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Do You Have To Pay Back Long-Term Disability?

Last updated: November 19, 2023

Long-term disability insurance is an essential financial planning tool that provides monetary benefits if you cannot work due to an illness or injury. These policies typically cover a percentage of your salary, often between 50% and 60%, and can last until you recover or for a specified number of years.

Navigating the complexities of long-term disability insurance can be daunting. One frequently asked question is, "Do you have to pay back long-term disability?" This article seeks to demystify this aspect of disability insurance, providing insights to help you understand your responsibilities and rights within your policy.

Benefits of Long-Term Disability Insurance

Financial Security

A significant advantage of long-term disability insurance is financial security. It acts as an income safety net when you cannot work, enabling you to maintain your living standards and meet financial commitments.

Coverage for Various Illnesses and Injuries

Long-term disability insurance covers many medical conditions, from mental health issues to physical injuries, offering comprehensive coverage and peace of mind.

Do You Have to Pay Back Long-Term Disability?

The General Rule

The general rule for long-term disability is that you don't have to pay back the benefits you receive. Payments from your long-term disability insurance are meant to replace your income when you cannot work.

The Exception: Overpayment Situations

In certain situations, you might have to repay part of your long-term disability benefits. These circumstances generally arise when there has been an overpayment due to insurance company errors or when you begin receiving other benefits like Social Security Disability Insurance or Workers' Compensation.

This can affect the calculation of your long-term disability payments. Understanding these exceptions and proactively managing your benefits can prevent unexpected repayments and ensure financial stability.

Insurance Mistakes

Sometimes, insurance companies can make errors, leading to an overpayment. In such cases, they may request reimbursement. This could occur due to administrative errors, misinterpretation of policy terms, or inaccuracies in calculating benefit amounts. 

It's vital to review any payment summaries or statements you receive from your insurer meticulously to spot potential errors promptly and address them before they become significant issues.

Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits

If you start receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits after your long-term disability benefits begin, your insurance company might reduce your benefits by the amount you receive from SSDI. In this scenario, you may need to pay back the difference to your insurer.

Workers’ Compensation

Similarly, if you receive Workers' Compensation, your long-term disability benefits might be adjusted. The insurance company may require you to pay back some of the benefits.

How to Avoid Long-Term Disability Overpayments

Avoiding overpayment situations involves careful planning and transparency.

Careful Review of Policy

Understanding the terms and conditions of your policy can help prevent misunderstandings and overpayments.

Open Communication with Your Insurer

Always keep your insurer informed about changes in your income or benefits. This openness can help prevent overpayment situations.

Regular Updates on Other Benefits

If you receive other benefits, such as SSDI or Workers’ Compensation, inform your insurer immediately. These benefits can affect the amount of long-term disability benefits you receive.


1. What is long-term disability insurance?

Long-term disability insurance is a policy that provides income protection if you become unable to work due to an illness or injury.

2. Do I have to pay back long-term disability benefits?

In general, you do not have to pay back long-term disability benefits. However, certain situations, such as overpayment or receiving additional benefits like SSDI or Workers' Compensation, might require repayment.

3. What are overpayment situations in long-term disability?

Overpayment occurs when an insurance company mistakenly pays you more than you should receive or when you begin receiving other benefits such as SSDI or Workers’ Compensation.

4. How can I avoid long-term disability overpayments?

You can avoid overpayments by understanding your policy, keeping your insurer informed of any changes in your income or benefits, and reporting the receipt of other benefits immediately.

5. What percentage of my salary can I get from long-term disability insurance?

Typically, long-term disability insurance policies cover between 50% and 60% of your salary.


Long-term disability insurance offers critical financial support if you cannot work due to illness or injury. While you generally do not have to pay back these benefits, there can be exceptions, particularly if you receive an overpayment or other benefits like SSDI or Workers' Compensation. By understanding your policy and maintaining open communication with your insurer, you can avoid potential repayment situations.

Read more about disability insurance costs and how you can plan for your future by reading through our blogs in Disability Help.

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Victor Traylor
An expert to the field of Social Justice, Victor formed Disability Help to connect ideas and expertise from the US with rising global cultural leadership, building networks, fostering collaboration, long-term results, mutual benefit, and more extensive international perception.
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