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You Should Work with Disability Attorneys Who Know ERISA

You Should Work with Disability Attorneys Who Know ERISA


When you considered filing a Long-Term Disability claim, you likely did not think to consult with any disability attorneys beforehand. Why should you have? The application process seems straightforward, and the disability benefit is something you have paid for, and due to your illness or injury, are warranted in claiming.

If you are facing a denial or delay of your claim it is an excellent time to consider retaining a disability attorney. Specifically, in an appeal to your Long-Term Disability claim you should be evaluating disability attorneys who specialize in ERISA law.


What is ERISA?

ERISA is the Employment Retirement Income Security Act. You can read more about it here, but here are the basics of what you need to know for this article.

ERISA is a federal law that sets minimum standards for employee benefit plans provided by employers. Within this scope, ERISA applies to employer-provided Long-Term Disability policies.

ERISA requires that insurers create and follow a grievance and appeals process, that meets the minimum standards defined in 29 CFR 2560.503-1.


ERISA Disability Attorneys And Overcoming Adverse Benefits Determinations

If ERISA regulates your long-term disability policy, you need to talk to an ERISA disability attorney. Here are several reasons why.


Even One Missed Timeline Will Bury Your Appeal

Easily one of the most fundamental benefits of working with disability attorneys who know ERISA is that they will not miss crucial deadlines in your appeal. There are strict guidelines and timeframes when filing an appeal. Unless you are aware of your rights and responsibilities at each stage of your claim, you might miss one of these timelines without even realizing it.

ERISA policies are not like other disability benefits. Disability attorneys that do not specialize in ERISA law might not understand both the basic timeline requirements and how to develop an effective strategy that works within the applicable regulations.


ERISA Disability Attorneys Will Understand the Strategy For Overcoming Denials

In an excellent LTD appeal, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work going on, including collecting evidence, filling out extensive questionnaires, and requesting information from the insurance company.

As discussed, there are stringent deadlines when it comes to an ERISA Long-Term Disability (LTD) claim appeal. You have just 180 days to appeal your denial, which may seem like a lot of time, but each step in preparing a thorough and well planned appeal needs to be balanced against that deadline. All of these factors will affect the strategy you or your ERISA attorney will pursue to overcome your adverse benefits determination.


ERISA Disability Attorneys Specialize in Overcoming Insurance Company Denials

We mentioned there are different types of disability law, and lawyers that specialize in them. The reason for re-stating this important point is that if you are in a place where you need help, you should go to the person who specializes in the exact type of help you need. In this case, you should talk to disability attorneys who know ERISA backward and forward. You want a disability attorney that will be able to understand immediately the issues surrounding your denial and be able to give you good feedback as well as an idea of how they would pursue your appeal on your behalf.

Experienced ERISA disability attorneys will be able to grasp the nature of the necessary appeal and quickly develop the strategy for overcoming the denial. However, they will only be able to do this for you if they have experience in fighting insurance companies.

To be clear, you want disability attorneys who have experience fighting United of Omaha, Principal Life Insurance, UNUM, Reliance, Sun Life, MetLife, Liberty Mutual, Cigna, and so many more.


Additional Information

Health Plans & Benefits: ERISA

Principal Owes Disability Benefits Despite LinkedIn Posts


About the Author
In 1998, Chris obtained his law degree from the University of Oregon, and in 1999, he accepted his first job as an attorney with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. In 2000, Chris entered a private litigation practice in Vancouver, Washington. In private practice, Chris litigated a variety matters including administrative, criminal, real estate, construction, business, and insurance.