Do You Have to Be Permanently Disabled to Get Long Term Disability?

Answer: You do not have to be permanently disabled to receive long term disability benefits. It is common for people to receive benefits until the policy expiration date or retirement; it is not a requirement that you be permanently out of work. Some people even have their medical condition improve enough where they can return to work.

When you are suffering from an illness or injury, you are required to use the rest of your short term disability benefits before applying for long term disability.  Click here for information to keep in mind when filing a short term disability claim.

Just like when you are unexpectedly involved in an accident or diagnosed with a severe illness, your recovery period can also be surprisingly long. Although you may want to return to work, you may not be able to quickly.

Here is an example: You are diagnosed with Hepatitis C and begin treatment, which the doctor says will only keep you out of work for up to 12 weeks. After your first treatment, you experience liver failure due to an unexpected complication and have to wait for a transplant. Or you are involved in an accident that requires extensive physical therapy. 

Can you still receive long term disability benefits if you go back to work?

The answer is yes and no. If you return to work, even on a part-time basis, you will probably no longer qualify for LTD benefits. You must review your long term disability insurance policy to determine whether part time work or work in another capacity still qualifies you for benefits.

But you could still receive benefits from the time that you were disabled and unable to work. If you lose your benefits and then discover that it’s too hard to continue to work, you will have to refile, which leaves you without monthly income.

Total Disability

Although permanent disability is not required to receive benefits, total disability is. Total disability is when you will no longer be able to do any substantial work or return to the workforce.


Some Other Frequently Asked Questions:

Can you receive long term disability benefits after termination?

Yes. If you become disabled during the time you were employed and you meet the minimum qualifications for your policy, then you can apply for long-term disability benefits.

Can the insurance company make me file for Social Security Disability (SSD)?

Yes. The insurance company can require you as a part of your benefits to apply for Social Security Disability benefits as well. This will help the insurance company offset the cost to them. If approved for SSD, then LTD benefits will only be supplemental to SSD benefits.

Can the insurance company make me file for Workers Compensation benefits?

You must review the terms of your long term disability policy for the answer to this question. But – typically – yes. The insurance company can require you as a part of your benefits to apply for Workers Compensation benefits as well. As with SSD benefits, comp benefits will further help the insurance company offset the cost to them.

Do I have to wait to get a check?

Most long term disability policies have a waiting period of 90 -180 days; This means that you will have to wait between 90-180 days to receive your benefits even if you are disabled. Make sure you have made payment arrangements with your creditors and talk with your family about your situation so you can be more prepared during that waiting period.

Will the insurance company put me under surveillance?

When filing for LTD benefits, you may be under surveillance. It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to have people put under scrutiny when applying for benefits. Always follow your doctor’s orders; you never know who is watching. This also goes for social media. More insurance companies are monitoring the social media activities of claimants. If you are not supposed to be lifting or bending, but they see a picture of you rock climbing in the mountains or even see you lifting your grandchild for a photo, they may assume you are not truthful about your pain level.

Can I receive a lump sum payment for my disability?

Yes, read our article on lump sum settlements.

The process of applying for long-term disability benefits can be tedious. The process involves a lot of gathering information and can be overwhelming to some. If you have questions, you may want to consult an experienced LTD attorney.

Although based in Florida, the Ortiz Law Firm represents claimants across the United States.

If you’d like to speak to one of our Pensacola Long-Term Disability Insurance Attorneys about your denied claim, contact us at 850-308-7833 to schedule a consultation. We can help you evaluate your claim to determine if you will be able to access Long-Term Disability Benefits and how to move forward with the process.



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