Total Versus Partial Disability

Read this tip to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about What Are the Levels of Disability? and other Disability Insurance topics.

What Factors Determine a Decision Regarding Total Versus Partial Disability?

Total Versus Partial Disability

The specific language in your disability insurance contract should outline the factors involved in determining if you are disabled and whether you have suffered a total or partial disability. Here are two brief basic explanations of the difference between the two.

  • Total Disability. The inability of the insured to perform any part of their occupation and its required duties is typically the definition of total disability. Sometimes, language will also be added that states that the insured is also unable to perform any other employment.
  • Partial Disability. This is typically stated as a disability that prevents the insured from performing one or more functions of their occupation, but does not prohibit the performance of other related duties or, possibly, another occupation.
  • Temporary or Permanent. Information provided by the medical community will influence the determination of your condition as being temporary or permanent.
At times, the definition of disability is affected by other language in your disability insurance contract. If you have standard coverage, your policy often includes an “any occupation” definition of disability. Once you are able to perform the duties of any gainful occupation, not necessarily your own, you may no longer be eligible for benefits. Should you have purchased coverage with an “own occupation” disability definition, you are considered to be disabled, partially or totally, until you can once again perform the duties of your specialty. Obviously, this difference could prove to be very important in disability decisions that affect your benefits. Understand the language in your insurance contract and consider upgrading it, if permitted, to improve your protection.

Refer to your insurance policy contract for specific information regarding your coverage and for actual terms, conditions and exclusions. The above statements are general in nature and may or may not reflect the actual terms of your insurance policy.



Nobody has commented on this tip yet. Be the first.


URL: (optional)


Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Disability Insurance Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Byron White