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Navigating through short-term and long-term disability claims

Many individuals with employer-sponsored ERISA plans have questions when facing the possibility of filing a disability claim. What is the difference between short-term disability and long-term disability insurance? How long do benefits last for? And, most importantly, what should someone do if their claim is denied?

At Willeford & Toledano, we represent those who have had their short-term or long-term disability claims denied. While we are known for our focus in working with those who have plans covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, more commonly known as ERISA, we also represent those with non-ERISA plans. In this post, we will focus on the basics of disability claims.

What type of claim? How long will the benefits last?

Whether to file a short-term disability claim or long-term disability claim will be entirely dependent on the type of injury or illness. The point of both of these policies, though, is to provide at least a portion of the income someone loses by having to miss work due to their injury or illness.

The length of time that someone can collect disability for is also dependent on the plan. For example, while most short-term disability plans provide benefits for three to six months, some policies may go up to two years. With long-term claims, most provide benefits for six months or more, and some even provide benefits up until the age of 75. Again, it is all dependent on the policy a person has.

Is claim approval possible after an initial denial?

In short, yes. As we mentioned in a previous blog post, it is possible to appeal a short-term or long-term claim denial. For insurance companies, all too often, their best interests are in protecting their bottom line -- not necessarily doing what is right for policyholders.

There are strict time constraints, though, when it comes to appealing a denial, which is why policyholders are strongly encouraged to work with an attorney after a denial. This attorney will know how to best handle the case, all while staying within these time constraints.

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