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Talking About Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim

Talking About Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim

You probably never intended to be in a situation where you were filing for long-term disability benefits. If you are like most people working through these processes, your outlook and emotional perspectives change from day to day depending on your injuries, illnesses, and of course the responses of your long term disability insurance carrier.

One of the most important, and yet overlooked, aspects of filing for long term disability is learning how to effectively communicate the details of your claim to your family, your medical providers, and if necessary to your long term disability insurance lawyer. Here are some tips to help you out with these situations and conversations.

Talking to Your Family About Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim

Family can either be your most valuable ally or your own Achilles heel in claims for disabilities. Their opinion on your claim for benefits often matters a great deal, and while most are supportive, it is not rare that there is a feeling of judgment or at the very least lack of understanding regarding the details of your particular situation. Your family may not have any impact on the details of your claim; however, they usually have a notable effect on decisions to continue fighting denied claims.

We could spend lots of time going through all of the likely family dynamics that might influence your actions, but that would be a very long blog article! Instead, here are some simple pieces of advice that will help you as you continue to pursue an appeal to your disability insurance denial.

1) Be honest; you do not know who may eventually be involved as a witness if your claim ends up going past the administrative appeals level. Misleading your family about your situation and your limitations may end up working against you in the long run, even if it helps to save your ego in the short term.

2) Ask for help when you honestly need it. The fact of the matter is, you may not be able to do everything you want to, on your own. It is ok to ask for help. In fact, start documenting exactly when and how you need help as well as from whom you need the help.

3) For your sanity, share the details of your long-term disability claim deliberately.  Understand that families will often find out in any eventuality through casual conversation. They will likely be curious; they will want to help. You may not be able to help them with either situation, but it will help you to understand these things in advance and plan for how you are going to respond to casual questions regarding your disability appeal. Keep in mind, that it may very well be that a statement from a family member is one of the most valuable submissions in your appeal.


Talking to Your Doctors About Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim

1) Seek treatment first, then ask for support in your disability claim. Remeber that the first time you see a doctor, they have no idea who you are. They are healing you or evaluating your health. Also, they are probably quite busy. If the first thing they know about you is that you are seeking a disability claim or an opinion on an appeal, it will influence their approach, and it will hamper their ability to see the full scope of your impairments.

If at all possible, wait ’till the third or fourth appointment to talk to your doctor about your disability claim and the impacts your injuries or illnesses have made on your ability to work. Frame it in the light that you want to get back to work, and that you need their opinion on how your current situation impairs you from being able to get back to work. You want your doctor to know that your priority is getting better, but your reality is that it will take time to do so. During this period, you need the long-term disability insurance benefits that you have already paid for.

2) Be honest about your injuries and remember to be completely open about your limitations. What caused your injury, how did it happen, where, when, and so on.  Moreover, how has your injury specifically impacted your life. Are you sleeping well, has your diet changed, can you remember things as well as you used to? Your conversation with your doctor should not be solely about what’s affecting you today; it should include all the ways that your injuries or illness have been affecting you and how you live your life as a result.

3) Make sure they are taking notes. It will not help anyone if your doctor listens intently to you, nods, and gives you a caring look, but doesn’t write down (or type) what it is you are saying to them. You are visiting a doctor to get better, but you also have a long-term disability claim on the hook, and their notes are very pertinent to the final decisions of your disability insurance carrier.

Sometimes it helps to bring written statements that goes over everything you are going to share with your doctor. Having a copy of how your disabling condition impacts you on a daily basis, written out ahead of time, will help your doctor to understand your particular situation. Also, it will assist them in entering your conditions and barriers into your charts.

4) Get a copy of the records of your visits. If for instance, you saw your doctor and they did not put something essential into the notes, that needs to to be corrected as soon as possible. If at all possible, before your disability insurance carrier evaluates the doctor’s notes. You need to make sure the insurance carrier is evaluating the most accurate medical charts possible when they are making their determination on your long-term disability claims and appeals.


Talking to an Attorney About Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim

1) Plan for how you are going to share your situation. You do not need to have a written out statement, just work on organizing your thoughts a little bit. Planning will help both you to remember what it is you are asking for and need, and it will help your potential disability insurance lawyer to ask great questions about your situation.

2) Give as much information as you can in your initial conversation. Let your potential disability insurance lawyer determine what is necessary information and what is not pertinent. They are the expert on beating disability insurance carrier denials, so they are probably already working on a strategy as you tell them your story!

3) Be honest, even if it is embarrassing. Your potential disability insurance attorney can only help you if you share everything about your claim with them. If you are hiding something, or afraid to let it out, it will come out eventually. To that point, they cannot share your details without your permission.  So consider this, the best advice they can give you is the advice that is most informed.

4) Ask questions. How much does retaining a disability insurance attorney cost? How long have you been doing disability insurance appeals? What can you expect from a claim like this?

Write a list of questions if you need to. You are going to be putting your disability insurance appeal into their hands; you want to make sure you get the best representation possible. You also want to ensure you trust, and like, the attorney you are working with. There’s no better way to figure this out than to start asking questions and see how your potential disability insurance lawyer responds.


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.