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Long-term Disability Insurance Disqualifiers: Why Does It Happen?

Last updated: November 12, 2023

Long-term disability insurance is a safety net, providing financial security when life throws a curveball. But like any insurance policy, certain conditions can disqualify you from receiving these benefits. 

What are these disqualifiers, and how can you avoid them? Let's delve deep and illuminate these hidden caveats.

Understanding Long-Term Disability Insurance

What Is Long-Term Disability Insurance?

Long-term disability insurance, or LTD, functions as a financial safety net, substituting a percentage of your income if an injury or illness impedes your ability to work. It truly becomes a beacon of hope amidst life's stormy seas. 

It's important to note that each policy can drastically differ in its parameters, including how 'disability' is defined, the timeframe for which benefits are provided, and the proportion of income it replenishes.

Why Do You Need LTD Insurance?

Ever heard the idiom, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket"? Regarding securing your financial future, LTD insurance is another layer of protection. According to the Social Security Administration, one in four 20-year-olds will experience a disability before retirement. With statistics like these, it's not a question of if you should have LTD insurance but rather what coverage you need to protect your income.

Digging Deeper: Long-Term Disability Insurance Disqualifiers

Navigating long-term disability insurance can be like walking through a minefield. Understanding these potential disqualifiers will help you tread more confidently.

Pre-existing Conditions

Insurance companies are no strangers to risk, but they're not keen on certainty. If you have a medical condition before applying for coverage, it's considered a pre-existing condition. This could be a major roadblock in your quest for LTD coverage.

Disabilities Resulting from Self-inflicted Injuries

As grim as it may sound, self-inflicted injuries are usually not covered under LTD insurance policies. These include injuries from attempted suicide or substance abuse.

Disabilities Outside the Policy's Definition

Long-term disability insurance policies use specific definitions to determine what constitutes a disability. If your disability doesn't align with the policy's definition, you could be out in the cold.

Navigating through the Maze: Avoiding Disqualifiers

Now that we understand what these disqualifiers are, how can we sidestep them?

Managing Pre-existing Conditions

While pre-existing conditions can make securing LTD insurance challenging, they don't necessarily spell doom. Some insurance companies may offer coverage but exclude the pre-existing condition. Others might impose a waiting period. It's all about finding the right provider willing to take the gamble.

Safe Practices and Healthy Living

Preventing self-inflicted injuries may seem like a no-brainer, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing stress effectively is key. In addition to securing LTD insurance, these habits can improve overall health and well-being.

Comprehending the Definition of Disability

Ensure you understand your policy's definition of disability. Is it "any occupation," meaning you're disabled if you can't work in any job suitable for your education and experience? Or is it "own occupation," where you're considered disabled if you can't perform your current job? The details matter!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a long-term disability insurance disqualifier?

A long-term disability insurance disqualifier is a condition or circumstance that prevents you from receiving LTD insurance benefits.

2. Are all pre-existing conditions disqualifiers?

Not necessarily. It depends on the insurance company's policies. Some may provide coverage excluding the pre-existing condition, while others might impose a waiting period.

3. What if my disability is outside the policy's definition?

If your disability doesn't fit your policy's definition, you might not be eligible for benefits. This underscores the importance of understanding your policy's terms.

4. Can I get long-term disability insurance if I have a mental illness?

Yes, but conditions apply. Mental illnesses are often covered under LTD insurance for a limited period, typically 24 months.

5. Does LTD insurance cover disabilities from accidents?

Yes, as long as the disability meets the policy's definition and the accident wasn't a result of self-infliction or illegal activities.


Long-term disability insurance disqualifiers can seem daunting, but knowledge is power. Understanding these disqualifiers can empower you to navigate the insurance landscape with confidence. Stay informed, stay protected, and ensure your financial future remains secure, come what may. 

Learn more about filing for disability in 2023, and how to maximize these benefits from our blogs at 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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