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What's the difference between short- and long-term disability?

If you're planning to claim disability, you should understand the differences between long-term and short-term disability insurance. These kinds of disability insurance cover you in different circumstances and apply for different lengths of time. Some people claim both, one after the other, while others obtain only one or the other.

Short-term disability insurance is there to cover those who can't work for a short period of time. For example, if you break your leg and are unable to work your construction job, you may qualify for short-term disability insurance until you can begin to work again. Usually, a short-term policy lasts only three-to-six months, which is long enough to cover serious, but short-term injuries.

On the other hand, if you have a serious disability that may last longer than a year or result in your eventual death, you should instead apply for long-term disability coverage. Long-term disability insurance covers you when your injury will last a substantial amount of time, so it's easier to apply for it and keep your income steady throughout your recovery. Long-term insurance policies, if you take one out yourself, can be much more expensive than short-term policies. On the other hand, if your employer has long-term insurance coverage for you or you can apply for Social Security Disability (SSD), nothing should come out of your pocket as far as monthly premiums.

If you opt for SSD, understand that when you reach retirement, it switches to Social Security retirement benefits. They do not double, so that's something to consider if you were hoping for two sources of income in the future. Your attorney can help you understand more about your rights if you've suffered a serious long-term injury.

Source: FindLaw, "Long Term vs. Short Term Disability Insurance," accessed Jan. 31, 2018

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Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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