Workers Comp: STD & LTD

Mar 3, 2022 | WC & Other Laws

Workers Comp: STD & LTD – Some injured workers have personal short-term or long-term disability policies (or both). Today we’re going to be answering when and if you should try to get wage loss under Workers’ Compensation AND access your short or long-term disability policy. 

Workers Comp: STD & LTD

What is short and long-term disability?

Sometimes people have disability insurance policies and typically there are two types of disability policy, one is called long-term disability and the other one is short-term disability. You might be asking, “What’s the difference between the two?” Short-term disability usually covers you for a limited period of time, about six months of benefits depending on the policy. There’s no waiting period and all you have to do is show that you are unable to do your regular job and you’re entitled to this disability benefit from the insurance company. Long-term disability is a different insurance, it’s a policy that pays you for a longer time than short-term disability. Long-term disability has three different time frames. 

What are the three different time frames in long-term disability?

The first time frame is the waiting period. It doesn’t matter how disabled you are, or even if you’re in a coma, the insurance company will not pay you anything. The waiting period extends up to a six months duration and within this time hopefully, you have savings or a short-term disability policy or maybe you’re getting money for disability or from Workers’ Compensation. 

In the second time frame, you should look at your policy to see how long that period is and the definition of disability. Typically, the definition of disability for that initial period is you’ve got some sort of medical condition that prevents you from going back to your old job. You might ask “How long does that last?” It could last a year or two where the long-term disability insurance companies agree to pay you for not being able to go back to your old job.

The third time frame could be after the first two years of disability but typically what happens is the standard of the definition of disability changes and now it’s not a question of if you can go back to doing your old job, but can you go back to not only doing your old job or any other job that you’re capable of doing given your education, background, and experience. It’s a harder period to qualify for and the hope is that if you become disabled because of a work injury, you’ll receive Workers’ Compensation for being off work. Once you are no longer entitled to that benefit because you’ve been placed at MMI, you can start doing the long-term disability and you can take those two years and be able to re-too,l re-train, re-educate, and rehabilitate yourself so when that period ends you’re able to do something else.

How does short-term and long-term disability coincide with Workers’ Comp?

It’s important for us to know who is paying for your premium. If my client, the injured worker, paid for the premium then there’s nothing to worry about. But if the employer paid for the premium then there might be some issues that come up. While your employer has to pay you while you’re off work, they are able to reduce your Workers’ Compensation pay for what you get in long-term disability. But if you paid half the premium and your employer paid the other half of the premium, then they can only reduce your Workers’ Compensation by one-half of the long-term disability policy.

We’re here to help

If you or someone you know is injured on the job in Colorado let them know about Kaplan Morrell Attorneys at Law. We’ve been helping injured workers since 1995 and we would love to orient you on your rights. We offer free and confidential consultations. To learn more call us at 970-356-9898 or visit our website at for more information.

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