Our Pennsylvania Disability Attorneys Can Help You Recover the Disability Benefits You Need
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), nearly 24 percent of adults in Pennsylvania have some type of disability. These disabilities vary, but they can range from difficulty concentrating to serious difficulty walking. If you are a veteran or purchased disability insurance, you would expect to get the disability benefits needed to help. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to get the benefits you deserve.
At Tucker Law Group, our nationally recognized firm helps individuals get disability benefits from the government and insurance companies. We recommend that you discuss your situation with one of our Pennsylvania disability attorneys during a free consultation.
How We Help
Disability Insurance Claims
Employer or Group Disability Insurance
The federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) likely governs your disability insurance if you purchased it through your employer. ERISA provides rules that employers must follow if they offer certain employee benefits.
Our disability lawyers in Pennsylvania handle ERISA claims, appeals and lawsuits across the nation. We can help you from the very beginning of your disability insurance claims process.
Individual Disability Insurance
Did you have an individual or private disability insurance plan? If this is the case, then ERISA does not apply to your plan. Instead, Pennsylvania insurance laws apply. In addition, the details of your insurance policy may apply. Your insurance policy may determine how you file a disability insurance claim, appeal a denied claim and litigate if needed.
Understanding the Disability Insurance Claim Process
Below, our attorneys outline the disability insurance claim process. It is important to note that the claim process differs depending on whether you have an individual or employer policy.
If you are beginning the process or appealing a denied claim, reach out to our Pennsylvania disability attorneys. We help individuals all over the country and we may be able to help you.
File Your Initial Disability Insurance Claim
First, you must file your initial disability insurance claim. Discuss your specific situation with a lawyer before you file. An attorney can help you gather evidence to build a strong claim. In addition, an attorney can make sure you have everything you need for the initial claim and that it gets filed appropriately.
Insurance Company Investigation
After you file your claim, the insurance company will investigate it. Your insurance company may ask you to answer additional questions about your disability. They may even ask you to participate in a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). The insurance company uses an FCE to evaluate your limitations and restrictions. Unfortunately, they may also use it to undervalue or deny your claim.
After investigating your claim, the insurance company will either grant or deny your disability insurance benefits. If your claim is granted, then your disability insurance benefits should begin. However, if the insurance company denies your benefits, then you will have to file an appeal.
Appeal and Litigate Your Denied Disability Insurance Claim
If your insurer denied your disability insurance benefits, then you can appeal it. Your appeal depends on whether you have individual disability insurance or an employer or group plan.
If you have an ERISA plan, then you generally have 180 days to appeal a denied claim. You should have an experienced disability insurance attorney represent you during the appeals process and litigation process. Under ERISA:
- You cannot introduce new or additional evidence if your case goes to trial
- You cannot use witness or expert testimony in court
- There will not be a jury in court
The court will use the evidence from your initial claim and your appeal to make a decision about your disability insurance benefits.
Under an individual plan, you may be able to skip the appeals process and file a lawsuit. Your policy will outline whether you must file an appeal first. It may also limit how long you have to file your appeal. Our Pennsylvania disability attorneys can help you understand your options based on your policy.
If you believe your claim denial is an issue of bad faith, then you may also have a valid claim to file a bad faith lawsuit against your insurance company. In Pennsylvania, you can either bring a statutory bad faith claim or a breach of contract claim against your insurance company for bad faith.
Unlike an ERISA policy, if your individual disability insurance case goes to court, there will be a jury. You can also introduce new evidence to your case and use witness testimony.
VA Disability in Pennsylvania
If you are a veteran that needs disability benefits, there is a system in place to help you get them. However, you should begin the process of obtaining benefits as soon as you can. The claims process can take time and it may require multiple appeals.
Pennsylvania VA State Resources
How to Get VA Disability Benefits in Pennsylvania
First, you must file a service-connected disability claim with the VA. You can file a VA claim in the following ways:
For a successful claim, you generally must:
- Provide proof that you served
- Provide a diagnosis of disability from a medical professional
- Have a disability rating from the VA for a service-connected disability
- Show medical proof that your service brought about or worsened your disability
It is important to note that a lawyer cannot help you file your initial VA claim. However, if the government denies your claim, then you should contact a lawyer before you appeal. Our Pennsylvania disability attorneys can help you through the appeals process.
Depending on the date of your claim decision, you may have several options available to you. If the VA denied your claim before February 19, 2019, you must begin the appeals process by filing a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with the VA. If the VA denied your claim after February 19, 2019, then you have three different appeals options to choose from. Consulting an experienced VA disability attorney before you choose what appeal process to pursue is in your best interests.
Tucker Law Group can also help you with the following for your VA claim appeal:
- Review your claim file
- Gather necessary evidence for your claim
- File an appeal on your behalf
- Monitor your appeal
- Represent you in all further proceedings
Cities We Serve in Pennsylvania
Tucker Law Group represents clients throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. Our Pennsylvania disability lawyers serve clients in the following cities:
- Wilkes Barre
Contact Our Pennsylvania Disability Attorneys Today
Do you need help obtaining disability insurance benefits or VA benefits in Pennsylvania? Contact Tucker Law Group to discuss your situation. We can help you understand your best legal options and determine whether we can help you obtain the benefits you need and deserve.