disability insurance

Top Causes of Workplace Disability

Workplace disability is an excellent insurance option for employers and employees alike. It works to guarantee that any temporarily or permanently disabled employee can still receive at least a percentage of their salary if they cannot work due to a covered disability.

Workers can be protected against both long-term and short-term disabilities, so let’s take a look at a few conditions commonly covered by each to better understand what may be protected.

Top Causes of Long-Term Disability 

Long-term disability can negatively impact an individual’s life in numerous ways, not the least of which is by causing them to miss out on valuable income that may be used to support themselves and their families. Let’s look at a few of the most common causes of long-term disability you can claim disability insurance for.


Cancer has been one of the leading causes of long-term disability for a long time. Depending on the type and stage of cancer a person has, it may be treatable or even curable. Still, a wide range of factors will contribute to their diagnosis, prognosis, and the amount of disability they are eligible for. The most common types of cancer in America are:

  • Breast cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Bronchus
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Melanoma

Long-Term Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders, or disorders to the back, spine, knees, hips, and shoulders specifically, are another top cause of long-term disability, with more than a fourth of all long-term disability claims resulting from this issue. Common long-term musculoskeletal disorders include:


Osteoarthritis, commonly known as arthritis, is a condition in which the body’s cartilage is gradually worn down. Essentially, this means that the protective layer between an individual’s bones is being worn down so rapidly that it results in joint pain in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, hips, and more.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you develop rheumatoid arthritis, the body’s immune system will begin to attack itself via its cells. If it’s not treated, this disease can erode an individual’s bones and cause their joints to deform. This commonly affects the cartilage first and is typically seen in the fingers.

Note that the inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis is not limited to joints; it can also spread throughout the body to the organs.


Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves widespread muscle pain and tenderness throughout the body. It is often paired with fatigue which can impact an individual’s sleep, memory, and mood.

Cardiovascular Problems

Cardiovascular problems, including heart attacks, arrhythmias, heart failure, anginas, and congenital heart conditions are all common cardiovascular problems that long-term disability insurance may be able to help you through.

Top Causes of Short-Term Disability

While short-term disability doesn’t impact an individual employee’s life nearly as much as a long-term disability might, it can still have serious and far-reaching effects on their life. Fortunately, short-term disability coverage is there to help out injured employees financially if they experience a wide number of conditions.


Perhaps the most common cause of short-term disability leave is pregnancy. Obviously short-term disability won’t cover the entire pregnancy except in the most extreme cases, but typically it will cover six to eight weeks of income for the recovery period after birth, depending on the kind of delivery an individual has.

Short-Term Musculoskeletal Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders can also result in short-term disability claims for conditions including tendonitis, bone fractures, and carpal tunnel syndrome.


Tendonitis is a condition in which the tendons become inflamed. And because these tendons are fibrous tissues that connect muscle to bone, they can cause pain throughout the body–especially in the shoulders, elbows, ankles, and wrists.

Tendonitis can heal in two to three weeks if the condition is mild enough, but other cases may take upwards of eight weeks to heal fully.

Bone Fractures

Certain kinds of trauma can cause either a complete or partial break of an individual’s bone, resulting in a bone fracture. This fracture can result in the temporary loss of function in whichever part of the body is compromised. And while some fractures can heal in less than a month, others can take up to twenty weeks.

Note that trauma is not the only cause of bone fractures. Overuse and disease may also result in the fracturing of a bone.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is, perhaps, one of the more well-known musculoskeletal disorders. It’s caused by repetitive hand motions or either extreme flexion or extension of a person’s hand or wrist. For example, typing and sports are two more common causes of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Anyone with carpal tunnel syndrome may experience numbness and tingling sensations in their hand or arm initially, and symptoms can become permanent if left untreated.

Digestive Problems

Digestive problems are another common condition that short-term workplace disability can cover. The most common digestive problems that can receive this kind of coverage include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disorder
  • Hernias
  • Gastritis

Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues have been on the rise for short-term disability claims, accounting for more than seven percent of short-term disability claims. Depression and anxiety are the most commonly cited issues, but other mental health problems may also be covered under this insurance type. 

Key Takeaways

Long-term and short-term disabilities can wreak havoc on an individual’s life. It can impact their ability to play with their kids, enjoy their favorite pastimes, and even work. Fortunately, individuals who are covered by workplace disability policies may recover a percentage of their income for covered conditions.

If you have questions about disability insurance or want to receive a quote on a disability policy for your company, reach out to one of our agents today!