Many employers offer long-term and/or short-term disability policies to their employees as part of their benefits package. Some employees, if even they know they have this coverage, think “this could come in handy some day.”
When that day comes, they often find their claims denied by the disability insurance company. First, they never expected to be in a situation to file a disability claim. And second, they certainly never expected their disability insurance coverage claims to be denied since this was part of their benefits package.
Our disability team will review your denial letter for FREE. Then, with no obligation and NO STRINGS ATTACHED, we’ll tell you our game plan for winning your case.
Mike Ritchie discusses long-term and short-term disability in this video. Check it out below.
What Is Long-Term and Short-Term Disability Insurance?
Disability Insurance, sometimes called long-term or short-term disability, is a benefit that some employers provide to their employees which is used to replace an employee’s income for a period of 3 to 6 months (short-term) or for longer periods (long-term). Some employers offer both short and long-term disability policies.
Long Term Disability vs Short Term
If you become disabled for a longer period of time, often the short-term policy will pay disability insurance benefits until the long-term policy kicks in. Depending on the policy, the income replacement can range from 60% to 80% of the amount of money you made before you became disabled. If you have a disabling condition and win your disability claim, you may be entitled to receive benefits until you reach retirement age.
Short Term Disability Denied. Now What?
If you receive a short term disability denial and then lose your short-term disability claim, this obviously means that your long-term claim is in jeopardy. You need a lawyer trained to handle these complex claims to help you prepare your case.
Some long-term and short-term disability policies are governed by ERISA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. These long term disability laws were enacted in 1974 to protect workers who have private health and pension plans. In addition to these health and pension plans, ERISA also regulates long-term and short-term disability plans. Specifically, ERISA governs how disability claims are processed, the timeline for processing a claim, and the rights of those who have been denied.
Many employers provide disability coverage to their employees. Some states require employers to provide disability coverage. Who provides the disability insurance, whether it is a private employer, governmental agency, or whether it is obtained by an individual for himself, may determine whether the policy is controlled by ERISA.
Most private companies that provide short-term or long-term disability insurance will be governed by ERISA. If a group disability plan is employer sponsored, usually that plan will be regulated by ERISA. On the other hand, a plan may not be controlled by ERISA if the employer makes no contributions to the disability insurance policy and participation is completely voluntary through payroll deductions or other means of payment. Additionally, employees of federal, state, and local governments have disability plans that are usually not covered by ERISA.
What Conditions Are Covered With Long and Short-Term Disability Policies?
Except for injuries sustained on the job or self-inflicted injuries, most conditions are covered under many disability insurance policies. Generally, disabling conditions which are commonly covered under such policies include heart disease, cancer, back injuries, as well as other severe conditions and injuries.
Frequently, disability applications which are denied may include diagnoses of pain related conditions where the level of pain can be somewhat subjective.
Many Virginia lawyers say they practice Social Security Disability law and will offer to take you case to win Social Security disability benefits. But, most of those lawyers don’t work with long-term disability or short-term disability insurance claims. Before you hire any lawyer to handle your long-term or short-term disability claim, you should ask if he or she has been trained in handling or has handled ERISA claims before. If that attorney can’t answer yes, he or she is probably not the right lawyer for you.
That’s what makes us different. At the Ritchie Law Firm, we have a team of lawyers who have been trained to handle the complexities of long term disability claims as well short-term disability. Sure, we also handle Social Security Disability cases. But, ERISA long term disability claims and short term disability cases are a different beast. And, we know how to handle them.
If you are searching for “short term disability lawyers near me,” “best disability attorney near me,” “disability lawyers near me” or other similar searches, be careful of the results that the search engine provides. If want your long term disability claim handled by a team of lawyers trained to handle this difficult area of the law that few lawyers know the first thing about, your search is over. Whatever stage of applying for benefits you are in, whether you haven’t yet applied or you’ve been denied, we are happy to help. We can even help if you live in states surrounding Virginia or West Virginia by associating with counsel local to the jurisdiction where you live.
When Should You Get Legal Advice?
We are frequently asked by people who call us, “when is the right time for me to get legal help with my long-term or short-term disability claim”? The best answer is that you should definitely get legal help from a long term disability lawyer experienced with ERISA long-term and short-term disability claims BEFORE you ever file a claim. Many times people have filed their claims and gone through all of the administrative process before they contact a lawyer. THIS IS THE WRONG APPROACH!
It is very important to understand that your window for appealing your case after a denial is very short. If you fail to correctly file your appeal, you can ruin your chances of getting benefits. If you handle your case on your own and later need to hire a lawyer to file suit to appeal your claim, the court reviews the contents of the insurance company’s file. When you handle your claim yourself, you will likely not know what information, medical records, and other documents should be filed to properly build the court record. However, you can bet the insurance company is going to know what documents are important to build their defense against paying your claim!
What Can We Do For You?
The Ritchie Law Firm offers a team of experienced disability insurance lawyers with a track record of success. How we can help you depends on where you are in the process. Here are a few examples of what we might be able to do for you:
- If you are thinking about applying for short-term or long-term disability benefits, you can talk to us. We will give you some advice about applying and help prepare you to talk to your doctors.
- If you’ve been denied benefits, you can send us denial letter and we will review it for you for free.
We can help in your long term disability fight with denials from both ERISA and non-ERISA (private) disability plans. Click here to give us some details about your case.
The Ritchie Law Firm has helped disability clients for nearly half a century. We are a long term disability insurance attorneys and temporary disability lawyer ready to help you win your disability insurance claim. Our long term disability rejection lawyer team will assist you in making the best decisions for your LTD benefits case. If your long term disability claim has been denied, you need an experienced long term disability attorney ready to do battle for you!
Contact us by phone at 800-277-6124 or by using our online contact form for information about short term disability attorney fees as well as long term disability attorney fees.
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Ritchie Law Firm serves all of Virginia, while helping clients in cities and surrounding areas of Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Staunton, and Winchester also serves clients in West Virginia, including Martinsburg, WV.