Many employers will offer coverage under a private long term disability policy as a benefit to their employees. Alternatively, other people may have elected to obtain coverage on their own directly through an insurer by purchasing a private disability insurance policy. These private disability policies are a private contract that the employer or individual has with an insurer that offers these benefits according to a completely different set of rules than the rules and regulations that govern Social Security Disability (SSD), the government program that provides benefits for those who are disabled and cannot work. These private disability policies, however, are very different than SSD. They are governed by different rules and even different definitions of what constitutes a disability. Therefore, it can sometimes be confusing for someone who may have qualified for a private disability policy when they consider whether to also apply for SSD if they are already covered under a private disability insurance policy.
Private Disability Policies Operate By a Different Set of Rules
Private disability policies are completely different than SSD benefits because they are governed by the insurance policy that was entered into between the insurer that is offering the benefits and your employer or between you and the insurer if you obtained the coverage on your own. Therefore, this contract and its provision completely control the operation of these benefits.
Differences between SSD and Private Disability Insurance
Private disability insurance policies may often have different definitions of what constitutes a disability than SSD does. These policies typically look at whether you can perform the job that you were doing at the time that you became disabled when determining if you are disabled or not for purposes of the policy. On the other hand, SSD looks at whether there are any jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that you could do considering what the SSA determined to be your residual functional capacity. This means what you still can do despite your disabling condition. Whether you can do the job of a greeter at Walmart when you are a computer scientist is often not something that private disability policies will look at, whereas this is a significant consideration for purposes of determining whether you qualify for SSD benefits.
Private disability insurance policies also often allow for partial or total disability, so it is possible that you can be approved for partial disability under a private disability insurance policy whereas SSD is an all or nothing proposition, either you are totally and completely disabled or you are not disabled with SSD.
Many private policies will offer benefits based on a set percentage of your pre-disability income, whereas the amount of your SSD benefits is based completely on your earnings record compiled by the SSA. Therefore, one may be more than the other, it just depends.
Talk to The Experienced Social Security Disability Attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman
If you live in the Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach or Roanoke, Virginia, areas and need assistance determining how your private disability policy may affect your ability to qualify for SSD benefits or whether the condition that you are receiving benefits under a private disability policy would qualify for the SSD benefits, what your expected monthly benefit would be, filing your SSD application, or filing an appeal, please contact Kalfus & Nachman PC by phone at (855) 880-8163 or through the form on this page to schedule a free consultation.