Many people who are injured and need long-term disability (LTD) insurance benefits find that there are a few income-generating activities they can still do. If you are such a person, then you should know that working may affect your right to collect LTD benefits. Here are three factors that may determine whether you can work and continue collecting your benefits:
The Type of Policy You Have
There are two main types of policies that cater for long term disability insurance benefits. The first one is "any-occupation" ("any-occ"), which means that you are entitled to benefits if your disability prevents you from performing any work. If you are under such a policy, then it will be difficult to work and continue collecting your LTD checks. However, some "any-occ" policies may continue paying your benefits if you are earning a small percentage of your pre-disability income. Confirm this with your policy.
The second type of policy is "own-occupation" ("own-occ"), which considers you disabled if you can't carry out the duties related to the job you were doing at the time of your injury. If this is your policy, then you can continue collecting your benefits while earning wages via a different job. For example, if you are a driver, you can continue collecting your benefits while working as a teacher.
The Amount of Money You Are Earning
It's not just the policy you have that matters, but also the amount of money you are earning. How your income can affect your collection of benefits under "any-occ" has been explained above. However, there are also a few "own-occ" policies that use this caveat with their beneficiaries. For example, many "own-occ" policies will not consider you disabled if your current job is giving you at least 60% or 80% of your previous (pre-disability) income. In that case, you will no longer be eligible for the benefits.
Lastly, the type of occupation you are engaged in is also an essential factor. If you are in a professional occupation that requires a license, then you may be barred from collecting your benefit checks while performing any work covered by your license. For example, if you are a medical doctor, then you may not enjoy LTD benefits if you are doing any work that requires a medical license, such as consulting.
Long-term disability insurance policies have terms and conditions, some of them only recently introduced, that you may not understand. Therefore, you shouldn't rely on your knowledge to decide whether or not to apply for the benefits, or accept a denial of your claim. Rather, consult an experienced disability attorney to review your case and advise you on the best way forward.