If you have recently suffered a disability, you may be exploring options such as long-term disability insurance and Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) – and wondering the difference between LTD vs SSDI benefits. If you have been denied for one or both of these, you likely also do not know what next steps to take. It is important to understand the difference between long-term disability insurance and SSDI benefits for those on a long-term disability plan.
The Definition of Disability
One major difference between long-term disability insurance and SSDI is the definition of disability. The SSA requires that you prove you have suffered a total disability before receiving benefits. This does not only mean that you cannot perform your current job, but that your skills and capabilities do not allow you to perform any job. Most carriers of long-term disability insurance do not require that you are completely unable to perform any type of work.
When You are Eligible
Social Security disability benefits have a six-month waiting period imposed on them. This means that after you submit your application, you must wait a minimum of six months before you can receive benefits. Long-term disability insurance, on the other hand, applies after you run out of short-term disability insurance. This time period is typically three months from the date you suffered the disability.
You cannot customize your SSDI benefits in the same manner you can with long-term disability insurance. A long-term disability insurance plan is sometimes offered by employers, although individuals can purchase it on their own, as well. As with any insurance plan, you can move up or down levels, depending on whether you want the plan to cover 60 percent, 70 percent, or more of your disability. The more coverage you purchase, the more the insurance will cost you.
SSDI benefits are not customizable. The amount you receive will depend on the wages you earned while working, and the length of time you worked. You have no say in how many benefits you receive, and you cannot increase the amount you receive in the future.
The SSA will likely deny your application initially. The agency is known for denying 70 percent of initial applications every year. Within your denial are steps you can take to appeal the decision. There are several steps you must go through during the process. If your long-term disability insurance claim is denied, you will likely have to go through an administrative appeals process. If you exhaust the administrative appeals process, you can file a lawsuit against the insurer to appeal the decision in federal court.
An Attorney Can Help You
If you have suffered a disability and need to apply for SSDI, or you have been denied by your insurance company, an attorney can help with your case. A skilled legal professional can assist you through the process of obtaining the benefits you need and give you the best chance of success.