Answer: In a long-term disability claim, you are assessed as to whether or not you can perform the essential duties of a) your own occupation and b) any occupation. In most policies, the own occupation period lasts for 2 years, but it can be less or more, depending on the policy.
Own occupation refers to your pre-disability occupation; the job you held at the time your disability occurred.
Any occupation refers to is any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified, or could become qualified for by reason of education, training or experience.
Own Occupation Test: This test applies to the first 24 months of disability (or the period set out in your policy). Total disability during this period of time means that you are unable to work at your own occupation and perform the essential duties of your job.
Any Occupation Test: Total disability refers to the inability to work at any occupation. After the 24 month period, your continued eligibility for long-term disability benefits will be based on whether you are unable to perform the essential duties of any occupation for which you are reasonably qualified, or could become qualified for, by reason of education, training or experience.
It is important to read your own policy to find out what tests are applicable and when they apply.