If you sustain an illness or injury and are unable to work, you may be covered under long-term disability insurance. Obtaining these benefits can be a lengthy, complicated process, however, and insurance carriers frequently attempt to deny claims. At Disability Advocates Group, we regularly handle long-term disability (LTD) claims, in addition to helping our clients obtain Social Security disability benefits.
We are keenly aware that a long-term disability can be an overwhelming physical, emotional and financial burden. We can help to lift that burden by providing you with compassionate representation and dependable service. If your LTD benefits have been denied, our experienced disability lawyers will fight to protect your rights. We understand the medical and financial challenges you are facing and will leverage our skills and resources to help you receive the care you need and the benefits you have earned.
How Does Long Term Disability Insurance Work?
Long-term disability coverage is designed to replace a portion of your income for an extended time period. There are a number of ways to obtain coverage:
- Employer-sponsored or group plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA)
- An individual policy (for self-employed individuals, entrepreneurs, and professionals)
- A public disability plan (for public employees)
Although individual and public plans do not fall under ERISA, they may have built-in protections. Regardless of the type of coverage, to be eligible for LTD benefits you must have a medical condition that leaves you unable to work or that limits you to part-time work. It is important to note that LTD benefits generally do not kick in until short-term disability benefits have been exhausted (if you are covered under a private, group or public STD plan).
How Do I Obtain LTD Benefits in Southern California?
Individuals who are covered under an employer-sponsored LTD insurance policy, benefits can be obtained through a benefits representative, while those who are covered under a private plan must contact their insurance carrier directly.
In any event, the process is complicated. Long-term disability insurance policies typically contain complicated language and provisions that favor the insurer. In addition, your LTD benefits application must contain sufficient medical evidence of your illness or injury provided by your doctor, such as:
- Records of doctors’ visits
- Lab work
- Radiological tests
- Surgical procedures
- Prescription medications
- Counseling and rehabilitative care
In short, you must be able to prove that you are unable to perform the work you did prior to becoming disabled, other work for which you may be reasonably qualified, or any other work that pays a percentage of your earnings. In addition, your treating physician must attest to this determination and provide a reasonable estimate of the duration of your disability. You should know that your LTD benefits claim will likely be denied if there are errors or omissions in the application or the medical evidence does support your claim.
How long does it take to receive LTD benefits in Southern California?
Once your claim has been submitted, you can expect a long waiting period before you receive LTD benefits. Depending on the circumstances, it may take anywhere from 90 days to one year. Because there will be a considerable gap between the day LTD benefits start and the last date you worked, it may be necessary to apply for Social Security disability benefits.
If you do obtain these vital public benefits, however, the amount of your LTD benefit will be reduced. At the same time, applying for both LTD and Social Security disability benefits will help you qualify for other public benefits, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
If your LTD claim is approved, you will receive a portion of about 60 percent of your wages before you became disabled. Finally, the terms of your LTD policy may limit the duration of your benefits to a set number of years or until you reach a certain age.
Contact Our Los Angeles Long Term Disability Lawyers
As you can see, the LTD claims process can be challenging, which makes it crucial to have Disability Advocates Group by your side. Our legal team has a working knowledge of ERISA and the provisions of employer-sponsored, individual and private LTD plans. Serviced we provide include:
- Filing an initial LTD benefits claim
- Applying for Social Security disability benefits
- Working with vocational experts to compile information about your job duties
- Collaborating with your doctor to document your disability
If your LTD benefits claim is denied, our disability benefits attorneys can help you navigate the LTD appeals process, and we are fully prepared to pursue ERISA litigation if necessary. We understand the lasting repercussions a long-term disability will have on your lifestyle and will fight tirelessly to protect your rights. Please contact our office today for a free evaluation of your case.