What is Disability Insurance?

Put simply, disability insurance provides protection and assistance when someone cannot work due to an illness or injury. Disability insurance does not cover work-related illnesses or injuries and is not part of workers’ compensation (though it may supplement it). Disability insurance helps cover vital expenses such as rent, food, utilities, and childcare.

There are two types of disability insurance, long-term and short-term. It’s important to note that long-term and short-term disability are NOT the same thing as Social Security Disability.  Social Security Disability benefits are distributed by the government to people who have put part of their income towards their SSD. Long and short-term disability insurance are optional private policies. Tennessee does not require employers to provide either form of disability insurance to their employees.

Long-term Disability Insurance

Long-term disability insurance can benefit people who have an illness or injury that prevents them from being able to work for at least 6 months. Long-term disability sometimes comes with additional coverage (such as medical expenses and hospital costs) up until the age of 75. Processing long-term disability claims can take a while (anywhere from 3 months – 2 years), so you may have to pay out of pocket before you receive the benefits.

Short-term Disability Insurance

Short-term disability insurance provides fast coverage to those unable to work for a small amount of time (typically 3-6 months). Benefits may kick in within a few days time since short-term disability claims are a bit quicker to process, so you may not have to pay as much out of pocket as with long-term disability.

Common Conditions That May Qualify for Disability Insurance

Here is a brief list of illnesses and injuries that may qualify, but it is critically important that you thoroughly discuss your options with your insurance agent.

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated or Ruptured Disk / Back Pain
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Soft Tissue Injury (Severe Burns)
  • Vision Loss
  • Hearing Loss
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic Lung Infections
  • Heart Attack
  • Stroke
  • Kidney Failure
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Thyroid Gland Disorders
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Cancer

Keep in mind, each disability plan will have different coverage options and benefits that vary from state to state. For instance, in some plans, pregnancy is covered under short-term disability. Contact your agent today for more information.

When Can You Be Denied Disability Benefits?

  • If the injury or illness is sustained in a car accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • If the injury occurred while committing or participating in a criminal act
  • If the injury is intentionally self-inflicted, this is generally considered insurance fraud
  • If you are incarcerated or in a correctional facility

Do You Have Questions About Disability Insurance?

To learn more about disability insurance in Tennessee or Virginia, or to find the best policy for you, contact McInturff, Milligan & Brooks via the form below or at (423) 639-5171.

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