Understanding Disability Claims For Short-Term And Long-Term Needs
Both short-term and long-term disability insurance plans provided by employers typically fall under the rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). In most states, employees may choose to purchase disability insurance through payroll deductions. Other states require employers to provide short-term and/or long-term disability insurance benefits to employees. To understand your employer’s and your state’s offerings and requirements with regard to short-term and long-term insurance, ask your human resource (HR) department or an ERISA attorney.
Most people who contact Toledano Disability Law do so because they are facing a problem getting or keeping disability insurance benefits. However, attorney Reagan Toledano also answers questions for people who have not encountered trouble yet, but simply want to understand their short-term and long-term disability insurance options or mandates.
About Short-Term Versus Long-Term Disability Benefits
It may seem obvious, but to be clear, private and public disability insurance provided or offered by employers is not the same as workers’ compensation or Social Security Disability. If you are unable to continue working because of an injury, illness or chronic condition, you may tap into one or more of the following:
- Paid time off, also known as sick leave, provided as a benefit by your employer
- Workers’ compensation wage-loss benefits, which may start after you have missed work for three days because of a workplace accident or occupational illness
- Short-term disability insurance through your public or private sector job, typically a percentage of your regular salary available for about three to six months
- Long-term disability insurance through your public or private sector job, typically a percentage of your regular salary payable for one to two years or more, up to age 65
- Social Security Disability insurance if you will be out of work for a year or longer because of a disability
The percentage of your normal salary that you may receive is likely different for your short-term versus long-term disability policies. Assuming you have both short-term and long-term disability benefits available to you, you may be required to use up all available short-term disability insurance before filing a long-term disability claim.
Regardless of the details of your employer-provided short-term or long-term disability insurance, attorney Toledano can explain how you can receive a portion of your salary while you cannot work. His years of experience and dedication to clients’ well-being can work to your advantage. He focuses on representing people seeking disability through benefit plans covered by ERISA, but he also advises people with non-ERISA-governed benefit plans.
What steps should I take to make a claim for long-term disability benefits?
Inform your employer that you will be making a claim and ask to review the terms of the policy through which you intend to file a claim. Obtain an application and seek a thorough medical evaluation (perhaps through more than one doctor visit). Then request both employment and medical records to document your application. As you complete the application, focus on the key aspects of your disability that prevent you from continuing to work full-time. Recognize that the insurance claims administrators will look for reasons to deny your claim. Bolster your claim accordingly with evidence that addresses those points. After you submit your application, be ready to respond promptly and adequately to further requests for information. Consult with an attorney who can determine whether the insurer’s claim evaluation process is ERISA-compliant.
How does the disability law attorney at Toledano Disability Law help clients overcome denials?
Ideally, he has the opportunity to advise a client from the beginning of the claims process. Along the way, he helps them document their disabilities in ways that will be difficult for insurers to refute. He helps clients prepare explanations with ample documentation confirming the impediments to working on the basis of qualifying disabilities. He represents claimants in correspondence, hearings and, if necessary, trials in state or federal courts.
What are common reasons that insurance companies give for denying claims?
Insurers may deny claims for technical reasons (such as alleged missed premiums or belated applications), substantive medical reasons (such as insufficient evidence presented by doctors), policy exceptions (such as noncoverage for preexisting conditions) or procedural reasons (such as when a claimant fails to respond promptly or appropriately to requests or directives), to name a few. To protect your rights, get legal counsel early in the process.
Get Answers To Your Individual Questions
Since 2005, Reagan has been providing clients with answers to questions about disability benefits and related issues. Churches and some public-sector occupations may offer or provide disability benefits not covered by ERISA.