What’s the Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Disability?

If you’ve been injured or are suffering from an illness, you may find it hard to meet the responsibilities that your job requires. Disability benefits could provide you with some income replacement and can help you pay for medical expenses on your road to recovery.

Thankfully, many employers offer group disability insurance plans. But few of us spend time reading through the policies or can understand the complexities of what they provide. For starters, does your employer offer both short-term and long-term disability? To better understand the distinction, let’s have a closer look.

Short-term disability insurance

Once an employee has used up their sick days but still cannot return to work, they will often look for short-term disability (STD) benefits to cover their income. STD insurance usually lasts for up to six months, though some benefits could last up to a year.

STD benefits typically represent 70% of an employee’s regular income. But not every employer offers them in the group policy. If a company plan doesn’t provide STD benefits, employees must instead turn to Employment Insurance (EI).

Of course, the total amount, length of coverage, exceptions and conditions of those disability benefits are all contingent on the specifics outlined in the group plan.

Long-term disability insurance

Once STD is complete, the next step for anyone continuing to struggle with a disability is to apply for long-term disability (LTD) insurance. LTD benefits will technically provide a percentage of an employee’s earnings for up to two years.

After those 24 months are up, employees must prove that not only are they unable to work at their specific job, they can’t work at “any occupation” for which they’re otherwise suited. It’s an important determination to prove they’re still eligible for benefits.

Each policy will uniquely determine what “disability” means and how to meet their definition. But if an applicant can succeed at demonstrating “total disability”, it will be a lot easier to attain LTD benefits.

A lawyer can help

The process of applying for STD and LTD benefits is not an easy one. Policies are complex and applying for benefits while recovering from an injury or illness can be difficult. But if you work with an experienced disability lawyer, that burden eases significantly. A skilled and knowledgeable lawyer can help you understand your policy and your rights. And if you’ve been denied benefits, they can help you make a strong claim with a greater chance of getting approved.

The team at Auger Hollingsworth has helped many clients successfully dispute benefit denials and reinstate long-term disability benefits. If you want to discuss how we can help you secure the compensation you deserve, call us at (613) 233 4529 or email us at [email protected] today.

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