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.