While many people assume they will not need disability insurance until much later in life, roughly 25% of 20-year-olds take a disability-related leave before reaching retirement age.  

Disability insurance replaces part of an employee’s income when a disability prevents them from working. Some common examples of disabilities that many people may not think of are pregnancy, cancer, car accidents, illnesses, etc. 

There are many reasons why employees may need access to disability insurance at some point in their lives, but what are the differences between long-term and short-term disability insurance?  

Long-term disability insurance  

Long-term disability covers an extended period of time that an employee is unable to work. Benefits typically begin after 90 days of disability and continue through the end of the disability which could be several months or several years. This disability insurance is used when an employee encounters a long-term disease or illness that prevents them from returning to work within a year.  

Some examples of medical and health conditions that may qualify an employee for long-term disability includes:  

  • Cancer  
  • Lupus 
  • Stroke  
  • Chronic lung disease  
  • Heart disease  
  • Kidney disease  
  • ALS  
  • Parkinson’s disease  
  • Blindness or vision loss 

These instances merely scratch the surface of the illnesses or diseases that could render someone eligible for long-term disability; numerous other criteria may also apply.   

Short-term disability  

Short-term disability typically provides benefits beginning after 14 days of disability and continuing for up to 3 months; however, it varies across providers.  

Here are some common reasons for a short-term disability claim:  

One frequently asked question is what is the difference between short-term disability and FMLA? Short-term disability is paid while FMLA is not paid. Other differences between the two include length of leave, employee eligibility, and the qualifying reasons for leave.  

How to get disability insurance for employees 

At Helpside, we can help answer any questions you may have regarding long-term and short-term disability insurance. We can also walk you through the pros and cons of offering these insurance options to your employees. If you would like to know more information on long-term and short-term disability insurance, reach out to us at humanresources@helpside.com