Disability and ERISA Claims
While the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects workers’ access to retirement and disability benefits, it can often be challenging to collect the benefits you need. At Patricia S. Bellac Law Firm, we handle complex ERISA and both short-term and long-term disability claims for clients throughout Colorado. We can help make sure you get what you need to move forward.
Many employees who participated in ERISA retirement and pension plans have worked for companies that have been acquired or merged, possibly have had life changing events, or have sadly been denied monetary claims. The Patricia S. Bellac Law Firm, can help. With years of ERISA and at times other applicable Federal and Colorado law experience we get results.
Disability disorders such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and other “invisible” long-term disabilities leave many people unable to work and struggling financially. The hardships they face may be at least partially remedied by long-term disability ERISA plan benefits collected from an employer’s or private insurance policy.
Consider These Key Issues in Your Disability Claim
When filing a claim and attempting to recover long-term disability benefits, it is important to consider the following:
- Disabilities may be classified/defined differently according to your employer’s insurance policy. Some policies declare people disabled if they can no longer perform any occupation. Others only declare you disabled if you can no longer perform your own occupation. The policy may outline a change in definition after a certain period of time. These details can influence whether or not you are eligible for benefits and how long those benefits will last.
- How long you receive benefits will depend upon your individual policy. In some cases, policies offer benefits until retirement. In others, you may only be able to collect for a certain number of years — whatever the policy terms dictate.
- Long-term disability benefits supply a portion of your former salary — not the whole thing. Be prepared for certain financial limitations. When you collect long-term disability benefits, you typically receive around 60 percent of your salary. Short-term disability benefits may provide a little more. This varies from policy to policy.
- Insurance companies are not eager to pay out benefits, so they will make every effort to deny your claim. You cannot risk giving insurance providers the ammunition to deny your claim. Your medical records play a crucial role in justifying your claim, as does your behavior outside of work. Some insurance companies have even been known to use friendly interview techniques to record you seemingly countering your claim as well as even undercover surveillance of claimants to demonstrate your physical condition. These details matter, so make sure to protect your potential for benefit recovery.
- If you are denied benefits, you must submit new evidence in the administrative appeal phase or you will be barred from later presenting that evidence in court. Benefits are often denied despite ongoing disability, due to lack of “objective medical evidence.” ERISA and many other policies do not allow the introduction of new evidence after the appeal phase.
Patricia S. Bellac Law Firm can help ensure your claim is thorough and ready for filing, minimizing the chance of claim denial and, if already denied, improving your chances for a successful appeal and beyond. Now may be the time to speak to an attorney at Patricia S. Bellac Law Firm in Boulder, Colorado about your claims.
Disclaimer: No attorney client relationship is formed by submitting a contact form, or by my response, or by any way other than entering into a written representation agreement that I sign and the client signs. I do not represent a potential client, and will take no action on their behalf, until we have a signed agreement.