Many clients come to us and have serious questions when they suffer from a disability that makes them unable to work. They have disability insurance but do not know what that means or what that entitles them to receive from their insurers. In this post, we want to answer some of the most common questions that we get about long-term disability insurance.
What sort of long-term disability insurance do I have?
There are a couple of different types of long-term disability insurance. One type is provided by your employer. It is a policy that is offered to anyone who works at the company as long as they meet the criteria that allow them to obtain such benefits.
The other is a policy that you purchase individually on the open market. You pick the company that you wish to work with and make the deal on your own. The type of insurance that you have has a major impact on how your requests for benefits are handled.
Under the employer-provided policies, if you submit a request for benefits, they will analyze your situation and determine if you qualify. If there are disputes with your case, they are handled under federal ERISA laws, which are extremely complicated and confusing to understand. For personal policies, disputes are handled according to the language in the document, which also can make things difficult for you as your claim moves forward.
What happens if I am unable to work?
The policies themselves cover the process for applying for benefits. Your current condition will be analyzed to see if you are eligible for benefits. If approved, you will get the compensation you are owed according to the plan. If your claim is rejected, things move to the next step.
My claim has been denied. What happens next?
This is where the distinction between types of policies is so important. Claims that proceed under ERISA have a much more difficult standard to overcome to achieve success during the appeals process. That being said, the individually purchased policies are not exactly an open-and-shut case either, as the appeals can be very lengthy and time-consuming.
As you would expect, this is not ideal when you need these benefits in order to make ends meet. If you have questions about your disability insurance, speak to an experienced attorney about what you can do to protect your claims.