If you become disabled while employed, depending on what your employer provides, a St Louis ERISA lawyer may tell you that you are eligible to receive long-term disability benefits under a federal law known as
ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. This law sets certain standards for how employee welfare benefit plans must be administered. It is important to note that ERISA typically only applies to group insurance plans provided by an employer. Individual plans you purchase separately are likely not covered.
What Do I Need to Know?
In order to receive ERISA group disability benefits, you must first apply. This application process can be challenging and you may want to have a St Louis ERISA lawyer help you through the process. Here are some common mistakes that are often made:
Not Providing Enough Evidence for Your Disability
It is usually not sufficient to provide an opinion from your employer that you are too sick to work. The insurance company is responsible for paying benefits so they need to be convinced of your disability. Meeting this standard will depend on the specific definitions defined in your policy.
Assuming Your Employer’s HR Department Is Always Correct.
Although your company’s HR staff might be somewhat familiar with the insurance policy, they are not trained in interpreting insurance policies and they do not answer to the insurer. For definitive information about what your policy says, either contact the insurer directly or ask a disability attorney for help.
Using Only the Basic Forms Provided by the Insurance Company to Document your Disability.
The forms you receive from the insurance company will probably not ask for very detailed information or will be very generic. To improve your claim, have your treating physician complete a detailed report outlining the extent of your condition and why it prevents you from performing substantial work duties. This will be far more convincing than a few sentences written on a basic form letter.
Using the Insurance Company’s Lawyers to Help You File for Social Security Disability.
If you receive long-term disability benefits under an ERISA plan, you may have to file for federal Social Security benefits as well. The insurance company may offer their help with this, but be careful. In some cases the insurance company’s disability attorney might steer the claimant to claiming a disability that jeopardizes their long-term disability claim.
Contact a St Louis ERISA Lawyer
For more information on ERISA and how you can apply for benefits, contact a St Louis ERISA lawyer at David M. Hicks. Call (314) 812-4885.