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Posted on Wednesday, June 12th, 2024 at 9:00 am    

When Does Long Term Disability Start After Approval_ Image

Dealing with a long-term disability can feel overwhelming. You worry about your health, your ability to work, and how you will support yourself and your family. If you have long-term disability (LTD) insurance, you may feel relieved when your claim is approved. But when does long-term disability start?

The answer depends on several factors, including the terms of your LTD policy, the nature of your disability, and how long you have been out of work. Knowing the timeline for benefit payments can help you plan for your financial future and manage your expectations during a challenging time. An LTD benefits lawyer can explain everything you need to know.

The Basics of LTD Benefits

Long-term disability insurance provides income replacement if you cannot work due to a covered illness, injury, or medical condition. LTD policies typically pay a percentage of your pre-disability earnings, such as 50-70%. Benefits continue until you recover and return to work, reach retirement age, or exhaust the maximum benefit period stated in your policy.

To qualify for LTD benefits, you must meet the policy’s definition of disability. This usually means demonstrating that you cannot perform the essential duties of your occupation for the first one to two years and then showing that you cannot work in any occupation after that. You will need to provide medical evidence supporting your disability claim.

The Elimination Period

The elimination period, also known as the waiting period, significantly influences when your LTD benefits start. This period acts like a deductible, and in many cases, short-term disability benefits will fill in the gap, if you or your employer purchased that kind of policy.

Elimination periods for LTD policies typically range from 30 to 180 days, with 90 days being a common choice. The clock starts ticking on your first day of disability, as determined by your doctor. You must remain continuously disabled throughout the elimination period to qualify for benefits.

For example, let’s say you have an LTD policy with a 90-day elimination period. You suffered a severe back injury on January 1st that prevented you from working. If your disability persists, you will be eligible for benefits starting April 1st, 90 days later. If you recover and return to work before April 1st, you will not receive any LTD payments.

Coordination with Other Benefits

Another factor that may impact the start date of your LTD benefits is how they coordinate with other disability income, such as short-term disability (STD) insurance, workers’ compensation, or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Many employers offer STD coverage, which provides a portion of your salary for a limited time, usually 3-6 months. If you have both STD and LTD policies, your LTD benefits will typically begin after you exhaust your STD benefits. The elimination period for your LTD policy may run concurrently with your STD coverage.

For instance, suppose you have an STD policy that pays benefits for 90 days and an LTD policy with a 90-day elimination period. If you become disabled on January 1st, your STD benefits will start right away and last until March 31st. Your LTD benefits would then commence on April 1st after your STD benefits end and your LTD elimination period concludes.

If you receive workers’ compensation or SSDI benefits for the same disability, your LTD policy may offset those payments. This means that your LTD benefits will be reduced by the amount you receive from other sources, so your total disability income does not exceed a certain percentage of your pre-disability earnings. The coordination of benefits can affect the amount of your LTD payments but not necessarily the start date.

The Approval Process

When Does Long Term Disability Start After Approval_ Image 2Of course, you can only receive LTD benefits once your claim is approved. The approval process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of your case and the responsiveness of your doctors.

When you file an LTD claim, the insurance company will request medical records, work history, and other documentation to evaluate your eligibility. They may also require an independent medical examination or vocational assessment. Providing complete and accurate information is crucial to avoid delays or denials.

If your claim is approved, the insurer will send you a letter outlining your benefit amount, start date, and other conditions or limitations. You can appeal the decision and present additional evidence if your claim is denied. An experienced disability attorney can handle the appeals process and fight for the benefits you deserve.

Seeking Professional Guidance

At Capitan Law, we understand the physical, emotional, and financial toll a long-term disability can take. We are here to be your advocate and ally during this challenging time. With our knowledge, compassion, and commitment, we can help you secure the benefits you need to focus on your health and well-being.

If you have questions about your long-term disability insurance or need assistance with a claim, do not hesitate to reach out. Call (267) 419-7888 today or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help. Together, we can ensure you receive the support and resources you deserve.

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