Getting approved for Social Security Disability (SSD) is not necessarily quick or easy, but it can help you make ends meet after you develop a disability that prevents you from working. So can long-term disability insurance (LTD). But just because you successfully got approved for SSD, it does not mean you will automatically get LTD benefits too.
Unlike the SSD program, which the federal Social Security Administration runs, long-term disability insurance is sold by private insurers, just like life or auto insurance. Some people in Minnesota have LTD coverage through a group policy at work. Others purchase a policy on their own. Similar to SSD, you make a claim on your LTD policy when a disability forces you to stop working long-term. In Minnesota, you make a claim on LTD after you run out of short-term disability insurance and sick days. If the insurance company approves your claim, your LTD benefits might last a specific number of years or until you turn 65.
The challenge of getting LTD benefits can be even tougher
Unfortunately, making a successful claim on long-term disability insurance is not easy. Insurance companies require very specific information before they will acknowledge that the person making the claim is entitled to benefits. And the fact that the SSA approved your SSD claim does not mean your LTD insurance provider will automatically grant the claim you made with them. The SSA will approve several illnesses and conditions fairly easily, but your insurance company may be far tougher to convince.
Insurance companies are private, for-profit institutions, not a government program like SSD. They are in business to make profits. Among other things, the profit motive means that they always look for a reason to deny a claim. One of their strategies is to send forms to your doctor that are biased in the insurance company’s favor. A wise disability attorney knows which forms the doctor should get in order to provide fair and unbiased information about your condition.