As experienced long-term disability (LTD) insurance attorneys who have been helping disabled doctors and other medical professionals recover their LTD benefits for decades, we get this question a lot. Clients want to know what impact it will have on their LTD claim if they file for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and start receiving SSDI benefits. The answer is: a significant one, but it is more often than not required by your LTD insurance carrier.
Your SSDI Benefits Will Be Offset From Your LTD Benefits
Most LTD policies will contain what is referred to as a Social Security offset. Meaning, if you apply for and begin receiving monthly Social Security benefits while receiving LTD benefits, your LTD carrier will then subtract the amount you received from the Social Security Administration from the amount of the LTD benefit you are entitled to receive. Here is an example:
If you are receiving $1,200/month in LTD benefits and you apply for and begin receiving $500/month in SSDI, your LTD insurance carrier will then reduce the amount they pay you to $700/month to offset the SSDI. You will still receive $1,200 for the month, just as you were receiving before. The difference will be that the amount will simply be comprised of both your LTD benefit and your SSDI combined.
Your LTD Carrier Will Often Require You to Apply for SSDI
Virtually every LTD policy will require you to file for Social Security Disability benefits within twelve (12) months of the onset of your disability. If this provision is included in your policy, filing for SSDI will not be an option; it will be a requirement. Your LTD carrier will be eager to get a portion of your benefits covered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) so they can invoke the offset explained above.
Your LTD Carrier Will Often Assist You in Obtaining Your SSDI Benefits
Many of our clients are surprised when they learn about this offset because their LTD insurance company encouraged and even assisted them in filing for SSDI. The reason behind this is easy to see. Your LTD carrier benefits from your recovery of SSDI because it reduces the amount they have to pay you in LTD benefits. Often your LTD carrier will contract with another company who will represent you before the Social Security Administration (SSA) to help you get SSDI because this ultimately benefits your LTD carrier financially by sharing their burden of paying yout disability benefits with the SSA.