According to the Social Security Administration 2018 fact sheet, one in four of today’s young adults will become disabled before reaching the age of 67. Yet, only 20 percent of respondents surveyed by LIMRA, an association of financial services and insurance companies, stated that they carry disability insurance. According to TMA Insurance Trust, 90 percent of disabilities are caused by illness and the average long-term disability claim duration is 34.6 months.
Many Americans obtain short and long-term disability through their employers. However, not everyone has access to employer disability benefits. Even if it is available, it may not be sufficient to cover all expenses during the disability. Social Security Disability benefits may be available, but eligibility is not certain as it offers the most restrictive definition of disability. Private, long-term disability may be a more effective means of ensuring a steady income in the event of a disability.
Individuals can purchase private disability insurance. In exchange for regular premium payments, the company contracts to provide insurance payments to a portion of that individual’s salary to cover the disability period. Short-term disability insurance covers a few months while long-term disability insurance will cover longer periods of time. The details of what is covered, the duration of coverage, and definitions of disability will be provided in the insurance contract.
Typically, there are two types of long-term disability insurance known as either “own occupation” or “any occupation.”
Own Occupation. This type of disability insurance is used if the individual is unable to work in their current occupation. For example, a surgeon may opt to procure “own occupation” disability insurance involving an injury to the hand. This insurance will pay a portion of the surgeon’s income for not being able to work as a surgeon until their hand heals.
Any occupation. This type of disability insurance is only triggered if the insured is unable to secure any job during their disability. For example, if the surgeon were to procure “any occupation” disability, the surgeon can only avail the benefits if they are unable to secure any other employment. If the surgeon earns income through medical consultations instead, they will not qualify for the benefits. Typically, “any occupation” premiums are lower than “own occupation” premiums.
Obtaining insurance benefits upon sustaining a disability requires one to fill out requisite forms and prove their disability and income. Disability may be proven through medical records and physician statements to support the disability claim. However, insurance companies may deny disability claims or may not pay the entire amount due.
If you have concerns regarding your disability insurance, contact the Pittsburgh long-term disability lawyers at AlpernSchubert P.C. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 412-765-1888. Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout western Pennsylvania, including Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.
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