• David Martin

The Edge Series: What Does "Waiting Period" Mean?



The lawyers in our firm are focused on helping people with disability policies and ERISA claims. We want to give you the edge in understanding your policy. Today, we want to help you understand what the term "waiting period" means in your disability policy.


The waiting period refers to the number of days, weeks, or months that you have to wait until you are actually covered by the policy.


Many people confuse this with the elimination period, which has an entirely different meaning. This term usually applies to disability policies issued in the workplace. You are eligible for coverage on the first day after the waiting period. To put it even more simply, it is the time that has to pass after you start working for an employer before you are eligible or allowed to be on their insurance coverage.


For example, let's say you go to work for an employer, and you are told during your first 90 days, that you are on probation. While you are on probation, you are not eligible for benefits. Then, after that 90 days, you are eligible for insurance benefits. That first 90 days would be your waiting period.


The danger is that if you are disabled in the workplace during the waiting period, you would not be covered by a long-term disability policy. That is something to take into account because if the waiting period is unreasonably long, you may need to have some other coverage in place.


We have seen policies with a waiting period of 1 year. That is a long time. If the waiting period is 1 year, then you might want to look at other options to be covered sooner. Especially if you have the type of job in which you could be injured rather easily.


The shorter the waiting period, the better for you.


Remember our ERISA attorneys and long-term disability lawyers are here to help if you run into problems. Contact us at the first sign of trouble with your disability claim.