Understand Short-Term Disability vs. Long-Term Disability

Short Term Disability vs Long Term Disability

What Is Short-Term Disability?

Short-term disability insurance coverage pays a percentage of an employee’s wages when the person cannot work because of injury or illness. To qualify for short-term disability benefits, the employee must have disability insurance before being unable to work. Usually, employers provide disability insurance, but if not, employees can sign up for private disability insurance.

Short-Term Disability Benefits

Depending on your coverage, short-term disability benefits provide 40-60% of an employee’s weekly wages. So, if an employee makes $1,000 per week, she or he gets between $400 and $600 each week during the coverage period. For private insurance plans, injured employees may receive up to their full weekly wages, depending on their policy level.

Short-term disability differs from worker’s compensation. Short-term disability insurance covers employees injured outside the workplace or who sustain an illness unrelated to their work. Worker’s compensation covers employees injured on the job or because of the work environment.

How Long Do Short-Term Disability Benefits Last?

Short-term disability coverage usually begins right after the illness or injury preventing them from working, but may take up to two weeks to start. The coverage can last anywhere from nine to 52 weeks from the date of eligibility. If you wait for your coverage to kick in and are still missing work, look into using up sick or personal days so you do not miss out on wages.

Eligibility Requirements

Any employee with short-term disability insurance, whether through an employer or a private insurance company, qualifies for benefits. If you have an injury or illness that keeps you from work for an extended period, you are most likely eligible for benefits.

It is also important to understand your state’s short-term disability laws, as they can affect your ability to get benefits, as well as how much you get. Connect with an experienced short-term disability attorney who can help you understand your state’s laws.

Examples of Short-Term Disabilities

So, what are short-term disabilities? They typically last no longer than one year. If a disability goes beyond one year, you may qualify for long-term disability benefits. Here are some common examples of short-term disabilities:

  • Illnesses such as pneumonia or COVID-19 
  • Car accident injuries such as whiplash
  • Broken bones that prevent you from doing your job
  • Childbirth
  • Back problems

Have you suffered an injury or illness that your insurance plan should cover? Were you wrongfully denied benefits? If so, reach out to an experienced lawyer who specializes in disability insurance.

What Is Long-Term Disability?

Long-term disability insurance covers employees who suffer an injury or illness that prevents them from working for an extended period. Long-term disability insurance covers injuries and illnesses that occur outside the workplace, unlike worker’s compensation. Employers may provide long-term disability insurance to each of their employees, or an employee can get private insurance coverage.

Long-Term Disability Benefits

Long-term disability benefits cover a bit more than short-term benefits, ranging from 50-70% of the employee’s weekly wages. Coverage can reach up to 100% of an employee’s wages depending on their insurance policy.

How Long do Long-Term Disability Benefits Last?

Long-term disability coverage kicks in when short-term coverage expires, which is usually within six months. Long-term coverage has a set time for benefits, which can vary widely depending on your state and policy. Some plans may last for two years, 10 years or until a person reaches retirement age (65 years old).

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for long-term disability, you must meet your insurance policy’s requirements. Some plans may have stricter requirements, so you need to know what your plan states.

For example, some plans may not provide benefits if you can find a new job that you can work even with your injuries, while other plans will not force you to look for a new job. Typically, long-term disability insurance does not cover pre-existing conditions diagnosed before coverage.

Examples of Long-Term Disabilities

Long-term disability insurance covers a wide range of injuries and illnesses, so consult your insurance provider to find out more. Here are some common disabilities covered by long-term insurance:

  • Cancer
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Severe injuries from an accident
  • Nervous system disorders
  • Mental health problems

If you do not know whether your current insurance plan covers your injuries or illness, or you were denied coverage and think you should have benefits, reach out to an attorney. Not only can legal professionals help you understand your state’s laws and the details of your insurance plan, but they also can fight for your benefits in court if you were wrongfully denied. Do not give up after being denied disability benefits.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer

A lot can go wrong during the disability benefits process. Sometimes, partied find themselves left without benefits or less than what they should rightfully receive. That is why you need the help of an experienced disability attorney dedicated to your rights. Legal advocates help you with the application process to ensure you submit everything needed, and they fight for you if you receive a denial for benefits. Additionally, an attorney can help you determine if an insurance plan is right for you so you do not have to go without proper coverage again.

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