Part-time work and its effects on long-term disability

Unfortunately, many employees rely on long-term disability to recover from severe injuries or life-changing diagnoses. It’s not only workers with dangerous workplaces or treacherous positions that are eligible. However, long-term disability may not cover the full costs of living.

Most long-term disability benefits only pay around 50-60% of your salary, depending on whether it’s a personal insurance policy or your employer’s insurance policies. Due to this gap in salary, some employees question if they should seek a part-time position to cover additional expenses.

Long-term disability is unique because it relies on an insurance policy to determine what benefits are covered under disability versus what is self-funded. Depending on your employer’s plan, you may be able to accept a part-time position. But you would need to review your summary plan description to see the limitations of working while on benefits.

A common limitation for working under disability benefits is if your plan is an “own occupation” or an “any occupation” one. In most circumstances, it is easier to work under an “own occupation” plan because it means that you cannot perform your actual position before the disability.

It’s tougher for “any occupation” plans because these plans only cover benefits if you cannot perform any type of work, thus inhibiting the opportunity to work part-time and still receive long-term disability payments.

Along with these limitations, there are often work incentives that ask you not to make more money than your pre-disability income. Also, disability insurers don’t want you to rush into temporary employment if it inhibits your ability to return to your former position in the near future.

Unfortunately, the best way to determine if part-time work affects your coverage is through your plan summary documentation, which can be difficult to access and even more difficult to understand. You should work with an attorney like those at Alan C. Olson & Associates to ensure that you receive the full advantages of your long-term disability benefits.


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