Short Term vs. Long Term Disability in Pennyslvania

In an average year, the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) handles approximately 145,000 disability claims in Pennsylvania. That’s over 1% of the state population. If you’re part of it, and you’re thinking about applying for short or long term disability, Young, Marr & Associates can help.

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 How Is Disability Determined?

Before the issue of short VS. long term disability insurance is even considered, you must be found eligible for disability, period, by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will measure your condition within multiple parameters, such as:

  • Are you employed? If you are generating over $700 per month, you will not be considered disabled “enough” to interfere with your capacity for significant work. Your condition must be severe enough that it essentially eliminates your ability to earn.
  • Are you able to continue with the same sort of work you did in the past? If you can still perform whatever you’ve been doing within the past 15 years, you will be denied.
  • If you cannot perform as you have in the past 15 years, can you work in a different capacity?

Is My Condition Short Or Long Term?

Disabilities can be broken down into two basic categories: long term and short term. There are key differences between how the two provide financial support, what stipulations they carry, and which type is better suited for your injury, illness, or physical or mental condition.

As a general rule, short term disability is more commonly applied to:

  • accidents 
  • non-terminal illness

Long term disability, alternately, tends to be better-suited for:

  • terminal illness
  • chronic, lasting pain

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How Long Will My Coverage Last?

From looking at these broad categories, it can be inferred that short term disability insurance is typically applied to the unexpected, the out-of-the-blue, rather than the predictable and ongoing. For this reason, the waiting period is much shorter. For comparison, with short term disability, the waiting period falls between zero and fourteen days. Long term disability, on the other hand, takes about 90 days on average. (It should be noted that it can take as little as 30 days, or as long as 720 days — close to two years.)

As the names “short term” and “long term” imply, how long the coverage lasts varies as well. While short term disability takes significantly less time to kick in, it also has a shorter shelf-life: common timetables are three months, six months, and one year.

If you need a longer-lasting policy, long term disability is potentially the more appropriate option for you. As for long term, it can last for several years, until your mid-sixties, or even for a lifetime. An important exception to be aware of in this regard: many long term disability policies set a two-year cap on coverage pertaining to mental disabilities.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a disability, take action — contact Young, Marr & Associates today.