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How Long Is Long-term Disability Through Employer?

Last updated: October 10, 2023

Disability insurance, specifically long-term disability, is a critical benefit often overlooked. It provides financial security when you cannot work due to injury or illness. But just how long does long-term disability last through an employer?

Long-term disability insurance is a type of coverage that provides you with a portion of your salary if an injury or illness prevents you from working for an extended period. It kicks in once short-term disability benefits, if available, are exhausted.

Understanding Employer-Based Long-Term Disability

Employer's Role

Many employers offer long-term disability coverage as a part of their comprehensive benefits package. The plan's specifics, including how long benefits last, can vary significantly based on the employer and the insurance company.

Employee's Role

As an employee, it's crucial to understand the details of your company's long-term disability policy. Ensure you understand the duration, the benefits, and the process of claiming these benefits.

Length of Long-Term Disability Through an Employer

Typical Duration

Long-term disability benefits typically last until you can return to work or until the policy's maximum duration has been reached. This duration can range from 2 years until retirement age, usually around 65 years old.

Factors Affecting Duration

Several factors can influence the duration of your benefits, including the specifics of your policy, the nature of your illness or injury, and the results of periodic reviews conducted by the insurance provider.

Benefits of Employer-Based Long-Term Disability

The primary advantage is financial security. It ensures you still receive income even when you can't work, relieving the stress of medical costs and daily living expenses.

Limitations of Employer-Based Long-Term Disability

One major limitation is that it usually doesn't replace your full salary. Additionally, some conditions may not be covered, or there might be waiting periods before benefits commence.

The Claim Process

Initiating a Claim

Claiming involves contacting the insurer, filling out the necessary forms, and providing documentation of your illness or injury.

Processing a Claim

Once the claim is submitted, the insurer will evaluate your case. This process could take several weeks or months, so prompt initiation is crucial.

How to Increase Your Chances of Claim Approval

Seek regular treatment, follow doctor orders, and keep thorough records. A well-documented medical history can improve your chances of claim approval. Beyond medical documentation, maintaining open, honest communication with your insurance provider can expedite the process. Additionally, enlisting the help of professionals, such as disability attorneys or claims consultants, may be beneficial in navigating complex scenarios.

Alternatives to Employer-Based Long-Term Disability

If your employer doesn't offer long-term disability or you need more coverage, individual disability insurance policies are available. These policies can be customized to your needs, offering added flexibility. Furthermore, they remain in force even if you change jobs, providing consistent protection regardless of employment status.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What percentage of my salary will I receive on long-term disability?

The percentage of your salary you'll receive while on long-term disability often varies between 60% to 80%, depending on your employer's policy. However, it's important to note that this income is typically tax-free. It's crucial to check your specific policy details or consult with your HR department to understand your particular coverage.

2. How often will I need to provide proof of my disability?

The frequency at which you'll need to provide proof of your disability largely depends on the stipulations of your insurance policy. Most insurance companies require regular updates about your medical condition, treatment, and recovery process. You may need to provide medical reports from your doctors, results of medical tests, or any other relevant documentation periodically. This could be monthly, quarterly, or on some other schedule set by the insurance provider.

3. Can I return to work while on long-term disability?

Yes, it's possible to return to work while receiving long-term disability benefits, but the specifics depend on your policy. Some policies offer "partial" or "residual" disability coverage, which allows you to work part-time and still receive a portion of your benefits. But remember that returning to work full-time will typically end your benefits, so it's essential to discuss this with your insurer and understand the potential implications of your benefits before making a decision.

4. What happens to my benefits if my employer changes insurance providers?

If your employer changes insurance providers, the impact on your benefits can vary. Typically, an existing claim should be unaffected and will be honored until its scheduled end under the policy's terms. However, any new claims would fall under the provisions of the new policy. It's crucial to review any new policy for changes in coverage and understand how it might affect future claims.

5. Can my long-term disability benefits be denied?

Yes, long-term disability claims can be denied for several reasons. These may include insufficient medical documentation, discrepancies in your claim, or the insurance company's belief that you can return to work. If your claim is denied, you usually have the right to appeal the decision. It's essential to understand the reason for the denial and work with your doctor, legal counsel, or a disability claims consultant to address the issue and prepare a thorough appeal.


In summary, the duration of long-term disability through an employer can range widely but often lasts from a few years to retirement age. Understanding your policy is key to maximizing the benefits and ensuring financial security.

If you wish to learn more about employment agencies specializing in disability, read through our blogs at Disability Help today.

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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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