If you cannot work due to a disability for a period, you may be eligible for Disability Insurance. Short Term Disability (STD) typically provides coverage for three to six months and provides valuable benefits for surgical rehabilitation, pregnancy or severe illness or injury. If your condition persists past this initial coverage period, you may be able to transition to Long Term Disability (“LTD”) benefits if offered. LTD benefits can provide coverage for an extended period—sometimes until you reach your Social Security Retirement Age.
One crucial factor to keep in mind is that not all conditions will be covered under LTD. For example, pre-existing condition limitations apply for any disability that starts during your first 12 months of employment. An LTD policy can also limit benefits to a limited time (typically two years) for specific disabilities like mental/nervous conditions, fibromyalgia, and chronic pain. Knowing these limitations ahead of time will help you plan for the future and help you avoid any surprises down the road.
What is the Process to Transition from STD to LTD?
When your condition persists beyond the initial three-to-six-month period that STD covers, you will need to transition to LTD to continue receiving benefits, one of two scenarios usually covers the process. If the same company handles both your STD and LTD, there will undoubtedly be paperwork to complete, but it is a more straightforward process as the company has already done the legwork to understand your condition and obtain medical records and other pertinent information. You typically will not have to go through the claims process over again, making for a much smoother changeover to LTD.
The second scenario occurs when a different company handles your LTD. In this case, you will most likely be required to submit a new claim form, records, and doctor certifications. That’s a more rigorous process that may be even more in-depth than when you applied for STD. Although daunting, it will be required to ensure you continue receiving your much needed benefits until you are well enough to return to your previous activity level.
Can I just apply for Long Term Disability?
You certainly can, but LTD policies have an “Elimination Period.” While this varies from policy to policy, the typical length of time is 90 days until you will start receiving benefits. STD and LTD are designed to work together; therefore STD covers this gap in time, providing you with benefits while you wait for your LTD to kick in.
How can a Lawyer Help?
A lawyer will handle your claims process and minimize the chances of denial of benefits. If a claim is denied for any reason, they can also assist in determining your options, including a lawsuit. At Schiffman Law, our experienced lawyers have helped many clients resolve their STD and LTD claims successfully. Give us a call at 602) 638-2864 for a free consultation and to see how we can remove the stress of the process so you can focus on healing.