Do you have a short-term and/or long-term disability policy through your job? Are you facing extended time off work due to an injury, illness, or surgery? Many people enroll for short-term and/or long-term disability policies through their employer when they are first hired at their job, but then quickly forget that they are eligible for these benefits. It is only when the unthinkable happens – the back injury, car accident, diagnosis of a rapidly progressing disease, etc. – that you may begin to question what options are available to maintain financial stability in the face of a medical crisis.
Short-term and long-term disability policies can be lifesavers when you are facing an illness, injury, or surgery that is going to force you to miss work for an extended period of time, or potentially prevent you from ever returning to work! There are not many attorneys willing to dive into the intricacies surrounding short-term and long-term disability policies, so finding help to get your benefits can be difficult. The federal law governing application of these private policies (ERISA – The Employee Retirement Income Act of 1976) is complex and can create an uphill battle for any claimant.
Rachael Pas has extensive experience fighting the insurance companies on behalf of her clients. Rachael knows the ins and outs of ERISA and has been fighting the insurance companies for years and doesn’t want you to give up on your hard-earned benefits just because the process seems overwhelming and confusing.
Here are some important tips about short-term and long-term disability policies you should know:
- If you aren’t sure whether or not you have a short-term and/or long-term disability polices, check your paystub to see if there is a deduction for this premium!
- If you want to see if you are eligible to enroll, check with the human resources department at your place of employment and see if they provide these invaluable benefits!
- If you have questions about your policy, your human resources department should be able to provide you with a copy of your policy – in fact, they are obligated to provide one upon your request!
- If you are facing extended time out of work due to an injury, illness, or surgery, don’t wait! Apply for your short-term benefits right away!
- Every short-term and long-term policy is different, but there are some common themes to know. Short-term disability policies usually pay benefits beginning a week after you have stopped working, and most policies will pay for up to 6 months’ worth of benefits. Long-term disability policies typically begin payment of benefits after 6 months out of work and can pay up to either age 65 or your Social Security Normal Retirement Age (SSNRA). Don’t know what your normal retirement age is? Check out this link: https://www.ssa.gov/oact/progdata/nra.html.
- If you have applied for short-term or long-term disability benefits and received a denial letter, don’t give up! Your policy will provide an opportunity for you to appeal. Call Rachael and she can help guide you through the process with no cost up front.
- It is very important to contact an attorney right away if you have been denied. ERISA, that pesky law that governs these types of policies, has pretty strict requirements about appeals and submitting evidence to the insurance company. Once you have exhausted your appeals, the insurance company will not accept any other medical evidence! You need an experienced attorney to help you build a great case from the very beginning.
- Remember, you can draw short-term and/or long-term disability benefits and your Social Security disability insurance benefits at the same time! While it often takes up to 2 years to obtain benefits from the Social Security Administration, you can start receiving short-term disability benefits typically the second week you are out of work! This allows you to maintain a degree of financial stability while waiting for your Social Security disability application to be processed. Once your short-term disability benefits run out, immediately apply for your long-term disability benefits while you continue to wait on Social Security.
- Your private disability insurance company will likely decrease the amount they are paying you by the amount you receive from Social Security disability, once approved. In fact your long-term disability policy will likely require you to simultaneously apply for Social Security disability benefits. Nevertheless, it is important to apply for both!