Most disability insurance policies have an elimination period, also known as a "waiting," "deductible" or "qualifying" period that is defined as the time between the date of the onset of disability and the date you are eligible to receive disability benefits. For short-term claims, this period can range anywhere from zero days to 10 days or more. For long-term claims, this period may be 90 days, but can be longer or shorter depending on the policy.
If short-term benefits are provided by the same insurer, the long-term elimination period will often be the same length of time that your short-term, employment insurance or employee sick benefits run. This period also varies from policy to policy. Making a claim for long-term benefits before your short-term period ends will ensure that there is no lag in-between, unless you are denied benefits.
You should file a claim for disability benefits as soon as you become disabled and if your doctor estimates the recovery time may be longer than the length of your waiting period. If you are unsure how long your recovery will take, apply anyway.
You do not have to wait for the elimination period to be over before you file your claim. In fact, it is advised that you submit your claim before the end of your elimination period.
Benefits are not guaranteed to be paid out after the elimination period. Your insurer may deny your benefits for any number of reasons.