Short-Term Disability Does Not Guarantee Long-Term Disability
My name is Brandon Osterbind. I am an injury and disability attorney in Central Virginia and I help people whose long-term disability claims have been denied. And today, I want to talk to you about short-term disability and how it relates to your long-term disability coverage.
The title of this article already indicates that short-term disability coverage does not guarantee that a long-term disability claim will be approved.
A client’s experience
I had a client come into my office after suffering a traumatic brain injury with significant cognitive and emotional deficits that were created by that condition. She won her short-term disability claim without any problems, and the insurance company paid the claim.
But when it was time for her long-term disability policy, she applied for her long-term disability claim just like she had done with her short-term policy and her claim was denied. Now, you may wonder why. Why was her short-term claim approved while her long-term claim was denied?
The reason for the difference
There are really two answers. First, if you look at it from the insurance company’s perspective, if it’s a short-term disability claim for a period of three to six months, depending on the policy, then there’s not a whole lot of money at stake.
There’s more money at stake
But a long-term disability policy could last at least two years, and some last much longer than that. Some policies will guarantee coverage up until your retirement age, which is usually around 67.
Imagine if you’re 55 years old and you have long-term disability coverage until you’re 67. That’s 12 years of disability coverage. Now, imagine that your claim was worth $5,000 a month. That’s $60,000 a year. Now, we’re talking $720,000 for the life of the claim.
If you think about that, you’ll realize that it’s a much bigger deal to approve long-term disability coverage than it is to approve short-term disability coverage.
The policy definitions are often different
The other explanation is that the policy definitions are often different. Sometimes, a short-term disability policy and a long-term disability policy can be written by different insurers hired by the same employer.
While you may have a long-term disability claim and a short-term disability claim, they are not necessarily provided by the same insurer. And even if they are provided by the same insurer, the definitions are not necessarily the same because they’re two different policies.
What you should do
It’s very important to know what those definitions are. And it’s also important not to treat your short-term disability and your long-term disability claims the same way.
Let’s say your short-term disability claim has been approved and you’re thinking about applying for long-term disability. You’re not making the progress that you thought you would be making or perhaps your doctor has already said that you’re not going to be able to return to work.
In that situation, make sure that you treat the long-term disability claim with as much seriousness as you can because I want your claim to be approved. I want your claim to go through. And I don’t want you to have to call me. And I don’t want you to have to go through the whole appeal process and file a lawsuit in federal court.
If you have questions
If you have questions about your long-term disability policy, what it covers or what it doesn’t cover, and how you should approach your claim, give us a call. We’ll sit down with you and look at your policy.
We’ll give you advice and make recommendations on how to proceed with your claim to make sure that it gets approved the very first time. Call our office or send us an email. You can find our info on our website or our Facebook group. We’ll be happy to help you in any way that we can.