In a matter of seconds, a perfectly healthy person can become disabled. A car crash, slip and fall accident, dog bite, or other types of injury can temporarily or permanently impact every aspect of an accident victim’s life.
A long term disability typically lasts one year or longer. It can be a chronic medical condition that has worsened over time, such as asthma, anxiety, cancer, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, or seizures. It can also be a serious injury from a car accident or other situation. An amputation, back injury, brain injury, paralysis, or nerve disorder can cause someone to be disabled for an extended period of time. A disability that lasts less than one year is typically considered a short-term disability.
So, what happens in these cases? Many employers carry disability coverage for their employees. If you are self-employed, you may have your own disability plan to cover medical expenses in the event of an accident. These plans are typically covered by a federal law called the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).
ERISA was implemented in 1974 to provide protection for participants of employer-sponsored benefit plans. ERISA holds plan administrators accountable for their actions and ensures that your funds are available to you when needed.
However, this does not mean that ERISA will cover your disability claim. There are many things you should consider when determining whether or not to file an ERISA claim.
Disability policies vary from one plan to another. Therefore, one thing you should consider is your plan’s definition of disability. It can be broad, though most of the time, the definitions are quite narrow. For example, disability may be defined as the inability to perform the duties of your usual occupation. After a few years, this definition may change to “any occupation.” Therefore, it is not uncommon for those who are disabled to suddenly lose their benefits after two years or so because they are no longer eligible.
It is also important to understand that a waiting period will apply. This period ranges from 90-180 days. During this time, you can receive short-term benefits or elect to use your vacation time.
When you apply for long term disability benefits, the insurance company will want to know your every move. They want to find any reason to deny your claim, so be prepared for investigators stalking you or following you while you are running errands. Be sure you are following doctor’s orders during this time. You do not want to hurt yourself or damage your claim.
Although ERISA is supposed to protect employees, disability insurance policies tend to favor the insurers. If you have been disabled due to an injury, you may not receive the benefits you deserve.
If your valid disability claim has been denied, it is time to contact a Lafayette long term disability lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara. He knows ERISA claims inside and out and is ready to represent you. He can help you understand your options. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.
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