long-term disability

Long-Term Disability Insurance: Top Questions

Long-term disability insurance (LTD) is a critical but often misunderstood aspect of financial planning. It provides a safety net in case you become unable to work due to a disability, ensuring that you can continue to meet your financial obligations and maintain your quality of life. In this blog, we will answer some of the top questions people have about long-term disability insurance, shedding light on its importance and how it can benefit you.

What’s the difference between short-term and long-term disability insurance?

Short-term disability insurance typically covers disabilities that last for a few months, providing benefits that kick in quickly to replace a portion of your income.

Long-term disability insurance is designed for more extended periods of disability, covering you for several years or even until retirement if necessary. Long-term disability insurance offers more comprehensive coverage, ensuring you have financial support over the long haul.

What’s the difference between long-term disability and long-term care insurance?

Long-term disability insurance replaces your income if you’re unable to work due to a disability.

Long-term care includes services that meet the medical and non-medical needs of people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or cognitive disorders who can’t care for themselves. Long-term care insurance covers the cost associated with this type of care for an extended period of time, at home or in a long-term care facility.

Both types of insurance serve different purposes and should be considered separately in your financial plan.

Won’t social security and workers’ compensation cover my needs?

Social Security disability benefits and workers’ compensation can provide some financial support in the event of a disability, but they have limitations. Social Security disability benefits often have strict eligibility criteria and may not replace your full income. Workers’ compensation only covers disabilities resulting from work-related injuries or illnesses. Long-term disability insurance offers broader coverage by providing a benefit when you are unable to work due to a covered disability, regardless if the disability is work-related or not.

How much coverage will I need?

Factors to consider include your monthly expenses, existing savings, and any other sources of income. Calculating the appropriate coverage amount ensures you’ll have the financial support you need without overextending your budget.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when calculating coverage:

  1. Assess Your Existing Financial Resources: Start with your income, and take into account any existing disability benefits you may have, such as employer-sponsored disability insurance, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), or personal savings. These resources will reduce the amount of coverage you need.
  2. Determine Your Monthly Expenses: Start by listing all your monthly expenses, including rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, transportation, insurance premiums, and discretionary spending. Be as comprehensive as possible.
  3. Consider the Benefit Period: Decide how long you want your disability insurance to provide benefits. Common benefit periods are 2 years, 5 years, or until age 65. Longer benefit periods typically require higher premiums.
  4. Determine the Benefit Amount: Disability insurance typically replaces a percentage of your pre-disability income. This percentage can vary, but it’s often around 60-80% of your pre-disability earnings. Use this percentage to calculate the benefit amount.

Don’t forget to account for taxes. Remember that disability insurance benefits may be taxable depending on whether you pay the premiums with pre-tax or post-tax dollars. Adjust your calculations accordingly and be sure to consider how inflation can affect your expenses over time.

Everyone’s financial situation and insurance needs are unique, so it’s important to personalize your calculations based on your individual circumstances and preferences. You should also be aware of policy exclusions, as certain conditions may not be covered, and consider how these exclusions could affect your overall coverage. A professional insurance agent or broker can also help you navigate these exclusions.

Why do young people need long-term disability insurance?

Many young individuals underestimate the importance of long-term disability insurance. However, disabilities can strike at any age, and statistics show that disability incidence among younger demographics is more common than you might think. One in four of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before retirement age.

Enrolling in disability insurance early not only protects your future income but also typically results in lower premiums. Investing in your financial security while you’re young can provide peace of mind for years to come.

How does the application process work?

The application process for long-term disability insurance involves several steps. Once you’ve researched and chosen a policy, you or your insurance agent or broker will complete an application. Here is some information that may be required:

  • Personal information such as name, date of birth, contact details.
  • Employment information, including current occupation and employer.
  • Income details, including gross annual income and any other income sources.
  • Medical history, like current health status, present and past medical conditions, medications, surgical history, etc.
  • Information about lifestyle, such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Financial information, like mortgage, rent and other debts.
  • Additional documentation may be required.

It’s essential to be thorough and accurate in your application to avoid potential delays in the process. Once your application is submitted, the process can take two to six weeks, depending on the benefit amount selected and the complexity of your personal situation. Sometimes, the carrier may require you to get a medical examination or provide additional healthcare records so medical underwriting can be completed.

Once any documentation or requirements are met, the next step is review and approval or denial of your application, followed by a policy issuance if approved.


Long-term disability insurance is a critical component of financial planning, providing essential protection in the event of a disability. By obtaining LTD coverage, you can ensure that you’re prepared for the unexpected and can maintain financial stability in challenging times.

Visit the long-term disability insurance page to view instant quotes and apply online.


This information is provided for educational purposes only; it is not intended as investment or financial planning advice. Please consult a financial professional before making an investment or insurance decision.

I Have Long COVID, Am I Entitled to Disability Benefits?

After living in the shadow of the global COVID pandemic for more than two years, the world is ready to move on, but the virus continues to show that it isn’t ready to leave us just yet.

According to Worldometer, nearly 480 million people have contracted the virus and recovered. But what this number doesn’t show are the millions of people who have recovered yet are still experiencing the long-term effects of the virus.

What is Long COVID?

Long COVID can occur in anyone previously diagnosed with the virus, regardless of severity. According to a recent study of nearly 2 million people diagnosed with COVID-19, 23% of participants continued to show at least one symptom of the virus for more than 30 days after their initial diagnoses.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that “people with post-COVID conditions can have a wide range of symptoms that can last more than four weeks or even months after infection. Sometimes the symptoms can even go away or come back again.” The CDC lists the official symptoms for Long COVID as follows:

  • Tiredness or fatigue that interferes with daily life
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental effort (also known as “post-exertional malaise”)
  • Fever
  • Respiratory and heart issues
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Headache
  • Sleep problems
  • Lightheadedness
  • Pins-and-needles feelings
  • Change in smell or taste
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Digestive issues
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Rash
  • Changes in menstrual cycles

Is Long COVID a disability?

In July 2021 the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services jointly published guidance on how Long COVID can be a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. If Long COVID symptoms are substantially limiting your major life activities, you should begin documenting your symptoms, compiling relevant medical records, and looking into which resources are available — as you may be eligible for disability benefits.

What is long-term disability insurance?

Long-term disability insurance helps provide a monthly income if you become disabled due to a covered accident or illness. This coverage can help pay credit card bills, mortgages, college tuition, and more if you’re unable to work because of a disability.

As an AMSA member, you already have access to group long-term disability insurance. For details including eligibility requirements visit our long-term disability page to learn more.

Debunking the Most Common Long-Term Disability Insurance Myths

When was the last time you thought about what would happen to your family if you suddenly couldn’t work? If you have to think about it, then chances are, it’s been a while.

The simple truth is that one out of every four workers will be diagnosed with a long-term disability before they reach the age of retirement. But despite this startling statistic, many still feel like long-term disability insurance is coverage they can live without.

Myth #1: “I have enough protection through Workers’ Comp and Social Security.”

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, only approximately five percent of accidents or illnesses are workplace-related meaning that the other ninety-five percent will not be covered under workers’ comp.

When seeking to collect social security disability benefits, you may be in for a wait of anywhere from three to five months for an initial decision to be made regarding your case. If like 66 percent of applicants, your application is denied, you have the option to appeal, but in 2017 the backlog of appeals cases hit over one million with an average processing time of over fifteen months, according to research conducted by Allsup.

Can your family really afford to wait for benefits when you need help?

Myth #2: “I’ll still have to fight for a payout in the event of a long-term disability diagnosis.”

We’ve all heard stories about people struggling to receive payout benefits from their insurance company. However, not all of these cases are related to long-term disability insurance and those that are, are very rare.

Upon enrolling, all of your benefits and circumstances surrounding a potential payout are laid out in front of you. If you aren’t going to receive the amount of coverage you are looking for, then it may be worth looking into other options.

Myth #3: “I can’t receive long-term disability insurance because I’m a government employee.”

If you are a government employee enrolled in a Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) plan, you are still able to apply for long-term disability benefits. According to the Council for Disability Awareness, “While you can buy private supplemental long-term disability insurance in addition to having FERS benefits, you may not get as much coverage as you expected.”

Getting the Coverage You Can Count On

Ready to make sure your family’s financial future is secured in the event you are diagnosed with a long-term disability? To learn more about long-term disability insurance, please visit the info page.

man diagnosed with long term disability contemplating future

5 Most Common Long-Term Disability Claims

According to the Council for Disability Awareness, it is estimated that one out of every four Americans will find themselves diagnosed with a disability prior to retiring at the age of 65. Additional studies show that less than half of individuals and families have enough money saved to sustain their living expenses for even one month before feeling the financial strain— illustrating that a long-term disability diagnosis can not just be devastating for the individual but also financially devastating for their entire family.

In short, no one plans to become disabled. And yet, it can happen to anyone at any time and the chances of it happening only increase with age, lifestyle choices, and even the type of work we do on a daily basis.

Popular Long-Term Disability Claims

But while the majority of people may imagine someone who struggles with a long-term disability as wheelchair bound, the fact of the matter is that long-term disabilities can manifest in a host of different ways— some visible, some not.

Below are the top five long-term disability diagnosis types by category according to our own research and the CDA’s 2013 Long-Term Disability Claims Review:

  1. Musculoskeletal/Connective Tissue Disorders and Conditions

According to the CDA’s 2013 Long-Term Disability Claims Review, nearly one-third of all long-term disability claims are due to musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders. These are best described as issues related to neck and joint pain as well as back and neck issues; muscle and tendon problems; foot, ankle and hand disorders as well.

More specifically, the following are among the most commonly diagnosed musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders and conditions:

  • back pain
  • degenerated disk
  • arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • rheumatism
  1. Nervous System-Related Disorders and Conditions

Most nervous system disorders are common and can be helped or managed with treatments such as physical therapy and/or medication. Nevertheless, with some being generative, working full-time or even part-time can prove extremely difficult.

Below are a few common nervous system related disorders:

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Epilepsy and Seizures
  • Shingles
  1. Cardiovascular/Circulatory Disorders and Conditions

According to the American College of Cardiology (ACC), it is estimated that an average of one person dies every 40 seconds in America due to cardiovascular disease. But for those individuals who experience cardiovascular issues and require surgeries and rehabilitation services, the time spent recovering can have a serious impact on their livelihood— limiting them from earning a paycheck as well as increased difficulties managing day-to-day activities.

  1. Cancer and Tumors

Studies estimate that 41% of men and 38% of women will develop some form of cancer within their lifetime. And while hereditary factors and lifestyle choices can play a part in determining one’s risk factor, there is no fool-proof way of determining if or when you will be diagnosed with cancer.

If a cancer diagnosis or tumor does occur treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries can leave your body sick, exhausted, and bedridden among other things. During this time, it may be difficult or impossible for you to keep up with your job duties.

  1. Mental Disorders

Depression and anxiety, are among the most common mental disorders that can affect one’s ability to work. Though the systems may not appear physical (though they can), mental disorders are nothing to be brushed off. If you experience lingering or worsening symptoms of depression or other mental disorders for a period of two weeks or more, talking to your doctor may prove helpful.

Most disorders can improve over time with the proper medical attention but leaving them untreated can lead to worsening symptoms that can have an effect on every facet of your life and limit you from living your best life.

Planning For The Future

Just because no one can predict the future, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still plan for it.

If you wish to receive more information about how you can safeguard your financial future in the event of being diagnosed with a long-term disability, please visit https://amsa.memberbenefits.com/long-term-disability/ to view the complete long-term disability brochure or to download an application.

family outside in sunshine on a park bench with smiling baby

Why Young People Need Disability Insurance

When we’re young, we don’t always think about what could happen in the future. The truth is, debilitating accidents, illnesses, and injuries can happen to anyone, at any time, and any age. So no matter how young you are, it’s important to have a long-term disability insurance plan in place that can help protect your savings if something should happen to you.

Plan for the unexpected.

According to a 2017 Disability and Health Journal report, a long-term disability diagnosis can increase cost-of-living expenses by almost $7,000 a year. If you were suddenly no longer able to work, how would you manage to support yourself? Would your family be able to maintain its current way of life? Could your savings survive the average disability length of 31 months?

If a paycheck is your main source of income, you’ll most likely need long-term disability coverage to meet these needs. Even if your employer already has long-term disability coverage in place for you, it may not be enough. Employer-based plans sometimes only cover a fraction of your salary and may not factor in any bonuses that you (or your family) rely on.

What is long-term disability insurance?

Long-term disability insurance coverage is designed to help you and your loved ones withstand the financial changes that a disability can bring. If you become disabled and are no longer able to continue working, your coverage will kick in and help pay everything from medical copays to everyday expenses such as your mortgage or credit card bills.

Hopefully, you will never have to reap the benefits of a long-term disability plan. But if you do, you’ll be glad you have coverage ready when you need it. Your life can change forever in the blink of an eye – and being prepared can make all the difference in the world.

As a valuable benefit of your membership, the AMSA Health Insurance Marketplace offers affordable long-term disability insurance coverage to members of the AMSA.

To learn more, visit https://amsa.memberbenefits.com/long-term-disability/ or contact us at 1-800-282-8626 with any questions you may have. Our benefits counselors are available to help guide you to a plan best suitable for your unique needs.

man with long term disability insurance with son at park

The Underestimated Value of Long-Term Disability Insurance

For many, the thought of investing in a long-term disability insurance policy may sound like an unnecessary expense. It is estimated that roughly 86 percent of Americans have desk jobs, therefore it is easy to understand why they might be under the impression that they have little to no chance of becoming disabled during the course of their career. This is a potentially dangerous mistake.

The Odds of Needing Long-Term Disability Insurance

While it is true that those who work more labor-intensive jobs may have an increased risk of becoming injured or disabled at some point in their careers, those who work in office settings also have at least a one in four chance of the same thing happening to them.

In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Services estimated that there were 1,153,490 cases of work-related injuries and illnesses that resulted in missing days from work. This statistic can be scary for both businesses and individuals alike. And while most states mandate that every business with one of more employees must have workers’ comp. insurance, what happens when workers’ comp. and social security disability benefits just aren’t enough?

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What Every Doctor Needs to Know About Disability Insurance

Generally speaking, doctors tend to be proactive when it comes to planning for their financial future and retirement. Unfortunately, one aspect of financial planning that even the most responsible of doctors can overlook is that of purchasing Long-Term Disability Insurance. But what would you do if you were no longer able to feasibly practice law because you had cancer, were confined to a wheelchair, had a stroke or were unable to see? Would you and your family be able to maintain the same quality of life financially? If you’re like most doctors, then the answer is a resounding “no.”

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Long-Term vs. Short-Term Disability: What’s the Difference?

In order to make the most of your insurance plans, it is important to understand the difference between various insurance products offered. Long-Term and Short-Term Disability Insurance are two products that many people are often confused about. Here’s what you need to know about the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how to determine which option is right for you.

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Meeting Financial Obligations After Disability: What’s Your Plan?

Approximately 37 million Americans are considered disabled; of those 37 million people, more than 50% are still in their working years (age 18-64), according to the Council for Disability Awareness. Unfortunately, many workers never even consider the fact that they could face a temporary or permanent disability, let alone plan for such a situation. What kind of a situation would you be in if you were to become disabled and unable to work?

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