What is the difference between short term and long term disability?

by Steve Fields | April 10th, 2018

Short term disability benefits typically last anywhere from six weeks up to six months, whereas a typical long term disability policy states that an individual can receive benefits up until the age of 65 as long as they continue to meet the policy’s criteria for disability.

The duration of the benefits is the most obvious distinction between long and short term disability benefits, but there are additional differences. Short term disability and long term disability benefits are governed by completely separate policies. That means that under each policy, the requirements for receiving benefits might be completely different between long and short term disability.

For instance, there is very likely to be a separate and distinct application for each type of benefit (short and long); there might also be different paperwork that an individual is required to submit to the insurer to receive benefits. In some cases, there might be two different insurance companies handling each claim. The criteria for being found disabled might be different in each instance, as might the amount of the benefit you receive.

The disability attorneys at Fields Law handle both types of cases, and we understand how to maximize the benefits for you.

Do I automatically get long term disability if I’m approved for short term disability?

Unfortunately, you do not automatically get long term disability benefits if you are approved for short term disability. Short term disability benefits are governed by a completely separate contract/policy than long term disability benefits.

It can be particularly frustrating for individuals who get approved for short term disability benefits to later be denied long term disability benefits. This situation is somewhat similar to a situation where someone may be approved for social security disability benefits, but not be approved for long term disability benefits. The key with short and long term disability benefits is that you must meet the terms of the policy.

For instance, each policy will contain a “definition of disability.” This is like the policy’s criteria for being found disabled. You must meet the “definition of disability” to receive benefits under the plan. Just like the Social Security Administration has its own criteria for disability, so does each and every short and long term disability policy. Thus, even if an individual feels “disabled” in his or her own mind, he/she must still meet the policy’s criteria for being found disabled and receiving benefits.

In light of these potential differences between short and long term disability policies, it may seem like there are just too many “technicalities” in a long term disability policy. In some ways, this is true. But that is exactly why it is important to have a Long Term Disability attorney when a short or long term disability insurance company denies your benefits. If you are denied benefits, call us today for free advice on how to appeal your long term disability denial.

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Steve Fields

Founder at Fields Law Firm
As the founder of Fields Law Firm, Steve began his law career with a small personal injury law firm helping people injured throughout Minnesota. Fields Law has grown into one of the largest work injury law firms in Minnesota and handles all types of cases related to work injuries including personal injury, Social Security disability and long term disability.