Long-Term Disability Insurance
If you are like most people, you choose a career path that you generally enjoy and that allows your family to live a comfortable life. However, what if a significant illness or injury stops you from working? Without your income, how will you pay your rent and cover your daily living expenses? Even worse, what if your injury requires you to pay for expensive medical treatments and medications? Fortunately, longterm disability exists to help prevent workers from spiraling into financial ruin due to an injury or illness. Here’s what you need to know about long term disability insurance:
What Is Long-Term Disability?
Long term disability benefits are insurance disbursements from a long-term disability insurance policy. While typically paid for by employers, some policies can be purchased by individuals who are self-employed or who want extra protection. If you have an active policy and become unable to work due to a covered accident or illness, you may be eligible to receive payouts. Typically, the accident does not have to occur at the workplace for you to be covered. How much you are paid, how long the payments last and what accidents or illnesses are covered depend on your policy’s terms.
What Are Common Issues in Long-Term Disability?
Long-term disability insurance policies vary in terms of exclusions, payments and the claims process. Here is what you should know about the differences in these policies:
- Disability definition: Some policies cover you if you are unable to perform your existing job duties. Unfortunately, other policies only pay benefits if you cannot complete the tasks in any job for which you are qualified. Certain insurance plans allow you to work part-time while collecting payments, while others prohibit any form of gainful employment.
- Benefit payments: The amount of your monthly benefit payment varies depending on the policy, your injury and your income level before you became disabled. Some policies may pay you the equivalent of your monthly salary, while others only pay a percentage of your total income. Insurance companies may require that beneficiaries attend a rehabilitation program to receive payments. Some policies have exclusions that do not cover certain illnesses or disabilities and many do not cover pre-existing conditions.
- Benefit timelines: You are likely wondering how long does long term disability last. Most insurance companies require you to wait a certain period before you can begin receiving payments. This time is known as the elimination period. You must continue to meet the company’s definition of disabled during this period to be eligible for benefits. The majority of employer-sponsored plans have an elimination period of at least 90 days. With most group plans, your employer can choose the maximum length of services. Some policies have set payment periods of two years, while other programs pay to age 65. Large corporations usually set longer benefit periods than small businesses.
How Can I Win a Long-Term Disability Claim?
Applying for long-term disability benefits can be a tedious process, and making a mistake can jeopardize your ability to receive full payments on time or at all. Here are five mistakes that are common when filing for and receiving benefits and how you can avoid them:
- Assuming that you have proof of your claim because your employer has agreed you are too ill to work. It is your employer’s insurance company that pays disability benefits, not your employer. Therefore, your employer’s opinion regarding your work status may not have much of an influence on whether your claim is approved. Gather as much evidence as you can from your doctors and other sources yourself; do not rely on your employer to collect or submit this documentation for you.
- Only following your employer’s human resources department’s recommendations. While this can be a good place to start, human resources personnel are not trained to interpret insurance policies, and they do not influence the insurance company’s decision to approve your benefits. Listen to your company, but seek the advice of an attorney as well.
- Relying solely on the forms provided by your insurance company. Your physician must answer a few questions on forms supplied by your insurance company. However, get as much documentation from the doctor as you can. You need to prove you have a disability and your doctor is the one who can do that. Ask your doctor to write a report that thoroughly explains how your injury occurred and how it prevents you from performing your job duties. Even if you do not use the information, it is better to have too much documentation than too little.
- Participating in activities prohibited by your insurance company and your doctors while filing a claim or receiving benefits. Do not assume that the insurance company will stop checking up on you after approving your claim. Taking part in certain activities may be prohibited by the insurer or medical personnel, and you may get in serious trouble if your insurance company or doctor finds out. Take the safe route and always play by the rules for the sake of your benefits and your health.
- Failing to keep extensive records during the claims process. Many people incorrectly assume that their employer or the insurance company can provide them with copies of records. Do not rely on others to keep your documentation in order. Make photocopies of all documents and make a note of any communication with the insurance company. Encrypt any emails and only send documentation through the mail using a trackable courier service.
Work With an Experienced Disability Attorney
If you recently experienced an injury and cannot work, you need to hire an experienced disability lawyer. An attorney can help you understand your rights and may help you get the financial help you need. Do not wait any longer to start the claims process, and do not try to file your longterm disability claim by yourself. Get the legal advice you need and the compensation you deserve.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!