Long Term Disability
Long Term Disability (LTD) takes over where Short Term Disability (STD) leaves off. If you are sick or incapacitated for longer than six months, you will need to have long-term disability insurance. In most cases, STD coverage expires after 6 months of illness or injury that prevents you from working. At this point, if you don't have LTD, your benefits will cease.
Long Term Disability continues to provide you with income replacement for the period defined by your policy. That could be anywhere from 2 to 3 years to the rest of your life. The benefit period depends on the type of coverage you've purchased.
Again, it's critical to know the details of your coverage long before you have a problem. What percentage of your salary will your insurance benefit provide? Is there any kind of cost of living adjustment if your disability continues for longer than a year or two? Do you have to keep paying premiums once you are disabled?
Pay attention to how disability is defined in any policy you are considering. Also pay attention to whether all kinds of disability are covered or if your insurance only covers disability due to accident. While you will pay less for disability coverage for accident only, any unexpected serious illness (like a heart attack for instance, which is often silent before you experience it), could also put you at risk for an extended inability to work.
Also, you should know if your long-term coverage takes into account other disability programs, like Social Security. If it does, your disability pay could be even lower than the percentage of your salary that is stated as your benefit. Since you can actually depend on receiving any benefit's from Social Security, given today's tougher rules to qualify, the inclusion of these benefit's will have reduced your payout and you could be left hanging for the difference.
You might think that this insurance is a waste of your money. Of course, you never want to have to collect it. However, if you don't have this coverage, you could be thrown into a serious financial crisis by a serious accident or illness. Long-term insurance provides your family with a safety net, in case a significant portion of your livelihood is threatened. It also means that you can relax and focus on getting well, rather than worry about your finances.
While any disability insurance can be expensive, heres the good news: If you pay the premiums yourself, the benefit's that you receive are usually tax-free.