When you are out of work for an extended time due to a disabling injury or medical condition, it may seem that long-term disability benefits cannot kick in quickly enough. Medical bills piling up can be daunting under the best of circumstances. Add in the fact that you are unable to work due to your disability and things can quickly become very stressful. Unfortunately, there is an elimination period that must be observed before you will start receiving long-term disability benefits under your policy. Let us discuss what exactly the elimination period is and what you can expect.
What Is the Elimination Period?
While the elimination period is often confused with the probationary period, they are two different things. The probationary period is the period of time that runs after you purchase a long-term disability policy at which time you are not able to file a claim. The elimination period, on the other hand, is the wait time after your policy goes into effect that you still must wait before receiving benefits.
Also referred to as the “waiting period,” the elimination period is the time between the start of your injury or illness and the time when you can start receiving benefits. Usually, the elimination period spans about three to six months. You might want to think of it as a health insurance deductible. The deductible must be met before your health insurance coverage will kick in. The elimination period is like a time-based deductible. You must wait a certain amount of time before your benefits will kick in.
The elimination period may usually be 90 days, but you should check your policy to verify the specific elimination period that must be observed for you to receive benefits. When you purchase a long-term disability policy, changing the elimination period can impact the cost of the premium. A longer elimination period will usually mean lower premiums. On the other hand, a shorter elimination period will usually mean higher premiums. While you may want a shorter elimination period, it might not be affordable. In that case, you may want to consider buying a policy with a longer elimination period that is affordable. While it may result in a delay in coverage should you become disabled, at least you will have some protection in place.
It is important to note that the elimination period does not necessarily have to be consecutive days. You should check your specific policy language to see what will count towards the accumulation period as the period can sometimes span a year. This means that should your disabling condition prevent you from working 20 days and then you try to go back to work, but are later determined to be unable to work, the 20 days you missed prior, if within that one year time frame, could still count towards your elimination period. Furthermore, a long-term disability policy provider may waive the elimination period if you go on to file a second claim for the same disabling condition. This can occur in instances such as recurring cancer.
Riverside Social Security Disability Attorney
As you wait through the elimination period, you may be leaning on your liquid savings or short-term disability benefits to make ends meet. Should you need any assistance or have any questions about accessing disability benefits, the team at Disability Advocates Group is here to help. Contact us today.