How long does long-term disability last? What about VA service-connected disability? Can they be terminated? What can cause them to be terminated? These are questions that are common when you are looking into making a claim for long-term disability or VA service-connected disability.
How Long Does Long-term Disability Last?
The short answer is it depends on your policy. Not all policies are the same and the amount of time you receive long-term disability is dependent on what policy you are paying for. It also depends on the elimination period of your plan.
The elimination period for your long-term disability policy is the time between your injury and the time when you can start collecting your benefits. During this time, you may collect short-term disability if it is part of your plan.
The reasoning behind the elimination period is to determine if your disability is a long-term or short-term disability. The elimination period is usually dependent on how much you pay in premiums; often, the less you pay – the longer the elimination period. Most elimination periods are between 30 days and one year.
After your elimination period is complete and you can start collecting long-term disability benefits, benefits usually are in 2, 5, or 10 years increments, and some policies are good beyond that even! Again, the benefit terms are often dependent on what you choose in your policy and how much you pay for that policy. Typically, the longer the payment period, the more expensive the plan will be. However, for very specialized skillsets, a surgeon, for instance, severe injury to your hands might mean a lifetime impact – so long-term can mean decades, depending on your situation.
How Long Does VA Service-Connected Disability Last?
Once the VA has made its initial decision, you will receive benefits for as long as you have the disability. You may be re-evaluated or re-examined where your disability rating may change.
The VA typically re-evaluates within a year of your determination to assess if the rating is still accurate, then again between two and five years after your rating. If it is determined at the five-year re-evaluation that the disability has not become better, or if you are 55 or over, you will not need another re-examination.
Certain permanent disabilities also negate the necessity of re-evaluation. For instance, if you are missing limb, you will not be re-evaluated. Other reasons you will not be re-evaluated are:
- Over age 55
- Static disability such as loss of a limb
- Permanent disease that caused disability (blind, deaf)
Something to note, if you have received disability from the VA for ten or more years, the VA cannot terminate your disability benefits unless you commit fraud. They may, however, reduce your benefits at any time, if it can be shown that your situation has improved. For more great information about VA disability ratings, take a look at this article from The Military Wallet,
alternatively, read this blog.
How Does This Help Me Today?
While military benefits are not going to be covered by ERISA, employment you have after your military service very well might. In fact, for some service-connected conditions, the manifestation of your challenges are likely to take 5-10 years to surface, PTSD – for instance. It is entirely possible that you would be covered by both a service-connected claim and a potential long-term disability claim at the same time if you service connected conditions became a barrier to your continued employment in a private sector job.
For these reasons, knowing when how long your disability benefits will last and if they can be terminated, is very important. This information will help you to know how long you will be with an income and may help you determine if you need to apply for short-term disability in the meantime.