What Is the Elimination Period on a Long-Term Disability (LTD) Claim?

The elimination period for a long-term disability claim is another term for "waiting period," the amount of time you have to wait in between the day you become disabled and the day the insurance company will start to pay you long-term disability payments.  

The elimination period is typically three months, but many policies have six-month elimination periods. In general, the longer the elimination period, the cheaper the policy premium is. Insurance companies hope that by making LTD policy holders wait to file a claim, those with short-term medical conditions will be "eliminated" from filing, and also those with conditions that will last just a bit longer than the elimination period.

If your policy offers short-term disability benefits as well, the elimination period usually lasts as long as the amount of time you will be paid short-term disability benefits.

Most insurance policies and government programs have waiting periods as cost-saving measures. For instance, Social Security disability claims have a five-month waiting period. The elimination period acts kind of like the deductible in some health care policies: The policy doesn't start paying until you've spent your own emergency funds or savings for a certain amount of time.

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