Short-term disability insurance covers the time needed away from your job to recover from an injury.  The length of time you may be able to claim short-term disability (STD) benefits is set out in your policy.  But what if your medical condition doesn’t improve within the limited time in your STD policy? 

Long-term disability insurance is intended to provide compensation during an extended period of disability.  If you don't have a long-term disability (LTD) policy through your employer, you can buy one directly from an insurer.

However, remember that just having an LTD policy does not guarantee the insurance company will pay you benefits when you need it.  If you have been denied LTD after receiving STD benefits, we can help. 

Our experienced disability attorney can help you navigate the appeals and, if necessary, litigation process.  Call our office today at 816-203-0143

Short-Term Disability Policy

A short-term disability policy is an insurance policy that provides benefits for employees who cannot work for a short period of time due to an injury or illness.  The length of time that benefits are paid out varies depending on the policy.  You can purchase STD insurance as an individual policy or as a group benefits package through your employer.

Long-Term Disability Policy

Long-term disability provides financial assistance to policyholders who cannot work for an extended period due to a disabling condition.  LTD policies provide a wide range of coverages, limitations, and exclusions, so it’s important to review your policy carefully.  Many LTD policies cover you for two years, or 24 months, for a condition that prevents you from performing your own occupation and longer also for disabilities that prevent you from working at all.  

How to Transition from Short-Term Disability to Long-Term Disability

You can change to LTD insurance if:

disability insurance form glasses and pen1. Your Eligibility Time Ends

Most STD insurance plans last for 3-6 months.  Once that time expires, and your doctor determines you’re still unable to work, you'll need to transition to LTD.

There are factors to consider when determining if you need to make the transition.  Our experienced LTD attorney can help  guide you through the process and decide how to move forward.  There are many strict rules and deadlines to be aware of.

2. The Coverage is Not Enough 

Some STD policies only cover a certain percentage of your income.  If you need to replace a more significant portion of your income, you'll want to change to LTD.

The premiums for the open market policies are often higher than the employers or group policies.  However, they are still a great way to protect yourself financially if you’re disabled and cannot work.

Benefits of LTD Over STD Policies

An LTD policy:

Offers a Safety Net in Case of Injury or Illness

It can provide you with income replacement, help you pay for medical expenses, and bring you some peace of mind knowing that you have a financial safety net.

Provides Financial Security

With LTD insurance, you and your family will be financially protected if you cannot work due to an illness or injury for an extended period of time.

Replaces a Portion of Your Lost Income

LTD insurance can replace a portion of the income you’re losing due to a disability.  These benefits can help cover living expenses and other bills.

Helps You Focus on Healing with Peace of Mind

An LTD policy will allow you to focus on your recovery without worrying about how you will pay your bills.  Many LTD policies will also cover any necessary medical treatment costs, giving you one less thing to worry about.

Factors to Consider When Buying an LTD Policy

If you are thinking of purchasing a long-term disability plan, do your research to determine what best suits your needs.  Here are things to consider:

  • Premium:  How much does an LTD plan cost? 
  • Coverage:  What percentage of your income will the LTD provide?
  • Policy type:  Is the LTD plan a managed care or indemnity plan?
  • Return on investment: What is the expected return on your investment based on the LTD plan? 
  • Guaranteed renewable:  Is the LTD policy guaranteed renewable or not?  
  • Disability duration:  How long will the policy cover you?
  • Disability definition:  How long does it take for a person to be approved for LTD?
  • Exclusions: What conditions are excluded from coverage under the LTD plan?

What If You’re Denied a Long-Term Disability Benefits?

If your insurance company has denied your application for LTD, you will receive a denial letter from your insurance company. 

This denial letter should detail the reasons for the denial, and details on your rights and remedies.  This is an important document to understand, and you can contact our experienced LTD attorney for a free denial letter review.

Our attorney requests your complete claim file and provides a comprehensive review from a legal and medical perspective.  He also assists you in gathering all relevant documentation to submit to the insurer.  It may include medical records, work records, and other documentation that will help make your case.

It’s very important to fully present all necessary information when submitting an appeal.  In most cases, you only get one chance to submit an appeal for why you should be eligible for long-term disability, so it must be done right!

Following these steps can give you the best chance of success in appealing the insurer's decision.  However, the law that governs these long-term disability policies is Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).  It’s very complex and we don’t advise people attempt to handle appeals on their own. There’s simply too much at stake.

Let Our Long-Term Disability Attorney Help

If you have a long-term disability, just know you’re not alone.  We’re on your side and ready to help.  Our attorney wants to hear your story, and navigate the best path forward.  With years of experience in this complex type of law, our disability attorney knows what it takes to get results.  He’ll help you understand your rights and options.

Contact our office today at 816-203-0143 for free consultation or by filling out our online contact form.  You can also instantly download our free guide for long-term disability appeals to learn more.  We’re here to help, and on your side!


Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS
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