When should you file for long-term disability benefits? Well, the answer is simple, you have to look to your long-term disability policy for that answer. Then you’re going to have to do a little bit of math. Most policies require that you nail down what they call the date of disability. So once you figure out what that date of disability is, you need to look at some very important things. Most policies require that you provide a notice of your claim usually between 20, 30, sometimes 60 days. Every policy is different so you need to make sure that you know what your policy says. Once you provide that notice of claim, you have what you call an elimination period.
What Happens Next?
Next, you wait for a period of time, when during that period you’re not entitled to long-term disability benefits. Essentially the insurance company is taking a wait and see approach to make sure that your disability is in fact a long-term disability and not a short term disability. If you have short-term disability benefits, you can apply for those right away once you figure out your date of disability, once your doctor tells you that you’re disabled, you file for your short term disability right away. Then during that period of elimination, you are waiting to file your claim for long-term disability. Most of the time when your short term disability is coming to an end, the insurance company will send you the forms that you need to file your long-term disability claim. Now, usually that is around the time of the elimination period expiring.
Different Policies and Elimination Periods
So if your elimination period is 180 days or roughly six months, then around that time, you’ll also want to file your long-term disability claim. Now, when you file your long-term disability claim, you’re going to want to include more information, not just the information that you provided in your short-term disability claim. You need to provide additional medical records, additional physician statements, maybe some narrative statements from your friends and family and coworkers telling about how awesome you were before your date of disability. They should also include how it’s impossible for you to work after the date of your disability, how your symptoms are so severe that they render you unable to perform the main duties of your occupation. So you need to make sure that all of that stuff is in line when you file your claim approximately 180 days after your date of disability. Now don’t take this for God’s honest truth, because some claims are or some policies are different.
Some policies have a 90 day elimination period and some policies have a 180 day elimination period. And if that’s your policy, you need to make sure you know how long that elimination period is and you need to do some math to calculate 180 days from that date of disability. So, if you’re looking at a January 1 date of disability, then you’re probably looking at somewhere in June for your elimination period being over. And then you have a deadline within which to provide what they call a proof of loss, and the loss is your ability to work. So you’ve got to provide proof of loss, sometimes it’s 60 days, sometimes it’s 90 days from when that date is. So you have to make sure that you reviewed your long-term disability policy and make sure you mark the deadlines on your calendar so that you can guarantee that you get the information into the insurance company on time.
If they deny your claim you have to make sure that you do some more math because you have 180 days from the day that they deny your claim within which you need to file your appeal of their denial. So there are very important deadlines that you have to figure out how they apply to your specific situation. If you found this blog helpful, do us a favor, share it with your friends, share it with your family and some folks that you think would need or benefit from this information. We would love to help them just like we’re able to help you. If you need help figuring out your date of disability or calculating your deadlines, give us a call, send us an email, we would love to help.