Total Disability

Published: | Updated: October 8, 2017

Definition - What does Total Disability mean?

A total disability refers to an injury or illness so severe that it prevents the person from resuming their normal work. It is a disability that remains even after the person has fully recovered. Medical practitioners decide whether a disability is total, partial, or not actually a disability at all.

Insuranceopedia explains Total Disability

Under many disability insurance policies, a total disability is necessary for the policyholder to collect full disability benefits. However, some policies may deny coverage to those who switch to another occupation. For example, a carpenter falls off a building structure on the job and breaks his back. He becomes paralyzed and no longer able to resume his work. This would likely qualify as a total disability. Depending on the policy, if he were to find work as a clerk, he may no longer be entitled to disability benefits.

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