What is the Difference Between Short-Term and Long-Term Disability?
Disability policies may offer short-term or long-term protection. The two types normally differ both in when they begin paying benefits and how long they pay benefits for.
Short-term policies normally begin offering disability benefits fairly soon after a covered disability is diagnosed, and they normally continue paying benefits for a set amount of time. For example, a short-term policy might offer payments for up to 6 months.
Long-term policies tend to have somewhat lengthy periods before they’ll begin offering payments for a covered claim, but they may continue to make payments indefinitely once the payments start. For instance, a long-term policy might not offer any benefits until 6 months after a covered diagnosis. Once benefits are paid, though, the policy may continue making payments until the disability is overcome or retirement age is reached.
(With all disability policies, exact benefits and time frames can vary. Workers should review a policy’s specific terms, conditions and limits to find out what protections that particular policy will afford.)
What Types of Conditions Do Disability Policies Cover?
Disability policies might cover a variety of injuries, illnesses and other events depending on the language in their documentation. Some issues that a particular policy may cover include:
- Musculoskeletal disorders
- Connective tissue disorders
- Mental disorders
- Cardiovascular events
Short-term policies sometimes also cover pregnancy. Long-term policies are generally less likely to cover pregnancy because their waiting period often takes up a lot of a woman’s gestation period.