Filing for a long-term disability claim is an effective way to ensure you continue providing for your loved ones when you can no longer perform duties in your occupation due to physical injury or chronic illness. However, navigating claims for long-term disability benefits can be challenging. The process is filled with a lot of paperwork, tight deadlines, and complex negotiations with insurance adjusters. If you are considering filing for a long-term disability claim, here are seven tips to help you build the most robust case and increase the odds of success.
- Hire an attorney
The first thing to do following a disability and getting medical assistance is to partner with an attorney specializing in long-term disability insurance law. A lawyer who practices regularly in this field can offer insights on what to do before, during, and after filing your claim. This prevents you from making mistakes that could result in the delay or denial of your claim.
An attorney will also negotiate with your insurance providers to help you get the long-term disability benefits you deserve. The lawyer can help you appeal the insurance company’s decision if your claim is denied. Be sure to research and request colleagues or friends who have filed an LTD before for recommendations to a reputable lawyer. You should then schedule an initial consultation with the attorney to learn more about how they will help with your claim.
- Notify your employer
Most insurance companies require you to submit an employer’s statement before processing your long-term disability claim. For this reason, notify your employer that you cannot return to work due to a disability. Ensure you provide evidence to support your claim; you could be eligible for a temporary leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Be sure to inform your employer that you intend to file a long-term disability claim and request an employer statement. You should also ask the Human Resources department for copies of all policy documents to start the long-term disability claim application process.
- Submit your claim as soon as possible
Did you know your insurer could deny your claim for not submitting it on time? Most insurance companies have a 60-day window to file for a claim after one sustains a mental disorder, chronic illness, or physical injury that impacts their ability to perform their occupational duties. Do not miss this deadline. It is best to file your claim before the deadline, then work to gather evidence and submit more details of your condition later.
- Keep track of all communication with your insurer
Be sure to document all correspondence with your insurer, including any documents you have received or sent them. You should also keep track of all communication, including phone calls, emails, or any other contact you receive from the insurance company. Ensure you pay attention to the date, time, the name of the representative with whom you spoke, and what the conversation was about.
Keeping a record of all communication with the insurance company can help you file for an appeal in case your claim is denied, pursue subsequent litigation, or submit complaints to your state’s insurance commissioner. With that being said, remember to choose your words carefully when speaking to your insurer. Your words could be used against you to delay or deny your claim.
- Build a solid medical record
A solid medical record is the secret to the success of your long-term disability claim. If your medical evidence cannot substantiate your disability, the insurance company will likely deny your claim. For this reason, consider getting a diagnosis from a qualified healthcare provider specializing in treating your condition.
The medical diagnosis should prove, without a doubt, that you can no longer perform your occupational duties. You could obtain tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, lab tests, and MRIs, to support your symptoms and diagnosis. Be sure to also show evidence that you tried interventions recommended by your physician to reverse or improve your condition. Such interventions include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Review your long-term disability policy
Different insurance companies have different long-term disability policies. Familiarize yourself with your policy’s terms to understand your benefits. Pay attention to the definition of disability within your guidelines. Some insurance policies require you to stop working before getting compensation. Others may require you to meet the partial disability definition, allowing you to work part-time while filing for long-term disability benefits. Consider speaking to your attorney to understand your policy’s definition of disability to determine the benefits you deserve.
Other details you should pay attention to in your policy include:
- The evidence you should submit to support your claim
- The days you should meet
- Monitor your social media presence
Cease or limit activity on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat once you file a long-term disability claim. Insurers often monitor your online presence to find reasons to deny your claim. If you post anything that contradicts your disability, it will likely invalidate your LTD claim.
Long-term disability benefits can help you deal with the aftermath of a physical injury or chronic illness. Hire an attorney, build solid medical records, review your policy, submit your claim on time, and keep track of communication with your insurer to get the disability income you deserve.