Transition from Short-Term to Long-Term Disability

The transition from short-term to long-term disability may flow seamlessly, but that is not always the case.  Some disability insurance policies and companies require that you complete your short-term disability term before consideration of a long-term disability claim. Some companies and/or policies will transition automatically to long-term, while others require a separate application.


In the cases where the transition doesn’t occur automatically, it’s possible that you could be surprised by a denial of long-term disability.  In other words, simply because you were approved for and completed your short-term disability period, doesn’t always automatically mean you will receive long-term disability benefits.  The insurance company often (although not always) has separate departments for short-term disability benefits and long-term disability benefits and a different case manager may take over your claim and review it to decide whether or not you meet the qualifications.


We have seen clients approved for short-term disability and denied long-term disability, and cases where clients were approved for long-term disability and denied short-term disability.  One might think that a person disabled for 26 weeks of short-term disability would logically be disabled for the 180 day elimination period for long-term disability, and that a person disabled for the 180 day elimination period for long-term disability would logically be disabled for 26 weeks of short-term disability, but you would be surprised how often short-term disability and long-term disability administrators disagree about whether the same disability claimant suffering from identical medical conditions is disabled for six months.


Bear in mind that transitioning from short-term disability to long-term disability often requires new paperwork to be submitted, as well as new medical evidence and new forms from your doctors, ( which can result in changes in the evidence between short-term disability status and long-term disability status.  Always make certain any helpful medical evidence from your short-term disability case is in your long-term disability case file, and follow up with any doctors who agreed you were disabled during the short-term disability period during your long-term disability claim.  If you run into any difficulties with your doctors completing disability insurance forms, see  As always, if you receive a denial letter from a disability insurance company, Coffman Law is a phone call away.

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