Disability insurance benefits help individuals who sustain injuries, diseases, or serious health conditions that prevent them from returning to work. The severity and nature of a medical problem will influence the duration of time someone remains unable to work. Long term disability provides income replacement for disabled individuals over an extended period of time. However, securing this kind of benefit is sometimes difficult to do. Preparing a strong claim upon your initial filing will help improve your chances. Our attorneys discuss how to apply for long term disability benefits below.
How to Apply for Your Long Term Disability Insurance Benefits
1. Determine what kind of disability insurance policy you have. The kind of policy you have will affect the filing process. A plan purchased or provided through your employer or a union is subject to ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA is a federal law that regulates employee benefits and it affects all aspects of the claims process. On the other hand, individually purchased policies are not subject to ERISA because they are not linked to an employer. Individual policies are governed by the law of the state where the policy was delivered (unless the policy terms require another state’s law to apply).
2. Understand the terms of your policy. Before filing your claim, read the complete terms of your employer’s group plan/policy or your private policy. It is important to understand what your policy covers and how to meet your policy’s requirements in your initial claim. If you do not have a copy of your plan or policyalready, you can request one from your plan administrator, employer, or the insurance company that issued your individual policy.
3. Fill out your disability insurance benefits application. If you trying to understand how to apply for your long term disability insurance benefits, learning how to complete your forms in full will play a key role. Generally, you will want to leave nothing blank on your application. Some of the most common information required of you may include your:
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Home address and phone number
- Names of family members
- Occupational role and duties
- Work history
- Educational history
- Beginning date of your injury or illness
- Last date worked
- Cause of disability
- All medical providers and their contact information
- Prescribed medications
- Other forms of income that you might be eligible for
You should also expect to be required to explain why your disabling conditions(s) prevent you from working. This can be one of the most difficult parts of applying for disability insurance benefits, and how complete and detailed your answer is may impact whether you get approved or denied.
4. Obtain your employer’s statement and your doctor’s statement. Your employer and your physician will also need to fill out forms for your long term disability application. Your employer will report basic information about your role as an employee. This information will include things like:
- Date hired
- Effective date of your insurance policy
- Earnings and rate of pay
- Last day of work
- Title of your occupational role
- Job duties
- Mental and physical demands of your job
Your doctor’s statements will also play a key role in securing your benefits. Your insurance provider will rely on these statements when evaluating your claim. This part of your application will ask your doctor to record:
- Your diagnoses
- Signs and symptoms of your medical condition
- Whether your condition is work related
- Dates and types of treatment for your condition
- Any referrals
- Your physical or mental limitations
- When they expect you to be able to return to work
- A detailed list of your restrictions and limitations in terms of your ability to life, push/pull, sit, stand, bend, speak, focus, concentrate, etc.
KEY POINT: A statement for your doctor on their prescription pad that says “Off Work” or “Disabled” is worthless. You need your doctor to explain why you cannot work.
5. Submit any other supporting evidence for your claim. A well-kept secret for how to get long term disability approved involves submitting extra evidence. You can and should submit anything you will strengthen your case. Having supplementary information in your claim may also cut your waiting time to receive a decision.An experienced long term disability attorney can help you gather and submit the evidence you need to strengthen your claim. If you need help finding supporting evidence, speak to an attorney at our firm. We have over 50 years of combined experience in helping clients with disability claims.
Need Help Filing a Claim? Get in Touch With Our Long Term Disability Attorneys
Understanding how to apply for long term disability insurance is the first step in securing your benefits. However, the claim process can still be confusing and difficult to navigate. If you need help with your claim, contact our offices today. No matter where you are in the country, our law firm can help you. We provide counsel in all 50 states as our attorneys are licensed in Florida and many federal courts around the country.