Simply put: Yes, but with limitations. It is important to speak to an attorney to know your rights and to ensure that you do not miss any deadlines related to your specific claim. To our current clients and to those seeking our services for short-term and long-term disability claims and appeals, we are still here to help you every step of the way.
On May 5, 2020, Mehr Fairbanks posted a blog that outlined how COVID-19 can impact the claims and appeals process for both our short-term and long-term disability clients. That blog post can be found here. However, since the original post, the Department of Labor has updated the guidance on the deadlines and extensions that may impact short-term and long-term disability claims and appeals under ERISA.
Because ofthe COVID-19 National Emergency, it was first announced that deadlines related to filing and appealing claims under ERISA were tolled until a certain amount of time after theNational Emergency ended. Originally, ERISA deadlines were suspended until 60 days after the end of the National Emergency. However, because of certain restrictions in the authority to extend deadlines for longer than a period of one year, the suspension of ERISA deadlines has been clarified.
With the COVID-19 National Emergency continuing, the Department of Labor has provided further guidance that may impact your time to submit a claim or appeal of your disability claim.
EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2021-01 outlines that the one-year extension applies separately to each extended deadline. The applicable deadlines are extended until the earlierof (1) one year from the date action would be required (such as the date of a denial letter or end of benefits for example), or (2) 60 days after the National Emergency ends. It is important to note, that the “disregarded” or suspended deadline period cannotexceed one year.
What does this mean for you? That depends. For example, if an insurance company denied your LTD claim on October 1, 2022 and would typically provide you with 180 days to appeal that denial, the 180-day appeal deadline is now extended because the National Emergency continued at the time your claim was denied. Thus, you would have (1) one year + 180 days, or (2) 240 days after the end of the National Emergency, to appeal the denial of your LTD claim. This is simply an example; every insurance policy is differentand deadlines may vary depending on your specific denial.
It is important to remember that the National Emergency can have an impact on your claim and/or appeal. Every case must be analyzed separately to determine what the extension of time looks like for each specific claim. Therefore, it is crucial to seek a consultation if you have any questions regarding filing a disability claim or appeal.
Call us today at (859) 225-3731 or visit us here to request a free consultation with one of Mehr Fairbanks’ attorneys.
*The information contained within this post should not be considered legal advice or legal representation