Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and long-term disability insurance are very different, and receiving benefits from SSDI can affect what you receive from your long-term disability plan. But every long-term disability plan is different, and the rules governing what happens when you start receiving SSDI benefits vary between insurance carriers.

Before you start the SSDI application process, you should consult with a disability attorney about how SSDI benefits affect your long-term disability benefits. The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, offer a free case evaluation where we can review your policy, answer your questions, and offer guidance.

To schedule a time to speak with an attorney, call us at 865-566-0800.

What Is the Difference Between SSDI and Long-Term Disability Insurance?

Although SSDI and long-term disability insurance both provide monthly compensation if you become disabled and cannot earn a living, the two programs have many differences.

SSDI Basics

SSDI is a government program. While you were still able to work, you funded the program each paycheck via the payroll tax deduction. Throughout the years, as you worked and paid payroll taxes, you accumulated work credits. The number of these credits you have determines your eligibility when you apply for SSDI.

Having enough work credits is only one criterion for SSDI approval. You also have to meet the program’s medical guidelines, and these are known for being extremely strict.

The “Blue Book”

Social Security maintains a “Blue Book,” which is a master list of approved conditions, and under each condition is a long list of criteria you have to satisfy to receive benefits for that condition. If you do not meet a Blue Book listing—which the vast majority of applicants do not—you can get approved by submitting evidence that your condition limits you to the same degree a Blue Book condition would.

You Must Be Fully Disables

SSDI is available only if you are fully disabled, meaning you are unable to secure and maintain significantly gainful employment. There are no SSDI benefits for partial disability.

Long-Term Disability Basics

Long-term disability insurance is another type of protection against disability, but instead of being provided by the government, it is offered by private insurance companies. Many workers receive long-term disability as a benefit from their employers. If your employer does not offer it, you can buy an individual plan on the private market.

Most long-term disability plans pay you a monthly check that is anywhere from 50 to 65 percent of your previous salary. However, plans can differ significantly in how much they pay and in other ways, such as how long they continue to pay and how they deal with pre-existing conditions.

What Happens if I Am Receiving Long-Term Disability and I Apply for SSDI?

If you are a current long-term disability recipient and you apply and get approved for SSDI, the most likely result is that your long-term disability carrier will cut your monthly benefit by the amount you receive from SSDI.

As an example, if you were receiving $3,000 a month in long-term disability, and you start getting $1,500 a month from SSDI, your long-term disability carrier would reduce your monthly payment to $1,500. Your total compensation between the two plans, then, would remain at $3,000.

A Lawyer Can Review Your Policy

Not all long-term disability plans work that way, though. Your plan might reduce your benefit by only a percentage of what you receive from SSDI, or by nothing at all. Your lawyer can help you comb through your policy and let you know what to expect.

If it turns out that your long-term disability insurer does indeed cut your payment by your full SSDI amount, it might not seem worth it to apply for SSDI, since your total monthly compensation does not increase.

Keep in mind two things:

  1. Many long-term disability insurers require you to apply for SSDI as a condition for continuing to receive benefits.
  2. SSDI offers advantages beyond just monthly compensation—most notably, Medicare eligibility after a waiting period. Again, you should consult with a disability lawyer before you make any firm decisions about your benefits.

To Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Social Security Disability Lawyer, Call the Disability Advantage Group, at 865-566-0800

Our attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, are here to help you win your SSDI claim and maximize your benefits. Our attorneys can help you determine how SSDI benefits affect your long-term disability insurance. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, call our office today at 865-566-0800.