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.