Navigating the murky waters of long-term disability claims can be stressful, especially when dealing with insurance companies that are notorious for denying claims. Taking on your own long-term disability case without an experienced attorney will not only be taxing, but can cost you the benefits that you deserve. While having an attorney assist you with your claim can increase your chances of a favorable decision, it’s still vital for you to remain on top of how the process works. We’ve got the answers to the top long-term disability questions here:
How Does SSD Impact Long-Term Disability Claims?
Receiving SSD could affect your long-term disability benefits. In most cases, your SSD benefit amount will be offset. For example, if you are receiving a monthly LTD benefit of $2,500 and $800 per month in SSD benefits, your long-term disability insurer will reduce your LTD benefits by $800. Your LTD insurance company could take some of your back benefits. SSD may also provide partial benefits — also known as auxiliary benefits — to your spouse or children who are dependents.
How Do Insurance Companies Practice “Bad Faith?”
When it comes to examining a long-term disability claim, insurance company claim reviewers are trained to look for any discrepancies to deny a claim. Insurance companies who use underhanded tactics to deny a claim are practicing bad faith.
Here are some warning signs that could demonstrate your insurance company is practicing bad faith:
- Ignoring pertinent medical evidence that showed you are disabled.
- Disregard for the financial and emotional hardship you will endure.
- Termination of benefits before receiving an update from a doctor appointed by the insurance company.
- Making low-ball settlement offers and deduction operational costs from the offer.
- Denying benefits for an unreasonable amount of time.
- Prolonging or denying the settlement to put a financial strain on you so that you will accept the settlement offer that they have made.
If you suspect that your insurance company is practicing “bad faith,” here are some steps you should take:
- Contact a long-term disability attorney for assistance with your claim.
- File a complaint with your state insurance commissioner (consult with your attorney on how to proceed).
- Keep all documentation and proof of behavior organized and handy.
What is an Independent Medical Exam?
If you have sustained an injury or illness and cannot work, you have the right to apply for long-term disability benefits. Part of the LTD claim process is to participate in an independent medical exam (IME). While you may want to have your primary care physical conduct your IME, they are not permitted to do so. The insurance company will appoint its own doctor to conduct the IME exam.
How Do I Prepare For an IME?
To help increase your chance of a favorable decision, it’s important to know what to expect. Follow these tips on how to prepare for an IME:
- Arriving on time for your scheduled appointment.
- Take notes during your exam or bring a trusted relative or friend to take notes for you.
- Record how long the exam lasted, what questions the doctor asked, as well as what tests were performed.
- Obtain a copy of your IME report.
- Review the IME report with your attorney for any information that may be incorrect.
What Information should I Provide to My LTD Attorney?
You should provide your attorney with the following for proper filing of your claim:
- Your original medical information
- Medical images
- Diagnostic test results
- The full IME report
How Can I Increase My Chances of Winning a Long-Term Disability Case?
The goal of every insurance company in a long-term disability claim is the same — to find any legitimate excuse to deny it — and missing deadlines is one of the easiest excuses for them to do so. Increase your chances of a favorable outcome by not missing the following common deadlines:
- The timeframe in which you must file a claim.
- Providing evidence of disability.
- The timeline in which you must submit an appeal.
Should you receive a notice of denial from the insurance company, it’s important to take note of the latest date you will be permitted to file an appeal. Typically insurance companies will give you 180 days from the date of the denial letter to file an appeal.
What is the “Elimination Period?
The elimination period — sometimes referred to as a “waiting period” — refers to the time between the onset of an injury or illness and the receipt of benefits. Typically there is a three to six month waiting period before you are entitled to disability benefits even while you are disabled.
What Happens if My Doctor is Not Supportive of My Disability?
Having a supportive doctor in your long-term disability case can make all the difference. It’s essential to have the following in order:
- See your doctor as recommended.
- Ensure the attending physician documents all restrictions and limitations.
- Verify that the doctor provides the proper medical documentation of your condition.
Providing medical evidence is crucial to proving you are disabled. Poor medical documentation can cost you the long-term disability benefits you deserve. Your symptoms and why they prevent you from working should be accurately documented in your medical reports. Another vital component to your long-term disability claim are the statements and opinion of your doctor showing that he/she supports that you are unable to work due to your injury or illness.
What Are The Benefits of Hiring a Long-Term Disability Lawyer?
It’s no secret that insurance companies can be difficult to deal with when it comes to long-term disability claims. Here are three reasons why it’s crucial to have a long-term disability attorney on your side:
- Increase your chances of a favorable outcome.
- Guidance and support through the process.
- Ensure all required deadlines will be met.
You have enough to worry about when you have an illness or injury that prevents you from working. Handling your own long-term disability case will certainly bring on stress you could do without. Individuals who file a long-term disability claim on their own are expected to know complicated ERISA laws. Lack of experience can cause you to lose your long-term disability case. Contact Dabdoub Law Firm at (800) 969-0488 today to learn more about how we can help you get the long-term disability benefits you deserve.