Self-employed individuals such as lawyers, CPAs, CEOs, doctors, and other professionals buy individual disability income policies to protect their income if they cannot work because of a disability. Disability income policies can provide a monthly disability benefit up to age 65, retirement age, or for a lifetime. Our self-employed disability attorneys focus solely on representing people with disability insurance claims. We are familiar with the disability claim practices of all the major disability insurance companies in the United States.
Should I Hire a Disability Insurance Lawyer?
Individual disability income claims can be complicated and insurance companies often try to drag out the claim review process. If you have a disability insurance claim, you should know what to expect and how to respond to requests for information. If your disability claim is denied, you may have the option of appealing the denial decision.
Insurance companies such as MetLife, UNUM, Principal, Northwestern Mutual, and Mass Mutual will conduct a thorough investigation when a disability insurance claim is submitted. Past earnings, medical records, and the opinions of treating physicians are only some of the information disability insurance companies will ask for during a disability claim review. The disability insurance company may want an in-person interview or even demand a medical examination with its own doctor.
Speak with an experienced disability attorney early in the claims process. This can help avoid mistakes and improve your chances of getting the claim approved.
How Do I Qualify for Social Security Disability If I Am Self-Employed?
In addition to private disability insurance, most self-employed individuals are eligible for Social Security disability (SSD), granted they meet all eligibility requirements. Like any other worker, self-employed workers must have earned enough “work credits” to obtain SSD benefits. These work credits are earned based on a person’s wages on which they pay Social Security taxes; for each $1,260 earned in a year, a person earns one work credit (capped at four per year). Anyone who earns 40 work credits over a period of 10 years has earned enough work credits to receive full SSD benefits.
So, if you are self-employed and file a Schedule SE each year, meaning you pay your self-employment tax (consisting of both Social Security and Medicaid), you will earn work credits like any other worker. It is important to note that if you seek Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and you continue operating your business or conducting work for your business, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine your “substantial gainful activity,” which could affect your benefits. Contact our self-employed disability insurance lawyers today to learn more.
Purchasing Self-Employed Long-Term Disability Insurance
As someone who is self-employed, every minute cannot work is a minute you are losing potential income. You need to make certain the self-employed LTD plan you purchase is reliable and fits your needs. What should you look for when buying a plan, though?
Narrowing in on the right plan to purchase is easier when you consider:
- Monthly payment amounts: To stay fiscally afloat while you are unable to work, you need monthly wage replacement benefits of a certain proportion to your typical wages. Most plans will provide at least 50% of your usual wages, but some will go higher for higher premiums paid while not using the LTD benefits.
- Waiting periods: Self-employed LTD benefit packages require a claimant to wait a certain amount of days before filing for the benefits. Waiting periods can vary dramatically, sometimes as brief as three months or as long as a year, so you need to pay close attention to this detail when buying a policy.
- Plan duration: How long will your LTD benefits last? It is an important question that many purchasers forget to ask. Some self-employed long-term disability benefits policies will only give 24 monthly payments before expiring. Others will have indefinite time limits, lasting until you retire or recover from your disability enough to find some form of gainful employment.
- Proof of disability: Different insurance companies require different proofs of disability before approving a self-employed LTD plan purchase. Typically, your tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, and nonrevealing medical documents will suffice. When buying a plan, look at what is required of you to prove your disability. Oftentimes, a company that wants piles of documents will make it difficult for its policyholders to ever file a claim, so it could be one to avoid.
Don't Delay - Call Dabdoub Law Firm Today
Our disability lawyers represent disabled people nationwide with initial disability claims and appeals for wrongful denials. We also file lawsuits against disability insurance carriers that refuse to pay disability benefits.