Short-Term and Long-Term Disability Insurance

The Basics

Disability insurance is private insurance that replaces some of your income if an injury or illness prevents you from working. Talk to your Human Resources department to see if your job offers STD or LTD coverage as a benefit.

Disability insurance is important because it can ease the financial burden on a household when someone has a serious illness or injury. The main difference between disability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance is that for disability insurance, the injury or illness does not need to be work-related.

There are two types of disability insurance:

  • Short-Term Disability (STD) pays you a portion of your income for a short period of time after you run out of sick leave. Depending on your plan, STD generally will pay you for between 9 and 52 weeks (or 1 year).
  • Long-Term Disability (LTD) pays you a portion of your income after you run out of both sick leave and STD. Depending on your plan, LTD may pay you for a specific number of years, like 2 years or 5 years, or until you turn a specific age, like 65.
Talk to your job's HR or to an insurance agent

STD and LTD insurance are not government benefits and are not connected to any public benefit program. They are private insurance that you get through a private company.

To find out if you have STD or LTD coverage through your employer, talk to your Human Resources person. To sign up for an individual policy, contact an insurance company or insurance agent.

Note: If you are looking for information about Social Security benefits for people with disabilities, see DB101's Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) article and DB101's Supplemental Security Income (SSI) article.

With both STD and LTD, the amount of time you can get benefits and the dollar amount the benefits provide depend on how expensive your plan is.

Some employers provide group disability insurance policies as part of their benefits packages. If your employer does not offer STD or LTD or if you want additional coverage, you can buy an individual policy from an insurance agent. Each insurance policy has different features. You can get more information about your disability insurance plan from your employer’s human resources department if you get your coverage through your job or from your insurance agent if you have an individual policy.

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