Returning to work after a disability

No one wants to think about having to use long-term disability insurance, but if you have it, you could benefit from knowing the details about the coverage provided under your plan. Long-term disability insurance may provide you with the support you need in addition to protecting your ability to earn an income. If you are unable to work for an extended period of time due to a covered disability, long-term disability insurance may provide resources and support to help you return to a healthy and productive life.


You may require few or no job accommodations when returning to work after being out due to a disability; however, you may need retraining or even help finding a new job. Depending on your situation, there are a variety of ways that long-term disability insurance can help you return to work as soon as possible.

Assisting with the road to recovery

Depending on the nature of your long-term disability, you may have access to rehabilitation programs that may help decrease your recovery time and provide you the coaching necessary to return to work. Long-term disability insurance could provide you with:

  • a series of rehabilitation sessions, so you can focus on your recovery without having to bear the full financial burden of rehabilitation support, and
  • higher long-term disability benefits if you participate in a rehab program recommended by your plan. 

As your health improves, you should consider working with your long-term disability insurance provider and your employer to decide on the best way to transition back to work—whether that means working a shorter week or working part-time—so that you can get back on your feet safely.

Modifying how you work

Some long-term disabilities may require physical modifications to your work environment in order for you to return to work at your current position. These modifications could include adapting specific equipment that you work with or adding worksite accommodations such as a ramp or elevator. These updates can help accommodate physical limitations and create an environment in which you can successfully continue to perform your job duties. Long-term disability insurance could help fund and facilitate these necessary modifications.

Transitioning to a different role

Even if you recover from a disability, you may still have some physical limitations. For example, you may suffer from arthritis or from limited strength, which could prevent you from being on your feet all day. You may be able to stay with your employer but transition to another position for which you are qualified and that does not require the same physical activity as your old position.

Changing where you work

If your disability will not allow for you to physically return to work, you may be able to set up a fully functional home office and work remotely. This solution may not work for everyone, but if you have a job that allows for working from home, discuss the arrangement with your employer. To help with the transition to working remotely, long-term disability insurance could cover the cost of the equipment needed to build a workspace in your home.

As you explore the best options for returning to work, you may have the opportunity to take aptitude tests to see how your skill set could translate to a new job. You could also get help researching new jobs and even preparing or updating your résumé.   

To find out if your employer offers long-term disability insurance and what it covers, contact your benefits administrator.

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SLPC 24944 05/15 (exp. 05/17)

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