If you become disabled due to a serious injury or medical condition and are working for a Washington, D.C. employer, you may have both short term disability and long term disabilitybenefits available while you cannot work.

Short Term Disability in Washington, D.C. 

If you become disabled working for a company in D.C., your HR Department will probably have you apply for short term disability, or at least give you the information to do so. 

Short term disability coverage varies because the employer typically has some control over how the policy is set up and the type of coverage it offers.

Usually short term disability policies are administered by an insurance company, like Unum, that also offers long term disability coverage, or a third party administrator, like Matrix, that just handles the claim process.

Either way, short term disability benefits are usually funded by your company, they are just administered by an insurance company or third party administrator.  Many policies have an exclusion for work injuries if those are covered under D.C. workers comp law.

A typical short term disability policy will provide 60% of your income for 6 months, or the waiting period for the company's long term disability plan.

You and your doctors will have to complete the insurance company paperwork showing you are disabled and entitled to the benefits.  Candidly, it is usually easier to qualify for short term disability benefits since they only last for a short time, and it's the employer's money, not the insurance company's money.

Long Term Disability in Washington, D.C.

Most long term disability insurance policies have a waiting period of 6 months, meaning you have to be disabled for 6 months before benefits start.  These insurance policies usually include limitations or exclusions as well.  For example, a common limitation we see is a 24 month limitation on benefits when the disability is caused by mental health issues.

Many times, long term disability will pay disability benefits until age 65.  Like short term disability, most insurance policies pay 60% of your salary.  

Remember, there are several critical things to look for in your long term disability policy - the terms and conditions of the policy will control your claim for benefits under the policy. One of these is how the policy defines disability (it often depends on whether you have to prove you cannot work in your own occupation or any occupation - and how those terms are defined.

In applying for both short term and long term disability in D.C. it is crtical to work with your doctors to educate them on the terms and conditions of your specific policy. It's not enough to just have them fill out some insurance form or write a note that says you can't work.  We work with our clients' doctors a lot on this, plus outside physician experts and consultants to make sure the medical treatment and opinions line up with the long term disability insurance policy terms and conditions.

Long term disability policies also usually have a condition that allows the insurance company to reduce the benefits if you are eligible for social security disability benefits, workers compensation benefits or an employer sponsored retirement benefit. 

So review and analyze your long term disability insurance policy!

Need to Apply For Short Term Disability or Long Term Disability in D.C.? Call Us at 202-393-3320!

We'll listen to you and guide you to the next steps.  We handle everything for our clients - you won't talk to the insurance company at all, and we will guide you through the entire process.  But don't wait, if your claim was denied, the clock is already running.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
Connect with me
Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer