What Illnesses Qualify For Short And Long-Term Disability?
If you are struggling with a disability like chronic illness or complications from a severe and long-term injury, the disability itself may not be the only thing that you’re struggling with. You may also find yourself facing other struggles too, many of which are financial. Without question, having a disability that renders you unable to work can make life very stressful from a financial perspective, as you still need to pay your bills and provide for yourself and your family.
For that reason, you may have arrived at this page wondering whether you qualify for disability benefits and if so, what types of benefits may be available. Without question, receiving benefits can help to lessen the financial burden associated with disability, and it’s understandable that you would want to pursue whatever compensation you might be entitled to. In many cases, we are asked by disabled individuals whether they should seek short-term, long-term, or Social Security disability benefits – or a combination of those benefits, if available. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of benefits, which illnesses or conditions qualify for those benefits, and when they might be available.
What Is Short-Term Disability Insurance?
In essence, short-term disability insurance is a private type of insurance that can either be provided by your employer or that you can purchase yourself. Typically, coverage lasts for around three to six months after you become disabled.
Because it covers only a short period, rates tend to be cheaper than the rates charged for long-term disability benefits, although short-term disability insurance options are often not as flexible or customizable as long-term disability benefits can be. Usually, short-term disability payments will start shortly after you have become disabled and will last for the length of the disability – provided it doesn’t exceed the predetermined window of what is considered “short-term.” Depending upon the circumstances, they might even cover up to 100% of your normal wages, at least for some period of time.
Typically, short-term disability insurance will cover injuries and illnesses that satisfy the particular policy’s definition of a medical condition that qualifies for benefits. Generally, the following requirements will have to be satisfied:
- The condition at issue and loss of income that results have to begin after the effective date of the policy;
- The policy does not specifically exclude the condition;
- The insured is under the care of a licensed physician for the condition in question.
Depending upon your circumstances and any unique conditions of the policy you choose these factors may vary, but generally these are the basic requirements. As a result, the conditions for which short-term disability benefits might be available are quite varied, and may include things like:
- Maternity or paternity leave;
- Elective surgery;
- Complications from a temporary illness or injury that may resolve in a few months;
- Other conditions that are expected to last only for a short time and are not chronic or ongoing for a lengthy period.
A Look At Long-Term Disability Insurance
Long-term disability is, as its name implies, insurance intended to cover injuries that last for a longer period of time than a few months. In some cases, it might be provided by your employer, and in other cases, you can purchase it for yourself.
Often, rates for long-term disability are more expensive than those for short-term disability, but the coverage is more customizable to your particular needs, and obviously lasts longer, sometimes for a term of many years. Generally, however, benefits will not replace all of your lost wages, and typically don’t start until several months after your disability began.
Often, in order to receive long-term disability benefits, you will be required to provide proof that your particular medical condition prevents you from performing the duties of your job. Just as each person is unique, every disability situation will be unique as well, although some examples of illnesses and conditions which often qualify for long-term disability benefits include:
- Long-term mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others.
- Long-term cardiovascular disabilities.
- Long-term cancers.
- Neurological and sensory problems.
- Multiple body system impairments.
- Long-term skin disorders.
- Sensory and speech disorders.
- Immune system disorders;
- Hematological disorders.
- Endocrine system disorders;
- Genetic impairments.
- And more.
In addition to these conditions, those who struggle from severe injuries that leave lasting and ongoing complications may also qualify. As anyone who has struggled with a severe injury knows, some of the impacts and limitations associated with such injuries can be lifelong, and very disabling indeed. Generally, the common component of all of these conditions is that they last more than a few months at a time. The disability they cause is ongoing, and the need for treatment is often indefinite.
A key aspect of determining whether your particular condition might qualify for long-term disability benefits will be consulting with a qualified physician who can diagnose your condition and provide a long-term prognosis. As with an application for any type of insurance or disability benefits, providing sound medical evidence proving your condition and the limitations it causes will be important.
It can also be very helpful to consult with a disability attorney who knows and understands the law and how it might apply to your particular condition. A disability attorney will be able to advise you as to which type of benefits you might qualify for, and how best to pursue those benefits.
Can I Receive Social Security Disability And Long Or Short-Term Disability?
Certainly, both long and short-term disability benefits can be quite helpful in easing the financial stress associated with difficult medical conditions. Often, however, we are asked if it is possible to not only receive short or long-term disability benefits but Social Security disability benefits as well.
Social Security disability benefits come in two primary forms – Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Typically, SSDI benefits are available to those who have a qualifying condition and have worked a job through which they made payments into the Social Security system for a certain amount of time. SSI benefits, by contrast, are typically for those who have a disability that renders them unable to work, but did not pay into the system for the required length of time, and meet other certain income and qualifying conditions.
The short answer to this question regarding receiving dual benefits is that yes, you can generally collect both Social Security benefits and long-term disability benefits at the same time. In fact, many long-term disability insurance providers will actually require applicants to apply for Social Security disability as well. While this is generally true, those receiving such benefits should realize that the amount of long-term disability benefits you receive may be reduced by the value of your monthly Social Security disability benefit.
Concerning short-term disability benefits, you can also generally collect Social Security Disability and short-term disability benefits as well. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that short-term disability benefits are exactly that – for the short term. As a result, because they are generally limited in time, you may have already received the full amount of available short-term disability benefits before you are actually approved for Social Security benefits.
Without question, the process of determining which disability benefits you might qualify for and applying for those benefits can be confusing and complex – especially when you are already struggling with a health issue. That’s why you need a talented and knowledgeable team of disability attorneys on your side who can help you through the process and assist you as you pursue the combination of benefits that are best-suited for your needs. At The Clauson Law Firm, we’re here to help you do exactly that.
Your Social Security Disability Lawyers
It’s very difficult to be disabled, to say the least. Having a chronic illness, or complications from a severe injury can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it can feel as if life as you know is entirely altered, while around you, the world keeps moving on as normal. Bills continue to arrive. The rent needs to be paid. You still have to provide for yourself and your family, all while seeking the medical care and treatment that you need. It’s a lot to process and handle – and you shouldn’t have to face it alone.
At The Clauson Law Firm, our dedicated, experienced, and talented team of disability lawyers is here to walk with you on that journey, to guide you through the process of applying for the benefits you need and deserve, and to fight for your rights under the law. You deserve to move forward toward a better and brighter chapter ahead, and you deserve to live the fullest life possible, even with your medical conditions.
Wherever you are in the legal process, from applications to appeals or anywhere in between, we can help. We would welcome the opportunity to learn your story and let you know what legal options you may have available. If you’re ready to get started, give us a call. We look forward to speaking with you soon.