If you’re receiving long-term disability (LTD) insurance but are eager to keep busy, would doing some work – even part-time – put your benefits in jeopardy? The answer is maybe.
Your specific policy will determine the parameters of your rights and responsibilities when it comes to working. For the most part, however, an “Own Occupation” policy offers claimants with more opportunity to work than an “Any Occupation” policy. And here’s why.
“Own Occupation” Policy
Under an “Own Occupation” policy, a disability is defined as the incapacity to perform the substantive duties of the specific job you held when you became disabled. If a construction worker is unable to undertake the responsibilities that his job demanded, he could be considered disabled according to “Own Occupation” despite being able to work at another job that was less physically taxing.
If a claimant is receiving LTD benefits under this specific policy, working part-time or even full-time at a different job will not necessarily impact their benefits. However, some “Own Occupation” policies provide exceptions to that general rule. They stipulate that benefits can be reduced – potentially significantly – as one’s earnings increase with any job.
“Any Occupation” Policy
Under an “Any Occupation” policy, benefits are provided to a claimant if they can’t perform the duties of any job for which they’re qualified (based on their education, training or experience). The terms of that policy will, of course, dictate how much you can work elsewhere.
But in these situations, your earnings will often reduce the amount of LTD benefits you receive. What’s important to note is that after two years, many LTD plans switch from from “Own Occupation” to “Any Occupation”.
Of course, you must inform your insurance company if you are receiving any income other than your long-term disability benefits.
Graduated Return to Work Plan
Keep in mind, most LTD policies require that a claimant attempt to return to work at some point. A “graduated return to work” plan is often adopted, with approval from the insurer, employer and doctor, to make that return possible.
Typically, it involves a gradual increase of hours over time until the person is working full-time once again. During that period, it’s feasible that any income you receive will reduce the amount of LTD payments paid out to you.
Partial Disability Payments
If you can only work part-time, it’s common for an “Any Occupation” policy to offer partial disability payments. Again, the amount you receive with LTD benefits may be reduced proportionately.
Understand Your Policy
Whether you decide to work a little or a lot while receiving LTD benefits, the most important thing you need to do is understand your policy. Only a stringent review of its terms will prevent any surprises, including a sudden termination of those benefits.
To fully understand your rights and responsibilities under your unique, and often complex long-term disability policy, contact a lawyer with experience in LTD claims.
The team at Auger Hollingsworth has helped many clients successfully attain the long-term disability benefits they’ve been denied or reinstate the benefits that have been terminated. If you want to discuss how we can help you secure the compensation you deserve, call us at (613) 233 4539 or email us [email protected] today. Or, to learn more, visit our Long Term Disability Insurance Denials Page.