Many employers offer retirement and disability plans that are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. Also known as ERISA, this act offers protections for the plan participants. Participants are often employees of a company.
Disability is something for which every employee should be prepared. Every year, 375,000 Americans become disabled. It can happen to anyone of any age.
You may not think about your employer’s plans until a life event happens and you really need to use them. If you become suddenly disabled, you may assume that your claim will be quickly approved and you will soon receive the benefits you deserve. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Even if you submit your claim timely and correctly, it will likely be denied. Even though ERISA is in place to protect you, the plan participant, it more often than not sides with the insurer. This means that those who are truly disabled and unable to work are left without income.
This can be a frustrating situation. You could be left unable to pay bills. You may lose your house, car, and other assets. What happens now?
Do not simply ignore the denial. You do have options. Under ERISA, you have the right to file an appeal if your claim is denied. You have 180 days to appeal the claim, which may seem like a lot of time. It is six months.
However, filing an appeal against an ERISA plan can be complicated. Do not do it on your own. Schedule a consultation with an experienced ERISA lawyer today to increase your chances of success.
ERISA disability appeals can be more challenging than other types of appeals. First of all, judges are likely to rule against the claimant. This is because cases are heard by a judge. There is no jury involved, so you will not have peers who will feel sorry for you or side with your story.
Also, under ERISA, plan administrators are offered “discretion.” This term is used broadly and is often synonymous with “denial.”Another thing to consider is that if the person does win, he or she will not win any extra compensation. For example, attorneys’ fees and punitive damages are typically not available with ERISA claims. Therefore, if you want to pursue a claim, you will be paying the costs on your own. This can be a deterrent, even though many ERISA lawyers work on contingency.
Unfortunately, the disability claims process can be frustrating, adding insult to injury. If your claim has been denied for no good reason, do not give up. You may think there are no other options available, but there are.
Do not be afraid to appeal your disability claim. The appeals process is not that hard when you seek legal help. A Charlotte ERISA lawyer from the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara can help you with your appeal. He will fight for your rights. To schedule a free consultation, contact our office today.
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