Even if you’ve been paying for long-term disability benefits for years, you may be unsure about certain aspects of this type of insurance. At Matt Hardin Law, we know that many people who purchase these policies are unfamiliar with the ins-and-outs of how they work—especially when they get sick or injured and need the benefits that their plans offer. To learn more about long-term disability insurance, check out our frequently asked questions below:
Long-term disability insurance is an optional, private policy that individuals can purchase through their employers to ensure that they will receive a supplemental income in the event that they suffer an illness, injury, or condition that prevents them from working for a long period of time.
Social Security Disability benefits work in a similar manner, but are provided by the government and paid out to individuals after they’ve contributed to the Social Security system via their paychecks for many years. In most cases, long-term disability insurance policies provide individuals with more replacement income than SSD benefits, although LTD recipients generally receive both benefits concurrently.
If you get sick or hurt and can no longer work, you can file a claim and use your long-term disability insurance. Filing a claim is a complicated process that involves many steps, including:
As soon as you visit a doctor and receive a diagnosis that rules out working for a long period of time, you should tell your employer and your LTD insurance provider. The sooner you let these parties know about your health, the better your chances may be of getting the benefits you deserve.
Before you officially file a claim, you should first obtain a copy of your LTD benefits from your employer. Your documentation will tell you whether your plan is an individual or group policy, what the time limits are for filing a claim, what the exclusions and limitations are, and whether there is a waiting period before you can begin receiving benefits if you’re approved.
The insurance company that provides your long-term disability insurance will offset some of its payments to you by requiring you to apply for and collect Social Security Disability benefits. Applying for your LTD benefits without applying for SSD first will generally result in a delay, so it’s best to begin that process immediately.
When you first contact your insurance company, it may begin collecting your medical records relating to your accident, illness, or injury and ask your doctor about the severity of your condition. It’s important to collect copies of these records and a written diagnosis from your doctor independently, as it’s common for insurance companies to misplace records or use inaccurate or incorrect records for their customers, resulting in unfair denials.
LTD benefits are designed to replace a certain percentage of your income based on the type of plan you choose. More expensive plans tend to provide a larger amount of monthly income than plans which have lower monthly premiums. In most cases, LTD plans provide people with benefits that total between 50 percent and 80 percent of their original salaries. Your benefits may be reduced if your condition prevents you from doing your previous job but doesn’t prevent you from doing other types of work unless a new job only provides a small percentage of your previous salary.
It’s not uncommon for first-time LTD benefits claims to be denied. Insurance companies want to protect their profits above all else—even if that means denying or reducing the benefits of people who need them to replace their livelihoods after injuries and illnesses. Thankfully, people whose claims were denied have the opportunity to appeal the insurance companies’ decisions. And if they still don’t receive the benefits they deserve after an appeal, policyholders also have the right to take their insurance providers to court in an effort to obtain the money and benefits they’re owed.
If your initial claim for LTD benefits was denied, you need an experienced Nashville long-term disability benefits lawyer on your side as soon as possible. Attempting to appeal the insurance company’s decision on your own can be extremely difficult, as successful appeals require an in-depth knowledge of the way adjusters work and which minor issues with applications they often use to reduce or deny claims.
In addition to having many years of experience handling LTD appeals, our legal team is also dedicated to providing our clients with the professionalism, respect, and individualized care they deserve. That means we’ll keep you up to date on the status of your appeal, walk you through all of your options, and even stand beside you in court if necessary. To get in touch with us, just dial (615) 200-1111 or fill out a free online form. It’s our goal to help you get the full benefits you need to move forward with your life.