Disability insurance protects your income in the event of a disability preventing you from earning income through employment. Social security has a disability program which provides some amount of coverage in the event of a long term disability. The social security disability program provides long term benefits with an elimination period of 6 months. What this means is that a person must be disabled for six months before they can begin collecting benefits. More information about the details of this coverage can be found on your social security statement, or by accessing your social security benefit information online at www.ssa.gov.
In addition to benefits provided through social security, you can also obtain coverage through a group plan such as an employee group or union, or purchase individual coverage through a private insurance carrier. Private disability insurance is subject to stringent underwriting requirements, and pricing is based upon occupation, health, benefit amount, and time frame of benefits which are provided.
Private disability insurance can be either short term or long term. Short term disability insurance covers disabilities lasting from a few weeks to several months or a year, while long term disability insurance coverage begins after an elimination period of several months to a year and lasts anywhere from a few years up to retirement age or longer.