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My Disability Insurance Ran Out Early, What Do I Do?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 19, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If someone becomes disabled or is no longer able to work, disability insurance can help pay some or all of the person's salary. This is a great safety net for those who suffer an injury or accident that keeps them from working.

Unfortunately, disability insurance is not a bottomless fund. And often, disability insurance benefits can run out early, before a disabled person is able to return to work.

The Long and Short of It

Disability insurance plans come in two forms: long term and short term. Short term disability insurance policies normally have lower monthly premiums and begin paying benefits sooner after an injury, but may only last up to two years.

Long term disability on the other hand is usually more expensive and it could take up to two years before any benefits are paid out. But once they do, long term disability benefits continue for as long as the disability lasts or the person reaches age 75. If your disability benefits run out while you're still disabled, it is probably because you're on a short term disability insurance plan.

Benefits Short List

If your short term disability benefits run out, you should contact your employer -- you may be covered under a long term plan at work. If not, you may have to look into Social Security benefit plans.

Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) provides important disability protections to workers who have contributed to Social Security long enough and requires meeting a strict definition of total disability. However, most employees contribute to Social Security automatically, and if you've outlasted your disability insurance it's possible you have a total disability. In order to qualify for SSDI, you must prove:

  • You can no longer work in your previous occupation;
  • You can't adjust to new work; and
  • Your disability will prevent you from returning to work for at least 12 months.

If you are currently on a short term disability plan, you may want to look into purchasing additional long term coverage. A disability insurance attorney can help you sort out the plans as well as assist with filing, appealing, or enforcing your disability claim.

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