You have probably injured yourself a couple of times in your life. Most of these injuries were (hopefully) pretty minor and inconsequential. But sometimes, our injuries can result in much more than just a bruise. But where is the line on what is and what isn’t a “long-term” disability? What benefits does it provide? That’s what we’ll take a look at in this article.
What counts as a long-term disability?
Simply put, a long term disability is a form of injury, illness, mental disorder, or other types of disability that last for a long time, mostly forever. The precise manner and type of the disability is usually outlined in your insurance plan. There are the obvious things, like having one or more amputations, but there are also more tricky, harder to prove ones. Those would be your mental illnesses and disorders.
Because the mental disabilities are much harder to prove, they are also very rarely actually counted as long-term.
What benefits can you get because of it?
Since most long-term disabilities make it outright impossible to work in the standart work environment, there is a system in place designed to compensate for your missed work hours. In the simplest terms, you get paid a certain amount each month. This amount is based on your annual income prior the disability diagnosis. If you’d like to see the calculations for yourself, i’d suggest one of the many disability calculators.
But be careful. As said before, many long-term disabilities are hard to prove. Because of that, approximately 70% of long-term disability claims are initially denied. This denial can be caused by many different things. You could have provided too little prove of the disability, or maybe you filed for it at the wrong time. But don’t worry, there are many different law firms that can help you, some even specializing in helping denied long-term disability claims.
Also, if you have a significant other, they might offer you a flower or two to show support, just be careful that it isn’t a tulip in the medieval Netherlands
What kind of long-term disabilities are there?
The amount of thing that count as a long-term disability is immense. Because of that, they’re divided into categories, usually based on what part of our body is disabled. Here’s a list of the categories, with a few examples for each one:
- Cancer – I think this one needs the least amount of explaining. There are many different types of cancer, but they all have the common theme. Cancer is, to put it simply, just your cells that never stop multiplying. While usually treatable, all the chemotherapy and surgeries can prove even more problems than some other disabilities on this list
- Amputations – Another fairly simple one. I think it’s a no-brainer that a person, who is missing a limb or even multiple limbs might have difficulties in the work environment.
- Cardiovascular System – Another fairly simple one. This category focuses on diseases of the hearth and veins, like hearth arrhythmia or coronary artery disease. This disability usually develops in older people, and makes it borderline impossible to perform any sort of challenging physical labor.
- Nervous system – This category might seem a bit misleading at first. “Nervous system disability doesn’t just mean stuff like not being able to control your legs, for example. It can also be things like epilepsy, or any other disease where people lose controls over their bodies.
- Genitourinary Disorders – Diseases affecting your excretory system, like your kidneys and your urine bladder are also a very common cause for long-term disabilities.
- Hematological Disorders – Although fairly rare, diseases affecting your blood are possibly one of the most dangerous ones possible in some fields. If your blood doesn’t clot properly (hemophilia), you have to be extremely careful around anything sharp, because even a small cut could send you to the hospital.
- Musculoskeletal Disorders – The leading cause of all the long and short-term disability claims. Everything from a simple back pain to arthritis. If it affects your muscles and/or bones, it’s in this category.
- Congenital Disorders Affecting Multiple Body Systems – This category is technically both the broadest, and also the one with the least actual things in it. This disability happens when you are suffering from many different afflictions, even though each one of them wouldn’t be a cause for a disability on it’s own.
- Mental Disorders – This one is probably the hardest to prove, and because of that, is often the one being denied. There are a plethora of different mental disorders, ranging from the simple ones like depression, to the complex and deadly ones like dementia.
- Respiratory Disorders – The category most discussed in the last 2 years. While yes, even the dreaded COVID-19 virus might belong in this category, it’s only its worst cases. The usual disabilities in this category are the ones like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In this category, there’s even Asbestosis, a disease caused by inhaling asbestos, a material that was commonly used in real estate in the past.
- Skin Disorders – It can sound weird at the start that someone might be disabled for a long time because of their skin. But it doesn’t have to be just diseases and birth defects. It could also be severe burns, or maybe an allergic reaction to some work-site materials.
- Special Senses and Speech – This category mostly affects construction workers. If you loose one or more of your senses (some hot material falls into your eyes, maybe a loud noise damages your hearing), you might also be eligible for long-term disability benefits.
There are many more other types of long-term disabilities, but these are the most important ones.
How long can i benefit from my long-term disability?
It’s important to remember that each insurance company sets their own rules on what is and isn’t a long-term disability. In the same manner, they dictate for how long they are going to support those that end up with a disability themselves. Usually, the company supports you until you hit 65, or your maximum social security retirement age.
It can also be possible that your long-term disability will pass, even before you get to your retirement. For example, your cancer might be cured, or your back stops hurting. In those cases, the insurance company usually stops paying you, since you can work and support yourself again. These cases are, however, very rare.
Remember, the support for these long-term disabilities is always worse than your actually full-time salary. It’s never worth it to fake a disability, or, even worse, voluntarily disable yourself, just so you won’t have to work. You should always try and keep yourself safe and healthy.