Long-term disability (LTD) is an insurance policy that replaces your income when you suffer damages that prevent you from working. These damages can be catastrophic injuries or illnesses. These policies help you continuously cover your medical and living expenses as you did prior to the accident or illness that left you in your current condition.
However, successfully applying for an LTD is a daunting experience. More so, when you are unfamiliar with legal eligibility and all your options, you may find applying even more challenging. Therefore, when you need the process to run smoothly, consider hiring an ERISA attorney.
This article exhaustively covers what you need to know about applying for a long-term disability in 2023.
- First, you need to know the eligibility criteria your insurer uses
To qualify for a long-term disability claim, you must meet the required criteria as outlined in the policy document you sign. For instance, if you sustain an injury or illness that prevents you from performing your daily tasks as required in your occupation, you are within your rights to apply for a long-term disability policy either with the organization you work for or a private insurer.
Additionally, it would be best to satisfy the waiting period stipulated in the policy agreement. This period is also referred to as the elimination period before you start enjoying your benefits. Depending on your policy type, the waiting period is between thirty days and one year.
Moreover, other policies have specific limitations, such as pre-existing conditions. Therefore, you must read the policy exhaustively to ensure you understand everything clearly before committing to it.
- Second, understand your benefits
The amount of funds you receive from your insurer for a long-term disability claim depends on the type of policy, your income, and the nature of your injury. Usually, your benefits are calculated as a percentage of your initial salary before the injury.
However, the amount you receive can also be affected by other caps, like Social Security benefits or other income sources you will likely enjoy.
Also, the duration of the benefit is affected by the policy and the nature of your disability. For instance, some policies pay benefits until retirement (65 or 67), while others pay for five years.
As reported by the CDC, 12% of American adults suffer from long-term disabilities. Therefore, knowing the duration of your long-term benefit is paramount to helping you plan ahead.
- Lastly, understand your options
Before you apply for a long-term disability policy, it is beneficial that you understand your available options. When your employer does not provide long-term or insufficient coverage, you can purchase another from a private insurer to supplement the other one.
For instance, individual policies are more flexible than group policies. Individual long-term disability insurance allows you to choose your waiting period, the amount you get as a benefit, and other features of your policy. However, individual policies are more expensive compared to group policies.
In conclusion, although applying for a long-term disability policy can be a daunting experience, it is also a wise decision that can help you plan and protect your future financial income. Therefore, when you understand the eligibility criteria your insurance provider uses, your benefits as a beneficiary, and the policy options available, you are likely to decide the best policy to apply based on your situation.
Since the application process can be complicated and you may find it challenging, it is advisable to consult with an experienced long-term disability claim attorney to assist you in understanding the policy and applying correctly.