One of the best things you can do when pursuing a long term disability (LTD) claim is to be proactive in your approach with your long term disability insurer. That can mean a lot of things, so we wanted to lay out for you five very specific things you can do to stay proactive when filing your LTD benefits claim. Keep in mind, though, this may not be enough, and if that is the case, reach out to Roy Law. We will provide you with excellent advice on what your options are and how you should proceed.
Now, here are five ways that you can stay in step with, and ahead of, your long term disability (LTD) insurer as you pursue your LTD claim.
Submit Your Long Term Disability Claim
First and foremost, submit your claim as soon as is practical. Most claims give you a window of 60 days to file for your benefits after your injury. You do not want to miss this deadline. It is better to file for your benefits and communicate additional information as necessary than to not have filed for them within the filing period defined by your policy in the first place. For more on that, here’s a great piece on timelines involved in long-term disability claims.
As a matter of fact, it is common for long term disability insurers to delay their determination on initial claims to collect additional information. In reality, several pieces of the initial application might be hard to obtain promptly. And while you probably do not want a delay, whether you or your insurer cause it, it is better than not getting the benefits you have paid for at all.
Keep Track of Your Communication
Communication with your long term disability insurance provider could take place over the phone, through the mail, through email, or potentially through other means. However you are communicating with your insurer about your claim, keep detailed notes.
For phone calls, keep a phone log. Mark down the time you received the phone call (or made the phone call), with whom you spoke, a description of the conversation(s), and action items that came from the conversations.
For emails, create a special folder to keep track of the emails. Alternatively, physically print them out and keep them in a file, if that is easier. Regardless, develop a consistent system for keeping track of the exchanges.
And, for other forms of communication, be detailed, and do your best to capture the who, what, when, where, why of the conversations.
Keeping track of all these discussions will help you to be able to communicate the details of your claim to a long term disability benefits lawyer if you need to retain one. Moreover, it will help you keep the story of your LTD claim straight in your mind when asked about important details.
Gather Your Medical Records
Ideally, you will gather these ahead of filing your long term disability claim, or along with it. Obviously, the injury you are filing your claim because of is of high importance. However, other records may also come into play. For instance, if you have a behavioral health challenge, it will make sense to seek out historical documents on the condition, since your behavioral health barriers likely didn’t manifest in the week before you filed your LTD claim. Whereas a physical injury to your back will not, likely, require your dental records from ten years ago.
The main point here is to get your medical records together in one place. Then make copies, or even get them digitized so that you can provide digital (.PDF) copies to your LTD insurance company or LTD attorney. One last note, obtain and keep records for any new medical attention you require or appointments you attend after you file your LTD claim. They very well may also play a part in obtaining your benefits.
Read Your Long Term Disability Insurance Policy
If you do not already have a copy of your insurance policy, get one as soon as possible. If a policy covers you through your company benefits plan, your Human Resources representative should be able to provide you with this information.
Once you have your LTD policy in hand, you will want to familiarize yourself with the timelines you are required to meet. As well as the timelines your insurer is required to meet. The policy will cover your rights to appeal, and how to proceed if your administrative appeals are denied.
You will also want to have your policy ready to provide to a long term disability insurance attorney if that becomes necessary.
Do Not Be Afraid to Disagree With a Bad Determination
Great claims get turned down for a variety of reasons. Many of these reasons are easily corrected, but some require significant intervention. Up front, with a letter of denial in your hand, you likely will not know whether the issue is easy to correct or will require legal assistance. In that situation, let your insurer know that you disagree with the determination. You are, after all, unable to work because of your condition and this is precisely that situation for which the LTD policy was created to help you.
Remember this; it is OK to appeal an incorrect determination. It happens, a lot, too often in fact. With help, attention to detail, patience, and persistence, you can get your long term disability claim approved.