The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, contains complex legislature that average laypeople find hard to understand. You could read about ERISA and disability claims every day and still have trouble grasping their finer points.
You will probably never become an authority on ERISA, but you can learn enough to preserve your rights. A good approach is to separate myths about ERISA disability claims from the facts.
Myth: Filing a claim under ERISA rules is easy
Many believe they need only follow the instructions on a simple form to apply for disability benefits. Unfortunately, the filing requirements imposed by ERISA are neither self-explanatory nor easy. Missing a single step or leaving out a piece of required documentation could invalidate your claim.
In some cases, denied claimants get no further opportunity to appeal the decision.
Myth: You cannot sue insurers for improper claim denials
You must follow the ERISA guidelines precisely when filing a disability claim and appealing an unfavorable decision. You might be able to sue the insurer for denying your benefits improperly if your claim and appeal failed despite your attention to detail.
Be aware that not appealing a claim denial could bar you from seeking other remedies in court.
What are your next steps?
Before you complete your claim, read your policy documents thoroughly and make sure you understand ERISA’s filing requirements to avoid errors. Do not forget to attach the documentation required to assess your claim.
For an extra measure of protection, consider completing your claim under the guidance of a knowledgeable legal practitioner. If your needs are immediate, legal counsel can help you avoid unnecessary delays.