One way long term disability coverage defines disability is through the various ways your disability limits your options for returning to work. Some policies will pay out if your disability only prevents you from working at your current job. Other policies, however, will cover disabilities that more severely limit your ability to find work in Texas. You should examine your policy carefully to see what kind of coverage is offered.
When a policy covers a disability that is defined as an “own occupation” disability, the disability is determined by your inability to continue working at your present occupation. Forbes explains that some own occupation disability policies will pay out as much as 70% of your salary earnings if you are unable to work at your current workplace or otherwise find work in your current occupation.
Some policies define disability under “gainful occupation.” These policies pay out if a recipient is unable to find work that could replace 60% to 80% of the earnings from the recipient’s previous occupation. While you may not be able to work in the same occupation, you could still potentially find work using different skills that were not affected by your injury, in which case you would not qualify for gainful occupation disability.
Finally, there are disability policies that cover an “any occupation” disability. The coverage offered by this kind of policy pays out if your disability precludes your ability to find any work. Even with your current level of education, training and experience, your disability has made it impossible for you to work as you would have been able to before you became disabled.
In addition to how your policy defines disability, it is important to see if your policy switches coverage from one kind of disability to another. Some policies only offer own occupation coverage initially and then transition to gainful occupation or any occupation coverage later on. Also, whether you have individual or group coverage is important since some group policies are not portable to a new workplace.
Since injured workers have varying needs when it comes to long term disability insurance, you should not read this article as legal advice. It is only intended for the educational benefit of the reader.