Often times I’m asked, “What is the difference between Social Security disability benefits and long-term disability or short term disability benefits?” The easy answer is that Social Security benefits are provided by the government through Social Security Administration, whereas long-term and short-term disability benefits as they are used are provided by a private insurance company. Now whether you purchased the policy separately or receive it through work, those benefits are paid for separate and apart from the government.
You pay for Social Security disability insurance through your work. When you work and pay taxes, a portion of those taxes that are taken out for Social Security benefits goes to pay for Social Security disability. In order to receive Social Security disability, you must prove that you are insured under the Social Security Act, which has its own requirements – primarily if you have worked five out of the last ten years and most of your life you will be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
For long-term disability benefits, you have to have a policy. That policy, again, can be provided by work or you purchased separately, but if you don’t have a separate policy that provides you with long-term or short-term disability benefits, then there are no long-term or short-term disability benefits that would be available to you.