Man is filling in Disability insurance form.

You might not think you’ll ever become disabled and unable to work. But what if you were? Only about 28% of US households have enough liquid savings to cover six months of expenses.

Since about a quarter of today’s 20-year-olds may be out of work for a year due to an injury or illness, covering the financial gap is something you should consider. Here’s how you can get long term disability insurance and how to apply for benefits if you need them.

What Is Disability Insurance?

Long term disability insurance protects your income if you cannot work due to certain circumstances. Triggers may include serious injuries or illnesses, and even permanent disability, that prevent you from working for at least three months.

If you do become disabled, you may be able to still receive 50-60% of your income.

How to Get Disability Insurance

You might be able to get disability insurance long term coverage through your employer, union, industry association, or membership organizations. Government-initiated programs like NDIS funds helped many Australians with disabilities or special needs improve their quality of life. Alternatively, you can purchase a policy as an individual. Most individuals sign up for a policy through an insurance agent or company.

When applying through a group plan, you are automatically enrolled without going through underwriting.

If you purchase individual coverage, you’ll need to fill out an application and go through underwriting. The insurer assesses your individual risks to make an approval decision and to determine your premium.

What You Need to Apply for Long Term Disability Benefits

In the case that you have an accident and become disabled and unable to work, you’ll need to apply for long term disability benefits. It’s important that you start the process as soon as possible after you receive medical care.

Start by hiring an attorney. The process to be approved for benefits can be long and confusing, but your attorney can help walk you through the process.

Your attorney can provide you with a long term disability document checklist. Make sure you gather all the necessary documents that you will need to apply for LTD benefits.

You should also notify your employer. In some cases, you may need to file an employee statement.

Make a Strong Case

Gathering proof and evidence will be key in making a strong case to be approved for benefits. Make sure you receive frequent and long term care to show that your disability is severe. In addition, send all of your medical records and a doctor’s statement to your insurance company.

Many long term disability policies require you to submit your claim within a certain time frame. If you don’t, you won’t be able to submit a claim at all and may also forfeit the right to sue your insurer.

There are a number of reasons why you may be denied long term disability insurance. You should carefully review these reasons and make sure you don’t get caught in any of them.

If you are denied, your attorney can help you file an appeal to increase your chances of approval. Just make sure that you meet any required time frames. Many policies only give a 180-day window to file an appeal.

Get Ready to Apply for Long Term Disability Insurance

Long term disability insurance can be a financial lifesaver if you are injured and cannot work. However, both the processes to apply for an LTD policy and to apply for benefits can be long and arduous. Make sure you are well prepared to have the best chance for success.

If this article was helpful to you, be sure to read our other health and business articles too.