If you have Long Term Disability Insurance (LTD) and you have an injury or illness that affects your ability to work, you may be entitled to disability benefits through your insurance policy. Our firm is working with experienced Long Term Disability lawyers, who can file a claim on your behalf and charge no fee unless you win your case. If you think you have been unfairly denied LTD benefits, contact us by calling our toll free number or filling out a contact form on our website.
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What Is Long Term Disability Insurance?
Long Term Disability Insurance (LTD) covers a disabled person for an extended period of time, ranging from 5 years up to a plan that would cover an individual until retirement age. It is purchased from a private insurance company and the premiums are either paid by an employer or by the insured person.
Long Term Disability Insurance covers illnesses and disabilities that affect your ability to work. These disabilities do not need to be work-related. In fact, most LTD claims are for non-work-related illnesses and injuries. Depending on your policy, there are many different injuries, illnesses, or disabilities that may be covered. Chronic illnesses, cancer, mental illnesses, or other disabilities may qualify. To determine what your Long Term Disability Insurance policy covers, you will need to refer to a copy of your policy.
Is Long Term Disability Different Than Social Security Disability?
Yes. Unlike Long Term Disability, Social Security Disability (SSD or SSDI) is a government funded program. When you work at a job that pays into Social Security (most, but not all, jobs) you earn “work credits” with the Social Security Administration. If you have worked for around 5 out of the last 10 years, and have a recognized disability, you may qualify for SSD.
It is possible to get both LTD and SSD payments. However, your LTD payments will be reduced by the amount of money you receive in SSD payments. To read more about SSDI, please click here.
How Does ERISA Have To Do With Long Term Disability?
ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974) is a federal law that was created to regulate employee benefit and retirement plans. ERISA governs the procedures for filing claims and appeals if your Long Term Disability Insurance falls within ERISA and controls all disability insurance that is provided through your employer.
Non-ERISA disability insurance is normally purchased privately by an insured individual either because the individual is self-employed or because they desired additional disability insurance.
What Is Insurance Company “Bad Faith?”
Even though you or your employer have been paying premiums for your Long Term Disability Insurance, your insurance company may have unfairly denied your valid disability claim. The main reason insurance companies deny claims is to protect their own financial interests. Several insurance companies have been reprimanded by courts and state agencies for unfair practices. This behavior by insurance companies is called insurance bad faith.
Many states have laws concerning insurance bad faith, and insurance companies have a legal duty to treat their customers in a fair and ethical way. A 2008 study by the American Association of Justice compiled a list of the top 10 worst insurance companies for consumers, based on complaints from customers and court documents. They include:
- State Farm
- Well Point
- United Health
- Liberty Mutual
Were You Denied Long Term Disability Benefits by Your Insurance Company?
Your insurer does reserve a right to deny your disability claim if your disability does not fall within the types of disabilities outlined in your policy’s coverage. However, many insurance companies have a history of denying claims for benefits when the claim is a valid. If your initial claim has been denied by your LTD Insurance Company, you have the right to appeal. If your appeal is denied, you may also have the right to appeal that decision as well. For LTD Insurance received through your employer, the policy is most likely controlled by Federal ERISA regulations.
To file an appeal, you will have to follow the administrative appeals procedure, which can often be complicated and confusing. To avoid losing your appeal due to a deadline or technicality, call an experienced disability insurance lawyer, who can assist you throughout the appeals process and beyond. The lawyers that our firm works with can file a lawsuit against your insurance company if you have exhausted the appeals process and they charge no fee unless they win your claim.
Why Contact Us?
If you feel that you have been wrongfully denied Long Term Disability by your insurance company, you should consider hiring an experienced disability lawyer, who can tell you what rights you have. The lawyers that our firm works with can file a lawsuit for you and they charge no fee unless you win your case. For a free (no obligation) case evaluation, call our toll free number or fill out a contact form on our website.