There is no simple answer to the question, “how long do long term disability benefits last?” The reason is simple: every insurance policy is different. The duration of your potential long term disability benefits is one factor you should take into account when selecting a policy.
Some policies cap the length of payments at a specific number of years. For many policies, the insurer will stop paying after either 5 or 10 years pass. Other policies set their limits by age. With these policies, the age cutoff is typically 65 years old. Finally, your policy could also carry a lifetime benefit cap that reduces benefits gradually starting at age 65.
It is worth noting that obtaining these benefits at all can be a challenge. Insurers will seek out excuses to deny claims, even based on minor technicalities. With so much at stake, you could benefit from putting your claim in the hands of an experienced long term disability lawyer.
When long term disability starts
Long term disability benefits are never immediately available, even following a catastrophic injury. These benefits are intended as a last resort of sorts, with most other short-term options taking precedence. Before you can pursue long term benefits, you must first exhaust your other options, including sick leave or short-term disability coverage.
There are often other requirements attached to recovering long term benefits. Many policies could require you to take part in rehabilitation programs in an effort to return you to the workforce. Failure to comply with these programs could result in the insurer cancelling your benefits. Every insurer is different, so read your plan closely.
Understanding the length of your long term benefits
While each insurance policy approaches long term benefits differently, there are certain aspects of these policies that are mandated by law. These policies often differentiate between your ability to return to your pre-injury job and your ability to work at all. Some policies will cut off your benefits entirely after two years if you are able to return to any full-time work. Others will continue paying a reduced benefit if you find a new job that pays less than your prior occupation. If you are unable to return to work for any reason, your long term benefits could last for years.
With any of these policies, you can expect to earn befits that are 60 to 70 percent of your previous weekly salary. After 65, this percentage could fall further. This amount could also go down if you are receiving benefits from other sources. Your benefits will always offset, meaning you will never make more than your prior wage. As your other benefits increase, your policy could decrease the amount of long term disability payments you may recover.
While it is important to understand the time limits that apply to your policy, you could miss out on compensation entirely if you fail to file a claim on time. There are strict deadlines governing these claims, and insurance companies are rarely flexible with enforcing them.
In addition to requirements that you exhaust other benefits, your policy could also require that you comply with a waiting period. These waiting periods prevent you from filing a long term disability claim for a set number of months, regardless of the status of your short term disability.
How a lawyer could help
The most important thing to remember when considering the length of available disability benefits is the language of your policy. Your insurance policy will provide detailed guidelines on everything from waiting periods to benefit caps. If you are unfamiliar with your policy, it could be easy for you to miss out on potential benefits.
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we take our role as a long term disability law firm seriously. We know these long term disability policies are complex, and we are ready to explain the finer points of your policy when necessary. We are experienced with the process of filing long term disability claims and look forward to discussing your situation with you. Call right away to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.