Disability Insurance Blog

The Importance Of A Favorable Short-Term Disability Claim

short term disability

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

At Frankel & Newfield, PC, we represent people across the U.S. seeking disability benefits under long-term policies AND those with short-term disability insurance claims. 

Short-term claims are important when missing even a few paychecks can weaken your family’s financial safety net and because if the disabling impairment lasts longer than the time limit of the short-term policy, you will need to make a claim under your long-term policy.

If the same insurer offers both policies — often the case if both are through the same employer — trouble with the short-term claim can spill over into the long-term claim. Legal advocacy for success with the shorter claim can therefore be crucial. Timely transition is aided with advocacy helping to develop long-term claim support even during the short-term process. 

The basics 

When a medical condition, either injury or disease, prevents you from working, you apply for short-term disability benefits to replace lost income. Short-term disability provides partial wage replacement for a time determined under the policy, normally between three to six months. Long-term disability typically begins thereafter, creating an opportunity for a seamless transition. 

Short-term disability policies are often available through an employer; in some states this is required by law. The employer will either pay the benefits itself or purchase the policy through an insurance company, usually the same one that provides the employer’s long-term policy. It varies by employer whether you will need to pay any part of the ongoing premiums. 

You can also purchase a private short-term disability plan (or long-term plan) yourself on the open market if your employer does not provide it or if you are self-employed. Policies typically contain elimination periods (like a deductible in other insurance areas). 

Long-term policies are designed to kick in after short-term coverage runs out, usually 90 days after disability begins or longer. 

The challenges 

When an employee’s disability lasts longer than the period of the short-term policy and must apply for long-term benefits under the same insurer, the insurance company may try denying the short-term claim or use evidence from the short-term claim as reasons to deny the long-term disability claim. 

To keep a flow of money continuing while you take time off to heal and to increase the odds of a successful long-term claim, should it become necessary, take the short-term claims process seriously. An experienced disability insurance attorney can answer questions and assist with the claim.