Long-Term Disability and ERISA Claims
Disorders such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disorders, traumatic brain injury, 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 benefits collected from an employer’s insurance policy.
While the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects workers’ access to long-term disability benefits, it can often be challenging to collect the benefits you need. At Patricia S. Bellac Law Firm, we handle complex ERISA and long-term disability claims for clients with a variety of disabilities throughout Boulder, Colorado, and the surrounding areas. We can help make sure you get what you need to move forward.
Contact an ERISA attorney at our office in Boulder online to arrange a consultation. We can also be reached by telephone at (303) 442-5111.
Consider These Key Issues in Your Disability and ERISA 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 may 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 undercover surveillance of claimants to demonstrate their physical condition. If your doctor tells you to not lift more than 10 pounds, you do not want to be seen performing yard work around your house. 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.” Patricia S. Bellac Law Firm provides assistance in gathering the evidence you will need to present in your appeal to the insurance company, and in presenting that evidence in the appeal phase and beyond.
Our 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.