Why You Should Never File an Application for
Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits
Without a Lawyer
Long Term Disability Insurance is a benefit that many people receive from their employers. Others receive this insurance from their union, professional association, or they purchase a policy on their own. The purpose of Long Term Disability Insurance is to replace some of your income (usually 60% of your gross) if you are disabled and are no longer able to work.
Each LTD policy has different terms and conditions and different “definitions of disability.” Unlike car insurance, there is no state law that mandates uniform coverage terms.
In order to determine whether an applicant qualifies for LTD benefits, the insurer will need information from the person who is insured, their employer, and their healthcare providers. Once this information has been collected, the insurer will determine whether the insured person is “disabled” as defined in the policy.
Many people assume they can file an application for long term disability insurance benefits on their own. And their employers and insurers encourage them to file the application on their own, without the benefit of legal counsel. This can be a fatal mistake.
Start with the premise that “Insurance Companies Are NOT Your Friend.” Insurance companies are in the business of collecting money. They aren’t necessarily in the business of giving out money, even though they are sometimes required to pay. Most insurance companies would prefer not to pay a claim. If they do have to pay a claim, they’d prefer to pay as little on the claim as possible and delay that payment as much as possible. If you think of it as a funnel with all the people who make claims on the wide end of the funnel and all the people who are fully compensated for their harms and losses at the narrow end of the funnel, you can see that many people do not receive the money they are entitled to from their insurance company.
The reason for this is often because people file claims on their own and assume that “their” insurance company shares their goals (full compensation). This isn’t true. From the very first time you have any communication with your insurance company, it is collecting information from and about you that it can use to deny your claim.
If you don’t submit all the necessary information, this will harm your ability to get paid. If your healthcare providers don’t timely submit your medical records to the insurance company, this will harm your ability to get paid. If you inadvertently say something to an insurance adjuster that you shouldn’t, this will harm your ability to get paid. If you fill out the application correctly or omit information, this will harm your ability to get paid. And then, if your application is denied and you eventually hire a lawyer, that lawyer will be unable to undo the errors that have already occurred, which means that your appeal will be more difficult and your likelihood of having to file a lawsuit will increase. It just makes the process more lengthy, expensive, and risky than it ever should have been.
Do yourself a favor BEFORE you file for long term disability insurance benefits and contact a lawyer. At Nelson Boyd, we have over 25 years of experience of representing people in all stages of the long term disability insurance process. This type of insurance is tricky and complex and not every lawyer knows how to best handle it. We pride ourselves on successfully guiding our clients through the long-term disability insurance maze so that they can get the benefits to which they are entitled.
Call Nelson Boyd today at (206) 971-7601.