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What Is the Elimination Period of An Individual Disability Policy?

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What Is the Elimination Period of An Individual Disability Policy?

One thing in life is certain – we can expect the unexpected. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes, it can mean that difficult times might lie ahead. It’s for that reason that insurance is often purchased. Insurance can provide peace of mind and coverage for unforeseen circumstances – like finding yourself disabled, for example. Without question, illnesses or injuries can arise unexpectedly, and when they do, disability benefits, whether provided by an individual disability policy, or through Social Security, can make a significant difference in relieving financial stress.


While disability benefits can be extremely helpful and much-needed, it’s important to understand that you may not begin receiving benefits immediately following an injury. Often, there is an “elimination period” – or a waiting period – between the time that the disabling condition occurs, and the time that payment of benefits begins. Let’s take a closer look at how these elimination periods work for disability policies.


Taking A Closer Look


Without question, choosing the best waiting period for your disability insurance coverage needs is important. The elimination period will not only determine when benefits begin being paid out, but it also typically impacts your premiums. Different insurers will offer different waiting periods. These waiting periods are similar to the concept of a deductible insofar as it reduces a bit of the cost for the insurer. In the case of a deductible, an individual must pay a predetermined amount of money before benefits begin, whereas with an elimination period, an insurer avoids paying 100% of the benefits because there is a waiting period before the benefits kick in.


As you examine various policy offerings and try to determine what might be the best fit for your situation, it’s important to realize that generally, the longer the elimination policy is, the less you will ultimately pay in premiums. Thus, choosing a one-month elimination policy where benefits begin fairly quickly after the disabling condition occurs will cost more than a policy with a one-year elimination period. Generally, 30-day elimination periods are often considerably more expensive than 60-day periods, which are, in turn, more costly than 90-day periods.


Ultimately, the best route in choosing a policy will be thoroughly considering your options and consulting with an attorney about the finer points of the policy and how they might affect you from a legal perspective. Doing so can spare a great deal of stress and headache down the road when and if a disabling condition ultimately does arise.


What About Social Security Disability Benefits?


Many disabled individuals also seek Social Security disability benefits and wonder about the elimination policy for those benefits as well. Unlike private individual disability policies where you may have a variety of choices in terms of the policy’s elimination period, the elimination period for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is defined by the Social Security Administration and typically set at around five months.


Generally, the Social Security elimination period begins on the date that the injury or illness for which benefits are being received became disabling. This is often referred to as a “disability onset date,” and the waiting period is usually five months after that date. The Social Security Administration has this waiting period in place because Social Security disability benefits are intended only for those with long-term disabilities. Rather than pay disability benefits immediately and later discover that an injury or illness was only short-term, the Social Security Administration implements this “wait and see” period to ensure that a condition will qualify for coverage. For that reason, if your illness or injury resolves before the expiration of the five-month elimination period, you will likely be ineligible for benefits.


For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, which are usually offered to those below a certain income level who did not work a job that paid into the Social Security system, there is generally no waiting period, although benefit amounts may be lower. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney will be able to review your situation, determine which benefits you may qualify for, and advise you specifically as to whether or not an elimination period might exist if your application is approved.


London Disability – Here For You


If you are disabled and in need of benefits, you need a legal team on your side who knows and understands the law, and who can help you through each and every step of the process. At London Disability, we are that team. Wherever you are in the process, we’ll meet you there, and we will guide you forward with the expertise that you need on your side. If you’re ready to get started, we’re here for you. There’s no day like today to begin pursuing the benefits you need and to move forward toward what is hopefully a better and brighter chapter ahead. Call us today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.