Long-Term Disability Benefits Attorneys
When you’re young or feel fine, it’s hard to imagine being unable to work for any reason. The truth is that more than one in four 20-year-olds can expect to miss at least a year’s work due to a disabling condition before they reach retirement, according to the Council For Disability Awareness1.
What makes the numbers so alarming is that more than 50 million adults in the United States are without disability insurance and nearly half of all American adults don’t have enough savings to cover three months of living expenses if they can’t work.
That’s why many people have opted to get long-term disability insurance to help in the event of a tragic accident or disability. Unfortunately, insurance companies will do everything in their power to deny legitimate claims of long-term disability benefits.
Find out more about long-term disability settlements and how an attorney can help.
What is Long-Term Disability Insurance?
Long-term disability insurance is a policy that protects a worker from financial ruin in case he or she is unable to work for an extended period of time due to a disability.
This type of insurance usually kicks in after short-term disability insurance has run out, typically between three to six months. Long-term disability pays out a portion of a person’s salary. The exact numbers depend on the policy, but the percentage of the income paid out ranges from 50 to 70 percent.
Long-term disability insurance is usually offered by employers as part of a package of benefits. The policies come from major insurance companies like Aetna, Metlife, Prudential, and others. Individuals can also purchase this type of insurance, but the costs are often exorbitant.
Workers’ compensation is different than long-term disability. Those who are hurt on the job are not covered by long-term disability and must pursue claims of workers’ compensation.
Long-Term Disability Benefits
The benefits of long-term disability insurance depend on the insurer and the policy.
The terms of the package will often lay out just how much of an employee’s salary it will cover. It can be capped at a certain amount per month. The duration of the benefits also vary. Benefits can last for a set period of time — 5 years, for example — or until the age of 65.
Some insurance companies have requirements employees must meet in order to receive benefits. For example, an employee may need to work full-time at 30 hours a week or more. Certain insurance companies will also put limits on the types of injuries that qualify. In many cases, pre-existing conditions or specific diseases that cause disabilities can be excluded.
Most benefits can be offset against the benefits received for Social Security benefits. This means the Social Security benefits can be used as part of payments of long-term disability benefits.
Filing a Long-Term Disability Claim
If you have become injured, you must file a long-term disability claim before receiving any benefits. There are a few things to note, however.
The process can be long and complicated. It is important to obtain a copy of your policy in order to read it over thoroughly. There may be deadlines or limitations that can affect your chances of getting benefits.
Once you’ve read everything over and understand all the policy, you can usually request an application from your employer’s human resources department. The application will involve the disclosure of medical records, detailed information about your condition, statements from employers and doctors, and other evidence to support your claim.
Upon approval, there is a waiting period that usually coincides with short-term disability so there is no disruption in benefits.
Reasons for Long-Term Disability Denial
Applications for long-term disability claims get denied all the time, especially when the application is completed by an individual without in-depth knowledge of the policy.
In some cases, a policy is denied because the individual does not meet the policy’s definition of disability. There are specific criteria that must be met in order to be approved. If there is insufficient medical evidence to support the claims or a person is only partially disabled but still able to do some of the work duties, they will be denied.
Insurance companies will also try to prove that people can still work or are exaggerating symptoms. This could manifest itself as following an individual around to see if they are faking injuries or finding additional doctors who disagree with the individual’s initial diagnosis.
These factors, along with missed deadlines or disqualified diseases, can all result in claim denials.
What is a Long-term Disability Settlement?
Sometimes, an insurance company will reach out to the insured with a settlement proposition for their long-term disability claims.
This means the insurance company wants to settle the long-term disability claims by paying the insured a lump sum for the entire length of the policy period rather than paying monthly for years.
A company will calculate the value of a claim with their best interests and take a few factors into consideration. These factors include whether you will live to the end of your policy, whether a carrier thinks it will have to pay the entire period of the policy, and the value of the claim in today’s money.
How a Long-Term Disability Benefits Attorney Can Help
Throughout the entire process, an insurance carrier will do everything it can to deny your claim or give you the least value possible.
A missed deadline at the very beginning, failing to gather the correct information, and low settlement offers are all used to cheat someone out of important funds that will help cover daily expenses.
An experienced attorney can help navigate the complex legal language of long-term disability insurance policies and negotiate with insurance carriers who are trying to give you the least amount of money possible.
This is why it’s important to contact a long-term disability benefits attorney from the very start. The consequences of making a mistake anywhere in the process can mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Contact an attorney today to find out more about the process of filing a long-term disability claim.