You have made the difficult decision to file your claim for long term disability/ERISA benefits but what should you do before you actually file the claim?
There are a number of things you should do:
1. Get your medical records from the physician who will support your claim and see what your doctor says about your diagnosis, your complaints and your ability to work. You don’t want any surprises in the medical records that are supposed to support your claim.
2. Read your policy and find out what the requirements are for “last day worked”, if there are any waiting periods for pre-exisitng conditions, what the standard of disability is that you must establish, what job you must be disabled from (and it might not be the one you are doing for your employer), whether there are any reductions in your long term disability benefits because you might get Social Security Disability or use your 401K, how long you have to be disabled before you can collect benefits, and whether your medical condition is excluded from your long term disability policy.
3. Determine what is going to happen to any group health and life insurance you have through your employer and how you are going to pay for your coverage. ERISA/long term disability policies generally require on-going medical treatment and so does Social Security.
4. Get your job description and compare it to the policy terms. Does the policy say you must be disabled from the job as your performed it for your employer or how it is performed in the national economy? Big difference!
5. Get your financial house in order. It is going to be a long haul with a reduced income or none at all if your claim is denied. You might collect short term disability or your might have an elimination period where you can’t collect benefits, even if you are disabled. How are you going to manage?
6. Plan on applying for Social Security Disability Benefis. You should be filing out both your long term disability/ERISA application and your Soical Security application at the same time.
7. Seek legal advised on how to file out both your long term disability and Social Security application. If you have to pay for an initial consultation it is well worth the money. Better to do it right the first time, then to have to get an attorney to help you undue your mistakes. This is not for the faint of heart and those do it themselves.
The Law Offices of Nancy L Cavey has fee plans for all situations. There is nothing more disheartening for Nancy Cavey than to tell a disabled person she can’t help, because the mistake has already been made or you have already fallen into the carrier’s trap.
Answering these broad-based questions isn’t easy. Help is a phone call away. You can contact Nancy Cavey, an experienced long-term disability attorney at 727-894-3188.