Consult a Disability (LTD) Lawyer Early in the Disability Claim ProcessLeave a Comment
Filing for long-term disability (LTD) benefits is more complicated than your LTD insurance company might like you to think. If you become unable to work and are covered by LTD insurance, consulting with an LTD lawyer could make the difference between getting benefits and having your claim denied.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a complex federal law that governs LTD insurance coverage in the private sector. LTD claimants who do not have the benefit of a lawyer often make critical mistakes that could have easily been prevented. An LTD lawyer can interact with your LTD carrier or plan administrator on your behalf. An experienced attorney can help navigate the web of ERISA rules to make sure your claim is properly filed, and anticipate important issues that may arise if the LTD carrier denies your claim and you have to file a lawsuit in federal court to get your benefits.
When you have an LTD lawyer to represent you from the start, he or she can make sure that the documents the insurance company looks at to decide your claim, commonly referred to as “the administrative record,“ include all evidence of your disability. A good LTD lawyer will know the right questions to ask your doctor about your work-related limitations, when to hire vocational experts, and how to make sure that there is more in the administrative record than the insurance company’s paperwork and (in many cases) inaccurate assessments by “independent” doctors hired and paid by the insurance company to review your file
Many LTD applicants expect that they will receive LTD benefits if they have already qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Unfortunately, that is often not the case. LTD carriers have won many cases by saying that they use a different standard than Social Security does, or that they considered information that Social Security did not have. Simply put, getting SSDI does not guarantee LTD.
If you are planning to file an LTD application or have already done so, don’t wait to hire an LTD attorney. By the time your claim is decided, it may be too late.