My long-term disability insurance policy mentions an "elimination period" (or "waiting period"). What does that mean?

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The elimination period (also known as the waiting period) is the amount of time you have to wait from the first day you get ill or injured to when you start receiving benefits. Disability policies can carry elimination periods of 30, 60, 90, 180 or 365 days. Generally, the longer the elimination period, the lower your premiums will be. But keep in mind a few important things:

  • Most policies are designed to be most cost-effective with at least a 90-day waiting period.

  • Individual LTD policies usually pay at the end of each month - so if you have a 90-day elimination period, you will not receive your first claim check until the 120th day.

  • You should look at your financial situation to determine how long you can be without an income to decide what elimination period is best for you.