How do I apply for long-term disability benefits?
You must follow the process and procedure outlined by your long-term disability plan. Your employer’s human resource department is required to provide you with a summary of your plan and its benefits. They may be able to help you fill out the forms.
I received a letter saying my long-term disability benefits were denied. What should I do?
If your long-term disability claim is denied, you may have a short period in which to file an appeal. This time period will be set forth in your long-term disability plan documents. (That should have been supplied by your employer.) It is strongly recommended to seek experienced ERISA help in preparing your claim appeal. You must ensure that you meet all of the legal terms and conditions of your plan. Most people don’t realize, until it is too late, that the record you submit is ALL that you may be able to use later in Court, so it is VERY critical to get experienced legal help with any appeal.
How does a long-term disability insurance company decide if I qualify for long-term disability benefits?
A long-term disability insurance company will review the records associated with any medical examinations to look for limitations and restrictions that doctors have indicated in order to determine whether you meet the plan’s definition of disability.
Can the insurance company use my social media history against me to deny my benefits?
An insurance company can use whatever evidence is available to them in determining whether you meet the plan’s definition of disability, including social media posts showing your activities. It is recommended to not post pictures on any social media because they can display an inaccurate portrayal of what is going on with your body! We all smile when having our picture taken – even if we are in pain! We all do things for 10 seconds that are not reflective of what we can do continuously for a work day. If someone posts a video of you, then the insurance company can find that and claim it is proof that you can work, even though you cannot sustain that activity for a long period of time.
Does the long-term disability insurance company have to give me information about my insurance policy?
Yes. The law requires them to give you documents.
If I can no longer work, should I quit or use any FMLA or PTO?
If you can no longer work, you can use your PTO or FMLA to continue to be paid while you process any claims for disability. Always be honest with your employer about what you can’t do. It is best to ask for the employer to make accommodations for you if you think you can work a different job that they have available. Do not simply quit your job without explanation. Let your employer decide whether they can continue to use you in your condition.
What if I am unable to work due to a mental illness?
A mental illness which prevents you from working may be covered or expressly excluded by the terms of a long-term disability policy. Even if it is expressly excluded, the physical problems associated with the mental illness may qualify you for long-term disability benefits. The exact language of your long-term disability plan is key to this determination.
Am I still a company employee while I’m on long-term disability?
Your employer’s policies will determine whether you are still considered an employee while on long-term disability.