What would happen if you could no longer work due to a disability? Would you still be able to afford your daily expenses without the security of a paycheck?
You could if you had a long-term disability policy in place. Many employers have them for employees who are injured in or out of the workplace. In the event that you would become disabled, you would be entitled to a portion of your salary.
Even if you do have a policy in place, there are no guarantees. Insurance companies are only looking out for their own best interests. They do not really care about your injuries. They just want to save money, so they hand out denials, even for claims that appear to be valid.
This is happening even with laws in place to protect customers. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act sets minimum standards for plan administrators. They have many responsibilities to their customers. For those who are denied benefits, there must be an appeals process in place as well as the right to sue for benefits.
Despite these requirements, getting long-term disability benefits is no easy task. Each policy has its own definition of disability, which can complicate the process further.
There are many medical conditions that can lead to long-term disability claims. Musculoskeletal disorders are the top cause of disability, making up 28.6% of new claims. Cancer is second on the list, with just over 15% of new claims. Injuries make up 10.3% of claims. Heart and circulation issues comprise 8.7% of new claims. Next are nervous system disorders (7.7%) and pregnancy (5.9%).
It is important to understand what constitutes a disability. Some policies will pay if you can not perform the major duties of your own occupation. Some are a bit broader and will only pay if you can not perform the duties of any occupation for which you are qualified to work based on your education and experience. Some combine these features for a specific period of time.
The amount you are paid also varies. Most policies will pay 50-60% of your income, while others will pay up to 80%. Bonuses and commissions are typically not paid under long-term disability policies.
Taxes also vary. If you pay for your own policy, you are not subject to taxes, but you will have to pay taxes if your policy if paid by an employer.
No two disability policies are alike. Each policy has its own features, and they each define disability in a different way. Even if you think you are disabled, your insurer may think otherwise. Even with ERISA in place, claims still get denied regularly.
A disability can affect your life in numerous ways and it is important that you receive the benefits you deserve. Contact a Fort Worth long-term disability lawyer from the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara for help. He has experience representing insurance companies, but now he is looking out for your best interests. He understands the ins and outs of the insurance industry. Contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
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