According to the Council for Disability Awareness, more than one in four of today’s 20-year-olds can expect to be out of work for at least a year because of a disabling condition before they reach normal retirement age.
If your employer provides disability insurance coverage, you may be entitled to short-term and long-term disability benefits. These plans are paid for by your employer and provide benefits if you become disabled. In Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, employers are not required to provide this benefit. If you have this benefit through your employer, it is important that you understand what benefits you are entitled to. Workers who are not offered benefits by their employer must rely solely on the benefits offered by the Social Security Administration in the event they become disabled.
Short-Term Disability Benefits
Employer-provided Short-term disability (STD) insurance will pay you a predetermined percentage of your gross weekly earnings. Benefits usually begin 1-14 days after your condition prevents you from working. Short-term disability plans have a set time limit. Some employers may require that you use your available sick time first. Short-term disability plans have a maximum amount of time the benefit will be provided.
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Long-Term Disability Benefits
Employer-provided Long-term (LTD) insurance usually begins after STD insurance has expired. Your amount of weekly benefits will be a percentage of your gross weekly earnings. This percentage is predetermined by your plan. Typically, benefits are 50-80% of your gross weekly earnings. The length of time you are eligible to receive LTD benefit is determined by your policy.
Summary Plan Description
If you are enrolled in an employer-provided disability insurance plan that is protected by ERISA, you are entitled to automatically receive a summary of the plan. This is called the summary plan description (SPD). If you do not have a copy of your SPD, it is very important that you contact your plan administrator for this information. We strongly recommend that you review your SPD when you are enrolled so that you understand the benefits you are entitled to. The information you will find in the SPD includes:
- The benefits you are entitled to.
- The amount you will receive and the length of your short-term disability benefits.
- The amount you will receive and the length of your long-term disability benefits.
- How to apply for benefits.
- How to appeal a denial for benefits.
Long-Term Disability Benefits Denied or Terminated?
If your benefits have been terminated or you have been denied long-term benefits and you are disabled and cannot return to work, we ask that you call our office. At Berger and Green, we understand the difficult circumstances that you face. Every day we speak with people who are disabled and unsure of what their next steps should be. Call Berger and Green today if you have questions about your long-term disability benefits.