A person with a disability faces many challenges. Unfortunately, denial of long-term disability benefits is often one of them. However, the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is a government measure intended to help you get the benefits you need if you are unable to perform your duties at work. ERISA provides a standard for what private companies who offer health insurance must include, and this Act provides the means to appeal a denial of benefits.
If you or a loved one has been denied disability benefits, you still have options. Do not lose hope. What you need is an experienced attorney to help you fight for the benefits you deserve.
Selecting an attorney can be an intimidating prospect, especially for someone with a significant stressor in their life, such as a physical or cognitive challenge. How do you know what to look for and who is trustworthy?
9 questions to ask your attorney
- What is the fee, and what is the payment schedule? This is a significant factor in choosing an attorney but should not be your only consideration.
- What is their track record with disability appeals? Do they have enough experience and success to warrant your business?
- What experience do they have working with people who share your specific diagnosis? This is key. If they have no experience with what you are dealing with, they may not be the right fit.
- How is their office staffed? What are the hours? Is there an emergency contact? It’s vital to know how available or unavailable your representation will be.
- Who will be updating you on the progression of your case? Make sure you feel comfortable with that person.
- Who will take charge of your file? Beyond picking a firm, you need to know which lawyer at the firm you will be dealing with. Meet that person to ensure compatibility and to get a sense of who they are and what they stand for. Listen to your gut.
- What is the timeline for your appeal? Request updates, but also inquire as to a preliminary estimate of when they will file your appeal.
- What is their plan? Ask about their strategy and see if it aligns with what you currently know about disability claims and appeals. Does their plan make sense and feel reputable?
- What do they need from you? You will have to help gather information, sign release forms and possibly more.
Securing good representation is half the battle when it comes to appealing a denied disability claim. Use these questions in order to get the information you need to make an informed decision.