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Why might one want short-term and long-term disability insurance?

Many times, when a person starts a new job or even if they've been in the same position for a while, they are fortunate to be offered a variety of job benefits by their employer. It can sometimes be confusing to determine which benefits are worthwhile, and which a person can make do without. Some benefits that could prove to be very valuable are short-term disability insurance policies and long-term disability insurance policies.

If a worker is injured or gets sick, a short-term disability insurance policy would become effective and start paying benefits within a matter of weeks. It could help in a variety of circumstances in which a person would be unable to work for a few weeks. For example, it would be useful if a person broke a bone, had an operation that would keep them out of work for a number of weeks or even if a person had a baby.

A long-term disability insurance policy, on the other hand, usually takes a number of months (around three to six months) before it takes effect and starts paying benefits. It is helpful if a person suffers a more serious injury or illness that would necessitate a longer recovery period. Some policies pay out benefits for a couple of years, while other policies would pay out benefits until the policyholder reaches the age of retirement. Some examples of when it would be beneficial to have long-term disability insurance include if a person suffers from back problems, cancer, heart disease or a mental illness.

In the end, having both a short-term disability insurance policy and a long-term disability policy can be useful, as the two policies can dovetail, ensuring the policyholder has more coverage should they suffer a major injury or illness. It may be possible for a person to receive short-term disability benefits, and once those have been exhausted, receive long-term disability benefits. However, if there is a gap in coverage, the policyholder would need to find some way to account for that period financially on their own.

Disability insurance policies can be especially useful if a person does not have enough in savings or paid time off to make it through an extended illness or injury financially. Most people rely on receiving a paycheck on a regular basis. If they are unable to do so due to an injury or illness having disability insurance can ensure that their finances will be supplemented while they are unable to work, and subsequently, get paid.

Source: Council For Disability Awareness, "Short-Term vs. Long-Term Disability: What Do You Need," June 17, 2015

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