Applying for long-term disability means you are probably already experiencing a severe injury or illness. If your long-term disability (LTD) coverage has just been denied, things may seem worse than ever. What can you do now? How are you going to manage your finances if you are unable to work?
Filing your LTD claim is complex enough for most people. Now, you have the additional burden of the LTD appeal process. If this is you, you might be wondering where to begin. Try to keep the following in mind as you move forward with your appeal of an LTD denial:
Exhaust your appeals
The appeal process largely depends on the type insurance plan that you have. If you have a group plan with your employer, you are required to file as many appeals as you can before you file a lawsuit. If you have an individual plan, you do not need to exhaust all your appeals. However, it is likely in your best interest that you do. The appeal process can save you a lot of time and money that you might spend in court.
Don’t miss a deadline
The easiest way for an insurance company to deny your appeal is to miss a deadline. Your denial letter should include information on how to and when to file your LTD appeal. Unfortunately, because you are dealing with an injury or illness, this might be difficult for you to do. It might be useful to speak with someone who is familiar with the appeals process and necessary requirements of an LTD appeal.
Attain all relevant medical records
After you’ve used all your appeals, your case is “closed.” This means you cannot submit any new evidence in the event of a lawsuit. It is extremely important that you attain as much medical evidence relating to your disability as you can prior to this happening. This can include hospital or mental health records, doctor’s notes, x-ray scans, test results, medical opinions, and observations from family or friends. If you aren’t sure how to attain medical information or your doctor isn’t providing you what you need, ask for a referral of a someone who can.
Hire an attorney
Don’t let an insurance company take advantage of you. If you are unfamiliar with drafting an appeal letter or want it done in the most effective way, consider hiring an attorney at the beginning of the process. An attorney can make sure you stay on track with deadlines and submit all the necessary requirements in the appropriate manner and time. Instead of hiring an attorney for a lawsuit, he or she could help you prevent one.
Do not give up just because the insurance company denied your initial LTD claim. You deserve the benefits you are entitled to. What’s your next step?