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Reliance on SSDI Safety net in Lieu of LTD Short Sighted

If you are offered long-term disability insurance as part of your benefits package at work, you might be tempted to turn it down. Why pay for something (even if your financial contribution toward the premium is small) that you think you are unlikely to need? You may be young and healthy, and maybe you figure you can use Social Security Disability Insurance instead if you cannot work because of illness or an injury.

This logic is not necessary sound. You should seriously consider options at work for LTD coverage (and if you are self-employed, you should investigate private policies). After all, if the two programs were the same, there would be a much smaller market for LTD policies.

SSDI and LTD are both types of disability insurance, but in some ways, they are quite different and they do not provide the same safety net.

Definition of Disability

LTD policies vary in what they define as a disability-triggering event if you cannot work. Many say either that you are disabled and eligible for benefits if medical problems prevent you from performing the duties of your own job or occupation. These are called “own occupation” policies, meaning you are eligible for benefits when you cannot do your own job.

Think here about the skills needed if you are a piano tuner as opposed to a worker on an assembly line. These jobs are each an honest way to earn a living, but if you are in an accident that harms your hearing, you might be unable to work as a piano tuner, but probably still could work as an assembler.

Other LTD policies say you are disabled if you cannot work in “any occupation” that is commensurate with your educational and work history. This is a harder standard to meet. In the piano tuner example, the insurance company might say that even if you can’t hear, you are still suited to do piano repair work, so you are not disabled.

SSDI, a public program earned by your payroll contributions to Social Security, has a different definition of disability. The medical or physical impairment or combination of impairments must be expected to last at least a year or result in death, and you basically must be unable to perform “substantially gainful work” in jobs existing in significant numbers the national economy considering your impairments, age, work history and education.

But it’s even more complicated than that. You can also be eligible for SSDI if you have an impairment that is on a list of conditions so serious that if you meet or equal that “listing” you are automatically deemed disabled.

The difference in the definitions of disability is only one of several issues that can vary between SSDI and LTD policies.

Client Reviews
Just when I thought there was no hope to recover my LTD benefits, I found attorney Constantin Roboostoff. With his expertise, I was able to recover all of my back long term disability benefits. Other attorneys wouldn’t take my case because it wasn’t cut and dry. Mr. Roboostoff took the challenge and did an incredible job. Not only did he get my current disability benefits going, he also recovered all my back benefits. He was a true blessing and I would recommend him whole heartedly. CW
It was my pleasure to make contact with Scott Kalkin three years ago after other lawyers had turned me away and told me I would not succeed in my lawsuit. Thanks to Scott's thoroughness, dedication, and diligence, my lawsuit WAS successful and he saw me through to the end, which included putting legal pressure on the insurance company which had invested so much time, personnel, and money, in not paying me what was due. RB
As soon as I met with Scott, I could tell he was knowledgeable, resourceful, experienced, highly professional, and would be dedicated to getting me fair treatment. Scott has handled all interactions with my insurance company ever since. Being able to rely on him to represent me has been a huge relief for a chronically ill person. SO