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Difference Between Short Term and Permanent Disability Insurance

Difference Between Short Term and Permanent Disability Insurance

It’s important to stay ready for unforeseen events in life, as they can have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing and mental peace. Disability insurance is one such resource that can offer you income support if you’re unable to work due to an injury or illness. However, understanding the differences between Permanent and Short Term Disability Insurance can be confusing. At Disability Doc Online, our team of disability doctors online specializes in helping individuals navigate the complexities of disability insurance, whether it’s short-term or permanent coverage.

Let’s discuss the key differences:-

  • Duration of Coverage
  • Qualifying Conditions
  • Coverage Amount
  • Cost and Availability

Duration of Coverage:

The most significant difference between short-term and permanent disability insurance is the duration of coverage. Short-term disability insurance typically provides benefits for a limited period, usually ranging from a few weeks to a few months. This type of coverage is designed to replace a portion of your income during a temporary disability, such as recovery from surgery or a non-life-threatening illness. In contrast, permanent disability insurance offers benefits for an extended period or even for the rest of your life, depending on the severity of the disability. Permanent disability insurance is intended to provide long-term financial support for individuals who are unable to return to work due to a permanent disability.

Qualifying Conditions:

Short-term disability insurance generally covers a wide range of temporary disabilities, including injuries, illnesses, and childbirth. Common qualifying conditions for short-term disability insurance may include surgeries, broken bones, infectious diseases, and complications from pregnancy or childbirth. On the other hand, permanent disability insurance typically covers more severe and long-lasting disabilities that significantly impact your ability to work and earn income. Qualifying conditions for permanent disability insurance may include permanent injuries, chronic illnesses, neurological disorders, and cognitive impairments.

Coverage Amount:

Short-term disability insurance typically provides benefits based on a percentage of your pre-disability income, up to a specified maximum amount. This percentage may vary depending on the policy, but it’s usually around 60-70% of your income. Short-term disability benefits are designed to help you cover essential expenses during your recovery period, such as mortgage or rent payments, utilities, groceries, and medical bills. In contrast, permanent disability insurance may offer more comprehensive coverage, with benefits based on your pre-disability income and potentially including additional benefits for long-term care, rehabilitation, and ongoing medical expenses.

Cost and Availability:

Short Term Disability Insurance is often more readily available and affordable than permanent disability insurance. Many employers offer short-term disability coverage as part of their employee benefits package, helping workers to enroll in coverage at a relatively low cost. In contrast, permanent disability insurance may require a more comprehensive medical evaluation and underwriting process, which can make it more challenging to qualify for and potentially more expensive. However, the long-term financial security provided by permanent disability insurance can be invaluable for individuals with significant disabilities.


Understanding the differences between Permanent and Short Term Disability Insurance is essential for making informed decisions about your insurance coverage. Whether you’re recovering from a temporary injury or facing a long-term disability, Disability Doc Online is here to help you with the complexities of disability insurance and get you the coverage you need to protect yourself and your loved ones. Contact us today to learn more about our disability insurance services and how we can assist you in securing the financial protection you deserve.

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