Understanding your plan's definition of disability can be key to qualifying for disability benefits. The definition of disability varies depending on your insurance policy. Many private disability insurance policies provide benefits if injury or illness prevents you from meeting the duties of your current job. Others, like Social Security disability insurance, use stricter definitions of disability, which will only provide benefits if you can no longer do any job at all. Some policies require you to be unable to work for several months before receiving benefits, but other policies, like short-term disability insurance, only provide benefits for a limited time.
Applying for Benefits
If your disability insurance is provided by an employer, federal regulations establish strict requirements for processing and responding to your claims. Your insurance provider is required to inform you of your plan's requirements, including any time limits and deadlines for filing and any conditions that can be excluded from disability coverage. If you are applying for Social Security disability insurance, you'll need to provide detailed information regarding your disability.
While many disability claims are initially denied, Social Security disability insurance, and many private policies, do allow you to appeal a denial, often several times.