It’s everyone’s nightmare: something happens to you that necessitates you going on disability through your insurer, then you get fired from your job and your insurance is terminated. What’s going to happen to you? Will you still be able to get disability benefits? Can your employer even do this?
First let’s get the question of losing the job out of the way. Disability insurance and benefits by themselves don’t come with any kind of job protection. In fact, often someone will need to prove that they aren’t able to work in order to get disability benefits. That being said, if you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated due to your disability, you’ll want to seek help from someone who understands the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Those two laws detail when an employer can and can’t fire someone with a disability.
Now back to the question of whether you should still qualify for disability insurance even if your insurance was through your job and you lost that job. Short answer: yes.
How Does Disability Insurance Work After Job Loss?
To make sure that you’re handling your specific situation in the best possible way, you should really speak to a knowledgeable disability attorney who can walk you through the process and make sure you’re protected. That being said, here’s how you can still receive disability benefits even if you lose your job.
You had insurance when the disability occurred. Many people insured through their jobs end up starting with short term disability and “graduating” to long term disability if the issue continues and keeps them from working. Questions arise, however, when people are fired or laid off before moving onto long term disability. Will their benefits end? As long as your disability onset date happened before your insurance ended, the insurer is legally required to cover you. It doesn’t even matter if you wait to file your claim until after the policy ends – as long as the onset date happens while you’re still insured, you can potentially get benefits.
You meet the requirements for getting disability. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Every insurance plan has specific disability requirements that you have to meet beyond having something bad happen to you while you’re under a policy. You might have had to be working a certain number of hours before the disability occurred to qualify, or have specific tests done to prove your condition.
What it all boils down to, though, is that your coverage can’t be terminated just because you no longer work for the company that was offering it to you. If someone has something happen to them while an insurance policy is active, disability laws stipulate that the insurer is legally obligated to look at that claim. Know your rights: download and read our free long term disability eBook and check our blogs weekly for more information regarding your Long Term Disability Insurance rights!