Although you hope to never need disability insurance, it is always a good idea to have. Disability benefits can provide for partial income if you are unable to work due to a physical injury or illness for an extended period of time.
If you have disability insurance through your employer or have purchased a policy through a private company, your benefits more than likely are governed by ERISA. This means the insurance company must adhere to federal standards and provisions set forth to protect those they insure. However, many people have problems accessing their ERISA disability benefits when they need them. If you are one of these people, you may be able to access your benefits with the help of a disability attorney.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is a law enacted to regulate employee benefit plans. It widened the scope of information available to the insured including plan descriptions and annual financial reports.
ERISA was intended to help employees increase their awareness of abuse or mismanagement of their funds. ERISA plan participants must be notified about how to file a claim and any significant changes to their plans. In addition, ERISA has specific standards for the filing and appealing of claims.
Although benefit plans are mandated to supply certain pieces of information to their participants, they are not required to give employees specific benefits or any benefits at all. Many employers voluntarily choose to provide benefits to their employees to make employment seem more attractive but the disability benefits an employer offers are at their discretion.
Common ERISA disability benefits are usually based on the pre-disability earnings of the insured. Most of the time only monthly wages are considered to determine the amount, although, some companies may also factor in bonuses, commissions, and overtime. In most cases, disability pays around 50 to 75 percent of the pre-disability salary. Additionally, some disability plans include a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) which can increase disability benefits between one percent and three percent each year.
Employers commonly pay disability premiums with pre-tax money. While each plan can differ in how taxes on disability earnings are paid, most of the plans are set up so that plan participants pay taxes on their benefits when they are received, just as they do their regular paychecks. For more information about the taxes on ERISA disability benefits, reach out to a seasoned lawyer.
If you have questions about your ERISA disability benefits, a claim denial, or how to file a claim, contact a knowledgeable disability attorney for help. They know that when an insured employee needs to access their disability benefits they are more than likely experiencing a lot of stress and possibly physical pain.
A compassionate attorney strives to make the disability claims process easier and less confusing for you. Call today to learn more about how a skilled attorney can help you with your ERISA disability claims.
Following graduation from Loyola Law School in New Orleans in 1990, Price McNamara served as a Federal Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable John M Shaw, Chief Judge, United States District Court Western District of Louisiana.
Mr. McNamara founded the Law Offices of J. Price McNamara, and began putting his past experience to work for the injured and disabled clients he now represents against the insurance companies in personal injury and long term disability and other insurance disputes in both federal and state courts