Disability insurance can provide some much-needed financial relief in times of hardship. Whether you have been injured in an accident, or a chronic illness has left you unable to work, as long as you have actively contributed to a disability insurance policy you should be entitled to claim disability insurance benefits while you are physically unable to work.

However, not everyone understands how to go about using their disability income insurance. Whether you are currently thinking of making or claim, or you would just like to learn more about your coverage, let’s discover 3 important factors that will play a role in how you are able to use your disability insurance.

Understanding the Difference Between Short Term and Long Term Disability Insurance

When using disability insurance, it is crucial that you are able to distinguish between short term and long term coverage. Short term disability insurance policies offer workers a portion of their salary if they are unable to work for a short period. This period usually lasts for three to six months. Long term disability insurance however offers workers a portion of their salary if they are unable to work for a longer period. This period usually lasts for over six months.

Before an individual is entitled to claim disability benefits, there is a time period for which a person must be disabled. For both types of disability insurance policy this period of time is called an elimination period. Essentially, if a person becomes disabled, they must wait until the elimination period is complete before they can receive benefits. If the individual is able to work before the elimination period is over, the person will not receive any benefits. Although most people have employer-provided group long-term disability benefits, some individuals also buy their own individual disability income insurance. These types of individual policies can be used specifically to supplement any gaps left by employer plans. It is therefore important to keep these differences in mind when using disability insurance.

Review Your Disability Insurance Coverage

Before making any disability insurance claims, you should review your long-term disability coverage. Start by checking how much of your pre-disability income is covered, when benefit payments can start (after the elimination or waiting period), and for how long you can be paid (the benefit period). Among other requirements, the policy might include protection against your inability to perform your usual occupation or it might require that you have the inability to work in any occupation for which you are reasonably suited.

Ideally, the policy should match your occupation, age, and profile so that you can get the most favourable outcome. Is your disability insurance outdated? Or perhaps you are considering investing in short term disability insurance to supplement your employer provider policy? Provided that you are currently healthy and able to work, now could be the perfect time to make some changes or even invest in your first ever disability insurance policy. Remember to do plenty of research to get the answers to common questions such as ‘how much is disability insurance?’. Above all, there are some wonderful insurance comparison websites out there that can be a very useful resource.

Filing Your Disability Claim

If you have been injured or you are currently too sick to work, the prospect of actually using your disability insurance can seem like a daunting prospect. If you are covered by more than one insurance policy, you might have additional concerns. However, you might be reassured to learn that the filing process for short term and long term disability benefits is incredibly similar.

To begin filing your claims, notify your insurer about your intent to claim disability benefits promptly after becoming disabled and unable to work. You might then be asked to complete and submit claim forms. Be prepared to provide financial and medical records for pre-disability earnings and employment. Once your claim is approved, your initial benefit payment will then be processed. You will need to provide verification of continued disability if you receive ongoing benefits and these payments will continue if you remain eligible.

Disability insurance claims are surprisingly common. While no one wants to think too much about the chance that they might be unable to work as a result of a disability, it is important to remember that disability insurance benefits can help to alleviate the stresses of an already overwhelming situation.

Ultimately, if you do not yet have disability insurance in place, now could be the best time for you to start making contributions to secure your financial future. To learn more, check out this overview of the benefits of short term disability insurance.