Can You Work on Long-Term Disability?
Long-term disability benefits are different from Social Security disability benefits. Generally speaking, your qualification for long-term disability benefits hinges on the fact that you can no longer work your current job and that you cannot work any job that allows you earn at least 60% of what you were earning before you went on disability. So can you work on long-term disability? You can, but going back to work could jeopardize your disability benefits.
CJ Henry Law Firm combines years of experience in both the legal and medical fields to deliver successful outcomes for our clients. Those who have to fight for their disability benefits will find a team tireless advocates who understand how insurance companies work and will get the evidence necessary to prove your case to the court. We can help.
Own Occupation LTD Policies
There are two kinds of long-term disability benefits policies. One type of policy pays out on the condition that you can no longer work doing the job you were currently doing before you were injured. The other type of policy pays out on the condition that you cannot gain work doing any job making, at the minimum, 60% of what you were making before.
The former type of policy is known as “Own Occupation” policies. When you can no longer perform the duties of your current profession, you qualify under an own occupation policy. While it’s much easier to work under an own occupation policy than it is an any occupation policy, there may be limitations on the amount you can earn.
The 80% Rule
An own occupation policy may have an 80% rule. You can receive benefits while working under an own occupation policy if the amount of money you are making at a new profession is less than or equal to 80% of your pre-disability earnings.
The 100% Rule
An own occupation policy with a 100% rule caps the amount of money one can make at 100% of their pre-disability earnings. In other words, if your current earnings plus your disability benefits are more than what you earned before you became disabled, the amount of benefits will be reduced to keep your total earnings even with your prior earnings.
The Professional License Rule
A policy may define the inability to do one’s own job as the inability to retain a license for a professional position. Clauses like these may broadly reduce the amount of coverage an individual enjoys under an LTD policy. For instance, a medical license covers a vast array of professions within the medical field. A surgeon may not be qualified to do other medical work and can still be denied under the policy.
Working Under an “Any Occupation” Policy
Any occ policies cover those who cannot do any job for which they are “reasonably qualified” for. While there may be very few people who aren’t qualified to do a job working fast food, “any job” generally requires that it provides you with at least 60% of your former income. In addition, those who decide to work on these policies will generally have their benefits reduced if they are making between 20% and 80% of their former income. If they exceed 80%, they may no longer qualify under an any occupation policy.
Many long-term disability policies provide policyholders with own occupation benefits for the first two years after sustaining an injury that prevents them from doing their current occupation. These policies then transition into any occupation policies.
Should I Return to Work?
Folks who are capable of working often feel listless when out of work. Long-term disability policies provide them with the time and protection they need to pursue other vocations. During the period where you’re under an own occupation policy, you can spend that time:
- getting vocational training,
- returning to college,
- or pursuing a different line of work.
These policies are there to protect employees from having the floor drop out from under them when they are injured and can no longer work, at least for a period of time. But there’s no reason to believe that they will pay out forever if you’re capable of doing some job.
You will need to review your policy. Look closely at the policy to determine whether or not securing gainful employment is in your best interests at that point in time. Also, you will want to be sure that you are healthy enough to sustain full-time work when you do decide to go get another job. You do not want to lose the policy and then have nothing to fall back on.
Talk to a Long-Term Disability Lawyer Today
CJ Henry Law Firm can help advise you on the best course of action. We can help you make sure you don’t place yourself into a potentially perilous situation. If you have questions regarding LTD benefits, call us today for help.