Have you been approved for long-term disability benefits or are you in the process of applying for them? If so, you are probably wondering how long those benefits will last.

We frequently get this question from our clients at Roy Law Group, and we’re here to help explain how this is determined. No two insurance policies are exactly the same, so if you’d like us to look at your policy, be sure to reach out.

How long does long-term disability last?

Long-term disability insurance may cover a wide range of medical conditions that result from an injury or serious illness. Once you become eligible to receive benefits, you are entitled to continued benefits for as long as you meet your insurance policy’s definition of disability. However, in no event will your benefits ever last beyond the termination date of the policy.

Generally speaking, the termination date for most policies is age 65 or Social Security Retirement Age (SSRA), whichever is a longer period of time.

What is the definition of disability?

Your insurance policy will have its own specific definition of disability. You should check your plan documents or consult with your employer’s human resources to know how disability is defined in your policy.

A policy’s definition of disability is typically based on a person’s ability to perform duties in their “own occupation” or “any occupation.”

Own occupation

Under most policies, you are entitled to disability benefits if you are unable to work in your own, regular occupation.

These “own occupation” or “regular occupation” benefits often only last 24 months. After 24 months, many policies change the definition of disability for own or regular occupation to “any occupation.”

Under most policies, you are entitled to disability benefits if you are unable to work in your own, regular occupation.

Any occupation

“Any occupation” is a term that can be defined in many different ways.

Some policies define “any occupation” as any job you can work based on your training, education, and experience. This is a very broad definition. If your policy defines “any occupation” in this way, then you will have to prove that you’re unable to work in any job at all. Otherwise, you will not be considered disabled and your benefits will cease after 24 months.

Other policies define “any occupation” as any job you can work for a specific income. This amount is based on a certain percentage of what you were earning before you became disabled as defined by your policy. In this case, if you are unable to earn that specified amount in any job whatsoever, you will remain entitled to disability insurance benefits.

How insurance companies cut off your benefits early

Insurance companies seek to protect their bottom line – not the best interests of their customers. It is what we at Roy Law Group have built our entire practice on.

Unfortunately, the law allows insurance companies to take any “reasonable measures” to vet your disability claim and deny your benefits.

“Reasonable measures” may involve any of the following:

  • Independent medical exam (IME) – This is an in-person medical exam performed by the insurance company’s own doctors.
  • Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE) – This is a series of physical tests required by your insurance company to determine your ability to perform your job.
  • Questionnaires or other forms – You may be required to fill out any documents the insurance company deems necessary and return them within a short period of time.
  • Attending Physician Statements – Your insurance company may request statements directly from your doctors with detailed information about your medical condition(s).
  • Medical records – Your insurance company may review your medical records to determine if you are receiving appropriate care for your medical condition(s).

If your claim is denied, don’t give up

How long your long-term disability will last can depend on many different factors, many of which will be out of your control. There are teams of people – physicians, nurses, and attorneys – that may determine the continued validity of your disability claim.

Once you are approved, your insurance company will be continually reviewing your claim and looking to find any reasonable excuse to deny it. If your claim has been denied, we urge you to call us for free disability claim advice.

Our team at Roy Law Group knows the subtle and complicated aspects of disability law – it is all we do. We do the work, so you can focus on your personal health and well-being.

Contact Roy Law Group right away to set up your consultation.