Long Term Disability Elimination Period
If you have applied for LTD, then you may have been notified that you have a long term disability elimination period. It can be confusing when you’re unable to work and need funds to pay bills. However, by working with a skilled LTD attorney, you can obtain the benefits you need in a reasonable amount of time. Read below to learn more about what an elimination period is and how it differs from a probationary period. You can also call CJ Henry Law Firm, P.C. for more information about your claim.
What Is an Elimination Period?
You may have heard the terms “elimination period” and “probationary period” in reference to your long term disability claim. These are two very different things; however, they both impact when you can obtain benefits.
A probationary period is the time after you purchase a LTD policy when you cannot file a claim. There is a gap in time between when you initiate the policy and when you are able to begin obtaining benefits.
An elimination period is a waiting period that you must serve between when you file a claim and when you can begin receiving benefits. The time period often begins when you become ill or injured or when your claim is filed, depending on the wording in your policy.
How Long Is an Elimination Period?
Most elimination periods are 90 days; however, yours could be longer or shorter depending upon your policy. You may also have the option to decrease the length of your elimination period by paying a higher premium. In many situations, the elimination period is covered by a short-term disability plan or with liquid savings.
Most LTD Policies Do Not Have Probationary Periods
Although many health insurance plans and other policies you’ll opt into have probationary periods, many LTD policies do not have them. You could, essentially, file a claim the day after you take out an LTD plan, if necessary. However, you will still likely have to wait the elimination period, even if you file a claim right away.
Things You Should Know About LTD Elimination Periods
Pre-Existing Conditions Are Usually Excluded
If you take out an LTD policy, it is likely that the insurance company will exclude your pre-existing conditions for a period of time. That time period is usually two-years unless your policy states otherwise. This typically applies to disclosed and nondisclosed pre-existing conditions. This prevents someone who knows they aren’t able to work from buying a policy and lying during the underwriting process, and then filing a claim right away. Disability insurance would be overused and too costly if insurance companies could not prevent people from doing this.
Elimination Periods May Be Accumulated
The long term disability elimination period does not have to be consecutive days. Policies generally have an accumulation period that lasts around a year over which time you may satisfy the elimination period. For example, if you miss work for 30 days and then try to return, but you are unable to fulfill the duties of your job and again return to a nonworking status, then the first 30 days will count towards your elimination period. You would only have 60 more days left in your elimination period since you had already accumulated 30 days within the last year.
Recurring Disabilities Use the Same Elimination Periods
For most policies, if you have a recurring disability of the same condition, then a new elimination period will be waived. For example, if you are diagnosed with debilitating depression and you are on long term disability for six months, then you go back to work, but the depression becomes debilitating again, you do not have to wait through another elimination period to begin receiving benefits. You would be immediately eligible for LTD benefits.
However, if you become unable to work due to a different condition, then you will likely have to wait another elimination period.
Other Concerns with LTD Insurance
In addition to worrying about your elimination period, you should be concerned with the following regarding your LTD insurance claim:
- What is the definition of disability? Does “disability” mean that you can’t work your own job or any job at all? This could mean the difference between being approved for benefits and fighting for them.
- What is the benefit period? How long can you receive benefits in total? This may be a period of two years or through your retirement as long as you can continue to prove you are disabled.
- What is your benefit amount? You should know how much money you’ll get each month from your LTD insurer. The typical amount of benefit is 60% of your previous take home pay.
Call an LTD Attorney for Help
If you have questions about your long term disability elimination period, contact an attorney at CJ Henry Law Firm, P.C.