Your disability can entitle you to apply for both Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) benefits and benefits from a long-term disability insurance policy (LTD). Many employers provide long-term disability insurance coverage for their employees as part of the overall benefits package, along with health insurance, and retirement plans. But understanding how your LTD benefits affect your SSD benefits can be confusing.
Contacting an expert Social Security lawyer is the most important step you can take to maximize your understanding of your rights under your long-term disability policy and your SSD benefits. As a professional SSD and SSI lawyer, Attorney Scott London is a specialist in all the laws and regulations governing the available Social Security Administration benefits. He and his experienced team of SSD attorneys and advocates at LondonDisability.com will also guide you through the terms of your long-term disability insurance policy. Here are the answers to some common questions:
1). Can you receive both LTD and SSD payments at the same time?
You can receive payments from the LTD policy and SSD benefit payments at the same time. The details of each case depend on the specific terms in your LTD policy, but generally, you will qualify to claim your LTD insurance payments while you apply for and wait to hear the decision on your SSD and SSI application.
2). What’s the difference between SSDI and long-term disability (LTD) insurance?
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are paid by the federal government from a dedicated fund financed through workers’ and employers’ tax contributions, called the Social Security Trust Fund. Long-term disability insurance policies are private contracts between you or your employer and a large insurance company. They are funded by the LTD insurance company from its reserves built from insurance premiums and other investments.
3). Different Eligibility Criteria
Eligibility for SSD benefits requires a person to be totally disabled. A person is considered disabled if their physical or mental impairment prevents them from performing substantial gainful activity for at least a year. Most LTD insurance policies are much less strict in defining what qualifies as a disability.
4). LTD Insurance Can Exclude Some Illnesses from Coverage
Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are available to all qualified workers who become disabled due to physical or mental impairments. Even long-standing impairments can qualify if they progress to a point leaving a worker totally disabled.
But private LTD insurance companies are allowed to exclude disability coverage for preexisting conditions and some claims arising from mental illness. In the case of some serious persistent mental illnesses, the LTD companies can limit the coverage to as little as 12 or 24 months.
Only an experienced SSDI and SSI lawyer can interpret the complicated legal rules that apply to your policy. Every long-term disability insurance policy is particular in its coverage and definitions. The expertise gained from many years of study and work as a dedicated SSD and SSI attorney cannot be substituted by a less experienced general practice lawyer. Attorney Scott London built his stellar reputation by guiding disabled workers through the complex maze of legal obstacles all the way to their maximum benefit payments.
Attorney Scott London and his team of SSD Advocates can read and analyze your LTD policy and ensure you get every payment you deserve.
5). Do SSD and SSI payments get offset by LTD policy payments?
Insurance companies never want to pay more money to policyholders than they must. The same holds true with LTD insurance policies. When you receive your monthly SSD benefit payment, the LTD insurer is allowed by the terms of most policies to offset or reduce their monthly disability payment to you by the amount of your SSD payment. So, if your LTD policy previously paid $2,000 per month, your receiving monthly SSD payments of $1,300 could entitle the monthly LTD payment to be reduced to $700.
If you received a lump sum SSD payment for past-due benefits earned while you were awaiting your SSD approval, the LTD insurance company may be able to demand you repay the benefits it issued during those covered months.
Everything depends on the exact terms and definitions spelled out in your LTD policy. You need to carefully read every word of the policy to determine precisely what exclusions, restrictions, and loopholes exist.
7). LTD insurance policy may require you to apply for Social Security Disability benefits.
The terms of your LTD policy may mandate that you apply for SSD benefits if your disability persists beyond several months. The LTD insurer can require that you share the same records with them as you use to apply for your government disability benefits. If you are denied by SSD, it is possible that the LTD insurer will try to use that denial to declare you are no longer eligible for LTD payments.
Should You Accept the LTD Company’s SSD Lawyer Referral?
NO! Remember that the insurance company is interested in saving money. It’s true that the lawyer the LTD company refers you to may be honorable and smart. But you deserve to have a lawyer who does not depend on business coming from the LTD company. Keep in mind that if you are denied SSD benefits, that denial could be used to deny you LTD payments as well.
Don’t gamble with the support you and your family need during your period of disability.