Long-Term Disability Insurance (LTD)

Common Pitfalls

Confusing Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance with public disability benefits

Long-Term Disability (LTD) Insurance is not a government benefit and is not connected to any public benefit program. It is private insurance that you get through a private company.

To find out if you have LTD coverage through your employer, talk to your Human Resources person. To sign up for an individual policy, contact an insurance company or insurance agent.

If you are looking for information about public cash benefits for people with disabilities, see:

Not keeping good records of your condition

The more records you have of your symptoms and how your disability affects your day-to-day life, the easier it will be to get approved for SDI benefits and, if needed, make a case for continuing your benefit payments past the date your medical provider originally said you should be able to return to work. Keeping a daily journal of even minor symptoms can help quite a bit, and can jog your memory when you are talking with medical providers about your medical condition. If your disability makes you unable to keep a journal yourself, a friend or relative can do it for you.

Denial of Your Disability

It is common for individuals to have periods of time when they deny to themselves, their families, and medical provider(s) that a disabling condition exists. For some, it is an approach to coping with a new condition. During this period of time, the individual’s communication with medical providers may not accurately or fully describe the severity of a condition or how seriously it affects day to day activities.

Basing decisions on misinformation

Most of us usually rely on other people’s experiences to understand how to deal with our own situations. The problem with this is that disability and government benefits are person-centered. Benefits programs fit each person differently, based on a variety of facts and conditions, such as:

  • Your work history
  • How much you earn
  • What you own
  • What your disability is and the extent of your impairment
  • How clearly you report the details of your condition to your medical provider
  • How well your medical provider understands or documents these details
  • What benefits an employer provides, and
  • What benefits you have purchased individually.

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