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Long-Term Disability Waiting Period: What to Expect

July 19, 2020
Updated: June 29, 2022

If you become unable to work and file a Long-Term Disability (LTD) claim, the insurance company does not immediately start paying benefits.  In order to qualify for Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefits, you typically must meet the definition of disability for 90 – 180 days before the insurance company will begin paying benefits.  This is typically known as the waiting period or elimination period. In employer-provided policies, the waiting period may vary for different classes of employees covered by your policy.

Long-Term Disability Insurance 101

You should read your policy carefully to make sure you understand what definition of disability you need to meet and how long your waiting period is.  You may be denied benefits if you fail to meet the definition at any point during the waiting period.  Reading your policy and understanding it can sometimes be confusing and time-consuming.  You should consider contacting an attorney if you are unsure what your policy provides.

What Do I Do During the Long-Term Disability Waiting Period If I Cannot Work?

If their employer provides it, many people will collect short-term disability (STD) benefits during the long-term disability waiting period.  The waiting period for short-term disability benefits is usually only 7—14 days, making it a good source of income shortly after you become disabled.  Typically, for those who have both short-term and long-term disability insurance coverage, STD benefits will last for the entire long-term disability waiting period.  At that point, it is common for people to then transition to long-term disability benefits. For more information on transitioning from STD to LTD, please see Going From Short-Term to Long-Term Disability.

Going from Short-Term Disability to Long-Term Disability

Alternatively, you may have state-provided disability insurance that you were paying into while you were working.  For example, Rhode Island has Temporary Disability Insurance for Rhode Island employees who are unable to work.  This benefit can help supplement your income during the long-term disability waiting period.  These benefits are usually accessible quickly with supporting medical reports or records. You should check to see if these benefits are available to you through your state.

Contact the Long-Term Disability Attorneys at CCK

At Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, our team of experienced attorneys and professionals can assist you with your long-term disability claim.  We understand that disability policies are confusing and insurance companies don’t always appear to act in their insureds’ best interest.  Contact us now at (401) 237-6412 for a FREE consultation to see if we can help you get the benefits you are entitled to.

Long-Term Disability claims and appeals process flowchart