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What to expect when applying for long-term disability benefits

by | Mar 1, 2023 | Long-Term Disability

Long-term disability benefits are a common inclusion in professional compensation packages. Employers offer staff members disability insurance in addition to health coverage and paid time off to supplement their base wages. There are also some adults who invest in their own long-term disability coverage either to complement what their employers provide or because they don’t have such coverage available through their employer.

Long-term disability benefits can help replace someone’s wages so that they can cover their basic expenses while adjusting to life after suffering a truly consequential injury or medical diagnosis.

Here are a few things that applicants can expect when they request benefits because of a long-term disability.

Complicated paperwork

Applicants will have to properly complete special forms provided by their insurance company. Small errors on insurance claim paperwork can lead to significant delays in the benefits process. Individuals will typically also need medical documentation supporting their claim of a significant medical disability that prevents them from maintaining gainful employment.

Applicants may need to submit a written statement discussing how the injury occurred or how a medical condition affects that worker. Their employer may also need to provide a statement if it is a job-related policy or if the company has determined it cannot accommodate the workers’ limitations. Often, there will be a specific form for the physician overseeing the applicant’s care to fill out, which can be a crucial supplement to any medical records provided by the applicant.

Once all of the appropriate paperwork is complete, applicants then wait for the company to make a determination.

Pushback from insurance providers

Long-term disability claims are expensive for insurance companies, and they will often delay and deny benefits over the smallest of mistakes and technicalities. Applicants should prepare themselves for potential delays and familiarize themselves with their right to appeal unfavorable decisions.

Even when the company declines someone’s initial claim, they will usually still have the option of requesting a secondary review. The appeals process, like the application process, often involves gathering documentation and filling out paperwork carefully.

It can be difficult for those already struggling with a debilitating medical condition to try to handle complex paperwork and what can seem like an adversarial process with an insurance company. Connecting with professional legal support can often streamline the process and remove the pressure on the applicant who is in need of long-term disability benefits and whose energy is better spent taking care of themselves instead of going round and round trying to get access to the benefits they deserve and are entitled to.