Under the terms of most group long-term disability policies received through your work/employer, to receive your benefit, you must first prove that you are unable to perform your own occupation. 

Thus, describing your job duties is important. Many claimants do not realize the importance of this. They will simply write in their job title and the brief, standardized job description provided by their HR department. Or rely on the description provided by the HR department.

Long-Term Disability Application Tip: How to Describe Your Job DutiesYou must accurately and honestly describe your job duties – not just your job title. It’s easy to make a lower-level job sound like it requires more skill than it requires. 

For example, I have had many clients describe their job as “supervisor” or “manager” because that is what their title was.  But when discussing their duties, I found the client did not do any of the following: hire/fire employees, set schedules, perform performance reviews, attend specialized training, order supplies, handle customer complaints, resolve disputes between employees, or a host of other tasks that actual supervisors or managers would be required to perform.

But, what they did have to do was have to stand at the front counter for four hours without a break, unload inventory from a box truck, and climb 2 flights of stairs to deposit the daily register receipts in the safe.

It is human nature to want to describe ourselves and our jobs in the most glowing terms. But trying to make your work duties into something they weren’t can kill your long-term disability insurance claim.

One thing to remember at the application state: YOU MUST PROVE YOU CANNOT DO YOUR JOB

The more skilled you appear or let the insurance company believe, the more ways the insurance company can allege there is other work you can do.

Here are a few tips:


  • List each important task and duty your job requires you do routinely.
  • Explain your job in the most physically demanding way you can.
  • Include important mental and stress-related requirements of your job.
  • Carefully answer unclear or misleading questions – use extra space if necessary
  • Start with your employer’s description of your occupation but add important details that may be left out of their description.  How long do you have to sit?  How long do you have to stand?


  • Exaggerate the truth about what you do
  • Include marginal skills or unrequired skills
  • Include vocational training, experience, or education unless received
Loyd J. Bourgeois
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Accident, injury, and disability attorney serving Luling, Metairie, New Orleans, and South Louisiana