Our Nationally Recognized ERISA Attorneys Help Clients Across the United States
Thousands of people in the United States become disabled every year due to an illness or injury. If you are receiving disability insurance from your employer, you may be able to seek disability benefits under the protection of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
Understanding ERISA and disability law is an important component in collecting the benefits you need. That is why it is important to contact an ERISA attorney at Tucker Law Group as early in your claim process as possible. When seeking disability benefits, we can use our experience to help you understand the process and collect the benefits you deserve.
What Is ERISA?
ERISA is a federal law that protects the interests of employee benefit plans and their participants. ERISA covers more than 684,000 retirement plans, 2.4 million health plans and 2.4 million additional benefit plans.
Since people receive insurance plans from their employer, ERISA has a major impact on long-term and short-term disability claims.
When filing an ERISA claim, there are many complex procedures that claimants must follow to have their claims approved. Before filing an ERISA claim, it is important to understand the steps associated with this legal process.
The Initial Claim
Filing an ERISA claim is the first step towards collecting long term disability benefits. Disabled claimants must complete a series of forms. In addition, your employer and the attending physician must also complete several forms. As the claimant, you must grant the insurer the ability to gather medical records as needed.
Insurance Company Investigation
Once you submit your claim, the insurance company will need to investigate. This involves reviewing evidence of your disability, including:
- Claim forms
- Medical records
- Pharmacy records
- Financial records
- Attending physician statements
Based on the investigation, the claims administrator will either approve or deny claim. This process takes between one and four months to complete. Unfortunately, claims administrators routinely deny disability claims, even when there is clear evidence of disability. As such, it is important to appeal all claim denials after consulting with your ERISA lawyer.
The Appeals Process
If an employee is denied disability insurance benefits, then ERISA law takes over. The law requires the insurance plan to provide individuals with certain information after a denial. This includes copies of documents, records and any information that is relevant to the claim for benefits. ERISA then allows up to 180 days for claimants to file an appeal.
Filing an appeal is critical to the success of a disability insurance claim. If you miss your filing deadline, then you will lose the right to receive your disability insurance benefits. An experienced ERISA attorney can help you through the appeals process and ensure that you do not miss any critical deadlines.
Once the disability insurance plan receives your appeal, they must make a determination within 45 days. However, the insurance company can get two 30-day automatic extensions. Unfortunately, all the disability insurance company has to do is send you a letter in order to get their automatic extension.
If you lose your appeal, then ERISA will allow you to file a lawsuit. If you have not already contacted an ERISA lawyer, then you should do so immediately before losing your chance to collect disability benefits.
Filing a Lawsuit
Since ERISA is a federal law, your lawyer will file your ERISA lawsuit in federal court. It is important to know that ERISA disability claimants are not allowed to seek bad faith damages or pain and suffering.
When filing a lawsuit, the federal court will only review the evidence submitted by your attorney during the appeals process. This further explains why it is crucial to have an experienced ERISA attorney on your side throughout each phase of your disability insurance appeal.
Your ERISA lawyer will have your best interests in mind when representing you during the disability appeals and lawsuit process. Without an attorney, you may be unable to collect disability benefits that you need and deserve.
Contact Our ERISA Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation
If you have questions about ERISA law, disability insurance law or obtaining benefits, then it is important to speak to an experienced ERISA attorney today. Your attorney will be able to help you every step of the way, from filing the initial claim to filing a lawsuit.
At Tucker Law Group, our ERISA lawyers know how to obtain disability insurance benefits for our clients. We look forward to helping you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact our ERISA law firm for help today at (866) 233-5044 or schedule a free initial consultation. Our experienced attorneys handle ERISA insurance cases nationwide.