A long-term disability is a serious disability that prevents you from working for an extended period of time. Long-term disability benefits are typically paid through a long-term disability insurance policy or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).
A long-term disability can impact an individual’s life in many ways. The disability may come about due to illness or as a result of an injury, such as from a personal injury accident. In this case, there are laws in place to protect those with a long-term disability.
Examples of a Long-Term Disability
To qualify as a long-term disability, you must have a medical condition or injury that prevents you from working. Most of the time, you can’t receive any type of long-term disability insurance if you’re still on an employer’s payroll.
There’s a long list of conditions that can qualify as a long-term disability. Those may include:
- Cancers (depending on stage and type of cancer)
- Asthma or COPD
- Brain injuries
- Back or neck injuries
- Heart disease
- Chronic pain
- Mental health issues like anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorders, and PTSD
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- And more
These are just a few examples and nowhere near a complete list. The key factor is whether or not the condition prevents you from doing any type of work—including your regular line of work or any new type of job—for an extended period of time, typically for 12 months or more. If you do fit that description, you may be able to apply for some type of disability insurance, which is meant to provide you with regular cost of living benefits.
To find out for sure if you’re condition can qualify for disability insurance, you should speak with an Atlanta long-term disability attorney.
Long-Term Disability Insurance vs Social Security Disability Insurance
Disability insurance protects you from loss of income if you become disabled because of an illness or injury. Many workers either have disability coverage through their employer or purchase it themselves.
Any coverage you buy yourself is typically long-term disability insurance (LTDI). If you hold this policy and become disabled, this insurance will pay you benefits (in other words, a monthly income) for a number of years. It’s also usually easy to qualify for and will come close to covering your regular income. The downside of private LTDI is that it’s not exactly cheap. Many premiums can be up to between one and three percent of your yearly income.
The other type of insurance for a long-term disability is Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is a federal government program that is paid through Social Security taxes. That means most people who have worked in the United States paid into these taxes. (Most of the time, it’s deducted from your paycheck.)
SSDI is therefore available to almost every worker in the country—and if you become disability, you should definitely apply for Social Security Disability benefits. However, the Social Security Administration, which handles SSDI claims, is very strict about how they define a disability and who gets approved.
To get approved for Social Security benefits, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that you:
- Are unable to work—and will be unable to work long-term (for at least a year)—because of a medical condition.
- Have enough “work credits” and a history of paying into Social Security.
This might seem simple, but lots of workers fall into a gray area that makes it difficult to get approval. Plus, the appeals process after a denial can take years. That’s why we always recommend consulting with a Social Security Disability lawyer who can help you improve your application and increase your chances.
In some situations, you may be able to benefit from both forms of long-term disability insurance. Most insurance companies will have you apply for Social Security Disability Insurance in addition to their coverage. That way, if you get approved for SSDI, it may help offset the amount from the long-term disability insurance. It’s best to explore all possibilities and speak with a legal professional about what’s right for you.
Talk to a Lawyer About Your Disability Options
If you have a long-term disability, insurance benefits can help you to continue paying your bills and supporting yourself and your family. But bumps in the process are common. At John Foy & Associates, our lawyers can help by listening to your situation and exploring options with you. We can help you with your Social Security Disability claim (or help you appeal if you’ve already been denied). For a FREE consultation today, call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form on this page to get started.