Short Term vs Long Term Disability

The Difference Between Short Term & Long Term Disability Benefits

When you have been injured or are unable to work due to a disability for any amount of time, paying your bills can be a frustrating and difficult task. With medical bills piling up, and your bank or landlord expecting your mortgage or rent payment, your physical pain can quickly become the least of your worries. Fortunately, under your short term or long term disability coverage, you may be entitled to financial support while you are unable to work.

At the law office of Burke Harvey, LLC, we believe that the first step in obtaining assistance when you are unable to work should be to understand the different programs you have available to you. With more than 50 years of combined experience, our long term disability attorneys have the knowledge needed to help you understand the differences between short and long term disability.

Short Term Disability Coverage

Short term disability coverage is often an optional benefit offered by many employers. While the benefits may vary widely from policy to policy, short term disability is designed to help you pay your bills when you have a physician-documented injury or disability that prevents you from working. The benefits you receive are often a set percentage of your income; in some cases, short term plans will pay 50 to 70 percent of your wages.

Short term disability benefits payments typically last between 10 and 26 weeks, and may have a waiting period before the coverage kicks in. Short term benefits are designed to help individuals who are recovering from less severe injuries like broken bones.

Long Term Disability Benefits

While short term disability benefits kick in after a few weeks of being out of work, long term disability benefits plans do not go into effect until you have been out of work for at least 90 days; in some cases, you may have to be out of work for 180 days, depending on your coverage.

Long term disability benefits have a much longer lifespan than short term benefits; individuals who become permanently disabled may receive benefits payments until they reach the age of average retirement, or 65. In other cases, including those involving more severe conditions like spinal cord injuries, you may be able to collect benefits while you recover or learn a new skill that allows you to seek employment.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Benefits Plans

Many individuals may be eligible to collect both short term and long term disability benefits, depending on the coverage they are provided. Understanding your plan is the key first step in obtaining the benefits you are entitled to; our staff will carefully walk you through every aspect of your insurance plans to help you determine which coverage you qualify for.

Contact our office online or call 850-433-9922 to schedule a free consultation with a national LTD lawyer to discuss your specific benefits concerns.


“My experience working with Burke Harvey, LLC., was a very encouraging one. Their firm took on one of the most difficult insurance companies to work with and we prevailed. I am very impressed with their services. This was a Long Term Disability claim that we won. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who’s seeking legal counsel, in such cases. Again, my thanks to Peter Burke and staff for the outstanding job.”

Leslie Illinois — 3/26/2012