The Difference between Disability and Long Term Care Insurance

Anyone who’s had a full-time job has heard of disability insurance, because many companies offer it. They will either offer short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD), or both. If you’re self-employed, you might have an individual plan.

Some of you might have heard of long term care (LTC) insurance, and some of you might have an idea of what it is. Some of you might have no idea what it is at all. You might think that long term care insurance offers the same kind of benefits as disability insurance and that the two terms are interchangeable.

There are similarities between these two products. So, in that sense they are two sides of the same coin. But they are two different types of policies that are designed to cover two different things.

Disability Insurance

Disability insurance (often called “disability income”) is designed to replace a portion of your income for a period of time if you are unable to work. This can be while you’re recovering from a serious injury or from a long-term illness. This type of insurance doesn’t cover work-related injuries, as that falls under Worker’s Compensation.

In addition to the health-related questions that many other types of insurance might ask, the underwriters will also look at your current occupation. This could affect your insurability, because many companies follow very strict guidelines when it comes to this part of the application. Most carriers will have a list of occupations that will make you ineligible for coverage. In other words, if your job is too hazardous, you might be considered “high risk,” and that could affect your insurability.

There are two types of disability plans:

  • Short-Term Disability: This type of plan is designed to replace your income for a certain period of time, and coverage usually begins within 14 days from when you received the injury.
  • Long-Term Disability: This works the same way as short-term disability, except it’s designed to replace your income for a longer period of time. This can be 2-5 years or until you reach 65, depending on the type of policy.

Long-Term Care Insurance

While disability insurance is designed to replace your income for a period of time it’s not designed to cover “activities of daily living” (ADL). This includes things like eating, bathing, continence, and other types of activities that are performed throughout the day. This is where long-term care insurance comes in handy. It’s designed to cover the expense of certain services that might be required if someone either gets too old to perform basic functions or if he or she suffers from a chronic illness, such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. These types of services can include nursing home care, assisted living, home health care, or hospice care. These types of policies are normally used by the elderly, but it can be used by someone of any age.


While disability and long term care insurance are similar in several aspects, they are distinctly different in what they’re designed to do and what they’re meant to cover. Disability insurance will replace your income as a result of an injury, but it will not provide assistance in basic activities that are a part of everyday life. Long term care plans, however, are designed to cover the expense of these services in the event that you .are unable to perform these basic functions. This will make sure you’re not a burden on anyone, such as children or family members