A disability is a medical condition that prevents a person from working for a period of time. These medical conditions usually include certain injuries and illnesses. Disability is a major consideration for both employees and employers.

For workers, going on disability means that they might not be earning income during the time they are not working. To counteract this, workers may apply for disability benefits provided by the state or their employer, or for disability insurance from an outside provider. Depending on the condition, the benefits or insurance may cover all or some of the lost income, as well as other medical expenses. Coverage is generally based on the person’s income in the past year.

For employers, disability must be factored in when dealing with the workforce. If an employee is injured or incapacitated, especially while on the job, the employer may need to find provisions for compensating the employee while they are off work.

What Is the Difference between Short-Term and Long-Term Disability?

Disabilities in an employment context are often divided into “short-term” and “long-term” categories. Short-term disabilities typically include:

  • Minor injuries that heal within a short period of time, such as strains and sprains
  • Conditions or injuries that are corrected by surgery or therapy
  • A wide array of work-related injuries

Long-term disabilities may include:

  • Illnesses that last for many months or longer
  • Chronic conditions and conditions that recur over time
  • Serious emotional or mental symptoms
  • Certain types of serious on the job injuries, especially repetitive stress injuries

Insurance companies and state disability programs may have different criteria for determining what qualifies as a long-term versus a short term disability. State laws may also vary with regards to disability definitions and applications.

What Are Some Other Issues to Consider Regarding Disability?

Short term and long term disability may also refer to the way that benefits are paid out. For instance, short term policies may only make payouts over a few years, whereas some long-term insurance policies can extend payouts over several years.

Also, there are differences between “partial” and “total” disability. These different categories of disability refer to the degree that a person’s disability affects their ability to work, not necessarily whether the disability is long- or short-term. Disputes over disability definitions may require legal action to be resolved.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with Disability?

Disability laws can be complex and may vary from state to state. You may need to hire an employment lawyer in your area if you need help with any type of disability claim. Your attorney can provide you with legal research to help with your issue, and can also inform you of what options are available. If you need to file a legal claim or a lawsuit, your lawyer can provide you with legal representation during the process as well.