; and, the “any-occ” or any occupation policy.
The “own-occ” policy refers to a person’s inability to perform the duties of his/her own job, while the “any-occ” policy means his/her inability perform any job that fits his/her education and experience. An “own-occ” policy usually switches to an “any-occ” policy after 24 months. If, after 24 months of receiving benefits, an insurer finds that a beneficiary’s condition has improved, then his/her disability benefits may be terminated.
Prior to receiving LTD benefits, there is an elimination or waiting period (just like in short-term disability benefits). The waiting period in short-term policies is 0 to 14 days; in long-term policies, this waiting period lasts from 30 to 720 days, though a 90-day waiting period is most common.
In its website, the Hankey Law Office explains that when a disability impairs a person’s ability to work, he/she may be in need of immediate financial support. Although he/she can apply for long-term disability on his/her own, having a long term disability attorney to help him/her can be advantageous in recovering the benefits he/she may be entitled to receive without delay or other issues.read more