A key component of any short or long-term disability insurance policy is its definition of disability. When you submit your claim, insurance companies will refer to this definition to determine whether your disability benefits are approved or denied.

The definitions of disability are referred to as “own occupation” and “any occupation”. These are distinguished from one another by whether your disability prevents you from completing the requirements of your own job or any job that you may be qualified for.

Own Occupation

Under “own occupation” policies, disability is defined as the inability to complete the requirements of your specific and current job. Unless you have a “modified own-occupational policy”, you are usually required to be working at the time of your disability in order to claim benefits.

“Own occupation” policies apply a less stringent definition of disability because you only have to prove that you cannot work in your current occupation. As long as its responsibilities are different from your job prior to the disability, you can continue to work in a different occupation while still receiving disability benefits.

Any Occupation

Any occupation” policies define disability as the inability to work in any occupation that you are reasonably trained and qualified for. This is a much stricter definition of disability because it requires that you are unable to work in a greater number of possible jobs.

Many insurance policies initially apply an “own occupation” definition of disability and change to an “any occupation” definition after certain amount of time, usually 24 months. As a result, your disability claim may be denied if you initially received benefits under an “own occupation” policy, but transitioned to an “any occupation” policy.

If your disability claim has been denied, speak to an experienced claim advisor at ClaimCounsel who can assist you.

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Hotfelder, Aaron. NOLO. “Understanding your long-term disability policy”.

Investopedia. “Any-occupation policy”. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/any-occuption.asp

Investopedia.“Own-occupation policy.” http://www.investopedia.com/terms/o/ownoccupation_policy.asp