If you have a condition preventing you from making a living, you have a right to assistance and care. For those who require it, long-term disability is a vital resource that provides peace of mind and financial security during a time when they need it most.
No one wants to endure a life-changing injury or illness, but the reality is that one in four 20-year-olds will become disabled before they retire. While you may hope you never use it, it’s important to understand how long-term disability insurance works so that you can protect yourself and your family in case of injury or illness.
It’s also important to know what conditions qualify and how a long-term disability attorney can help when you run into claims complications. Keep reading to learn more about this key type of insurance and how it can best be used in the event of the unforeseeable.
What Is Long-Term Disability?
Long-term disability (LTD) is a type of insurance that provides financial assistance for prolonged periods of time, typically years or decades. It differs from short-term disability (STDI), which typically provides compensation for a period of three to six months. These two policies can be used together, or LTD can be turned to when worker’s comp or STDI benefits have been exhausted.
While sometimes confused with worker’s compensation, long-term disability is a separate resource. One key difference is that worker’s compensation only applies towards injuries or conditions sustained as a direct result of work, while long-term disability may only qualify for non-work-related injuries.
Long-term disability may be offered by your employer, but you can purchase it directly from a broker if it isn’t. Coverage and a qualifying medical condition will provide you with monthly monetary benefits for years or even decades in the event that you become disabled. While rates vary, this number is often around 60% of your gross monthly income. This amount is not taxed.
How Do I File a Claim?
If you’re covered and are injured or become ill, you can file an LDT claim. You’ll need to provide information about your condition, your medical history, and your occupation. You’ll likely also need to provide documentation from your physician regarding your diagnosis and prognosis. If you’re not approved, you will either be denied or asked for more information.
If you’re approved, you may still need to wait through an elimination period, typically 90 days. This elimination period is to ensure that you indeed have a long-term disability. Once you have completed this period and submitted any doctor recommendations that may be required, you can begin to receive benefits. Remember that until your benefits begin, you’ll be paying out-of-pocket for bills or treatment.
The claims process varies from insurer to insurer, so be sure you understand the process for your policy ahead of time. If you are not able to receive LTD benefits, you may still qualify for short-term disability or worker’s compensation.
What Conditions Qualify?
There are a wide variety of injuries and illnesses that are covered by LTD insurance. Many of these are common in mild forms, so remember that you’ll need to suffer from an inability to work to qualify for long-term disability. The following are some of the most regularly cited conditions used for LTD, though this is not a complete list.
- Musculoskeletal disease
- Degenerative diseases
- Back injuries
- Multiple sclerosis
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Anorexia, bulimia, or OFSED
- Sleep disorder
There are many other conditions that may qualify you for LTD coverage. Speak with your agent for more information about what your policy does or does not cover, and how you can best ensure you qualify.
What Is a Long-Term Disability Lawyer?
Unfortunately, getting approved for an LTD claim isn’t always simple, which is why disability attorneys are often vital to the process. While you shouldn’t have to worry about money when you’re injured or ill, the truth is that insurance companies will often try to avoid paying your monthly benefits if they can.
The burden of proof is on the insurance company, which means they may require you to jump through hoops to receive your benefits. You may need to supply extensive medical records, lab test results, doctor’s notes, and other items related to your condition.
In some cases, insurance companies may misclassify your illness so that you don’t qualify. Insurers may also not understand the full scope of your condition and how it impacts your ability to work, leading to claim denial.
If you feel you aren’t receiving the benefits you should be or are being strung along by your insurer, a disability lawyer may be key in helping you get the money you need. When claims get complicated, an active and experienced LTD attorney can be the most important part of the process.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
You can’t predict injury or illness, so long-term disability insurance can be one of the most important policies you pursue. The first step to receiving your benefits is understanding how LTD works and what conditions qualify.
While this coverage can be a lifeline, insurance companies often try to avoid paying it. When you need assistance during a difficult time, Herman Law is here to fight for you and your family.
Need a long-term disability lawyer? Contact us today to get the benefits you deserve.