I have private, long-term disability insurance. Will this help me get approved for Social Security Disability benefits?

Submitted by Daniel on Mon, 12/09/2013 - 16:34

In addition to the federal disability benefit programs—SSDI and SSI—there are many smaller programs that offer financial assistance to individuals who have disabilities. These can come in the form of state-wide programs, charities, and insurance programs. But how do these impact your eligibility for federal disability benefits? A recent visitor to our interactive disability forum, asked the following question

“I have private, long-term disability insurance. Will this help me be approved for benefits?”

Long-term disability insurance can be provided by an employer as a group plan or can be purchased by and tailored to an individual worker’s needs. This type of insurance is intended to cover the loss of income suffered when an employee becomes ill or injured for long periods of time. Long-term plans usually kick in after any short-term coverage ends—though the long-term coverage may only be available to an employee for a set amount of time.

Although Social Security Disability benefits are also intended to provide long-term financial assistance to individuals who have disabilities, these benefits are public and are administered by the Social Security Administration. These programs include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Having private, long-term disability insurance will not provide any advantage when applying for Social Security Disability benefits because the Social Security Administration (SSA) bases program eligibility on its own separate, requirements. To be disabled according to the SSA you must meet the following criteria:

  • You cannot do the work you did prior to becoming disabled; and
  • You have a physical or mental condition that prevents you from learning to do any other types of work; and
  • Your condition has lasted—or is expected to last—at least one year or result in death

If you do not meet these basic requirements, you will not be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits—even if you are eligible for private, long-term disability insurance. According to the Social Security Administration, “any private disability insurance you have will not affect your eligibility for Social Security disability benefits.”

While private insurance programs and disability benefits do not have any impact on each other, it is possible to receive payment from both at the same time. In many cases, when you receive private coverage, you will be required by that provider to also seek Social Security Disability benefits. This is often due to a clause in the long-term private insurance claim that allows for private insurance payments to be reduced and covered dollar-for-dollar by Social Security payments. It is important to note that if you are awarded retroactive benefits from the SSA, you may be required to repay any private disability insurance that you received at the time.

Learn more about insurance and Social Security Disability, here.

If you have a question that you’d like us to answer in a future blog post, leave it in the comment section below or connect with us through social media.

Blog comments

John (not verified)

I am drawing ltd insurance co wants me to file for Ssdi if approved how long will ltd keep paying their share I am 57yrs old

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 16:19 Permalink

In reply to by John (not verified)

Hi John,
Your long term disability insurance will pay for as long as the terms of the policy specify. Unfortunately, it varies, so I would not be able to say exactly how long your long term disability would pay you.

Wed, 05/11/2016 - 16:37 Permalink
brenda (not verified)

I am on long term disability from Hartford. Will I still receive my full benefits from retirement social security when I reach 67 in a few months?

Sat, 07/23/2016 - 03:14 Permalink

In reply to by brenda (not verified)

Hi Brenda,
Your long term disability insurance will pay for as long as the terms of your specific policy specifies. You can call the SSA directly for more information at 1-800-772-1213. Hope this helps!

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 11:39 Permalink

In reply to by David (not verified)

Hi David,
It will depend on your company and the plan, but most likely yes. Most private company disability payments are counted as "unearned income" and will not affect SSDI benefits.

Mon, 10/31/2016 - 16:42 Permalink

In reply to by Jim (not verified)

Hi Jim,
You may want to consult your LTD provider regarding the terms of your LTD policy, as the terms of the policy may vary.

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 12:33 Permalink
Jeanie (not verified)

Hey. I was approved for SSD Benefits and rec back pay. I sent my personal LTD company their money. Now my son has finally been approved. Will I owe anyone this money? currently my personal LTD policy only pays me.

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 19:17 Permalink
Paulc (not verified)

I have drawn my short term disability out for its duration of 6mos. I also had disability insurance on a personal loan and that insurer is paying the loan. I have applied for my long term disability , which is a different insurer from my short term insurer and it has been 32 days since I applied and the claim is still pending approval. I know they have an initial 45 days to make a decision. Question. Is there any reason to believe this would be denied? They received everything they need. I'm not sure why this takes so long. My short-term took about 10 days

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 14:59 Permalink

In reply to by Paulc (not verified)

Hi there,
I really could not say, but as LTD would pay out more money over a longer period of time, they may want to review everything about your case before approving benefits.

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 10:22 Permalink
Dawn (not verified)

If you have Ltd, and they tell you to apply for social security, do you have to apply? Dont to apply because it might reduce the benefit.

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:20 Permalink
Jay Herb (not verified)

I just noticed that my long term disability payments from my insurance carrier have appeared on my Social Security work record as income. Is that proper being that these payments are unearned income? Comments and advice most welcome.

thank you,

Sat, 12/23/2017 - 11:20 Permalink

In reply to by Jay Herb (not verified)

Hi Jay,
If they are paying into FICA out of your payments, that may be considered income. You may want to contact the SSA regarding this.

Tue, 12/26/2017 - 12:34 Permalink

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