What Is A Waiting Period?
Most long term disability (LTD) policies do not pay benefits for weeks or months after you become disabled. This may be called a waiting period, an elimination period, or a qualifying period. You are not eligible to receive benefits until after this time frame has passed. The waiting period varies, but is often 17 weeks, 3 months, six months, and sometimes even a year.
Why Do I Have To Wait?
Long term disability insurance is a special type of contract that contains various terms and conditions. One of terms of the contract is the waiting period, and may be relatively long or short depending on the policy that was purchased by you or your employer. Typically a policy with a longer waiting period would cost less, because the insurance company would have to pay less claims.
What Do I Do For Income During The Waiting Period?
If you have short term disability (STD) benefits coverage, often the maximum duration of STD coincides with the waiting period for LTD. In other situations, you may be entitled to paid sick leave, Employment Insurance, or other benefits for a portion or all of the LTD waiting period.
Can I apply for LTD Before The End Of The Waiting Period?
Yes! You do not have to wait before you file an LTD claim. In most cases you should file your claim for long term disability benefits as soon as you reasonably anticipate being disabled for an extended period. It often takes weeks for the appropriate forms to be completed and submitted. It is common for additional information requests, such as detailed medical records and reports. These can take months to obtain, so it is best to get started early to avoid an even longer delay for payment of benefits.
In addition, if you wait too long to apply, there may an exclusion in the policy for late filed claims. You never want to give an insurance company an excuse or justification to deny your claim.
I Have More Questions About Long Term Disability
Michael Jordan is a Toronto long term disability lawyer with offices in London and Ottawa. He has over 15 years experience litigating LTD claims, and would be pleased to answer any disability questions you have, free of charge.