If you’re getting STD or LTD benefits, can you go on vacation?

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2023 | Long-Term Disability/ERISA

Many people who are receiving short-term disability (STD) or even long-term disability (LTD) insurance benefits aren’t bedridden. However, their injury or illness prevents them from being able to work. For example, a physical therapist who had to have surgery to repair tears in his rotator cuff muscles that he injured trying to lift too much weight at the gym likely can’t work for some time but is eventually able to drive his kids to and from school, do some light housekeeping and go to the grocery store even if he can’t do his job safely just yet.

What about more enjoyable activities – like vacations? If you’re receiving disability benefits, you may assume they have to cancel any vacation plans. It all depends on what that vacation would involve. That physical therapist with the injured shoulder, for example, shouldn’t be doing any scuba diving in Hawaii, but he may be able to take a more relaxed vacation. 

You may be able to as well. Don’t cancel any vacation plans (or make them) just yet.

Read your insurance policy

Look carefully to see if there are any restrictions on where and how you can travel. Your insurer may also require that you notify it of any travel plans.

Check with your doctor and other medical providers

Find out what it’s safe for you to do and what you need to avoid. Get these restrictions in writing so that you have evidence should you need it that you were following your doctor’s instructions to avoid further injuring yourself or worsening your condition. It’s typically best not to be away for so long that you miss any scheduled appointments, tests or insurance documentation requirements.

Don’t broadcast your vacation

Even if you’ve gotten the okay to travel and you’re abiding by all physical restrictions, it’s still wise not to post on social media. It’s also best to avoid telling co-workers about your plans. It’s likely that someone will resent the fact that you’re at the beach getting a tan while they’re helping cover your workload.

If you face issues with your disability insurance benefits because of any travel or other activities you participated in while on leave, it may be wise to seek legal guidance to help ensure that you aren’t being wrongly denied benefits.