A disability, whether unexpected or developed over time, can leave you financially trapped and unable to pay for your living expenses.
It’s a scary spot to be in, especially if you’re the sole provider of your family, leaving you frustrated, confused and unsure what to do next.
I’ve written several blogs about long-term disability, but today I thought I’d compile the most frequently asked questions for anyone in need of answers before embarking on a long-term disability claim:
1. What Exactly Is Long-Term Disability Insurance?
In the event of an injury or illness where you’re unable to return to work, long-term disability insurance offers protection by providing you with a portion of your income that can go towards bills, expenses, medical treatment and/or rehabilitation.
Essentially, it offsets the financial hardship you may suffer as a result of being unable to return to work.
2. What Is The Difference Between Short Term Disability Insurance And Long Term Disability Insurance?
Short-term disability insurance replaces your wages in the event that you’re temporarily unable to work due to injury or illness.
Long-term disability insurance is just that—financial coverage long-term. It provides a more permanent income replacement as your medical condition prevents you from working altogether.
3. What Type Of Disability Allows Me To Qualify For Long-Term Disability Benefits?
In most cases it doesn’t matter what type of illness or injury you’re suffering from; if it prevents you from doing your job properly (or at all), you may qualify for long-term disability benefits.
Let’s say you’re a lifeguard for the city of Hamilton and you injure your hip. There is no possible way to continue your job effectively, right?
Right. Well, sort of.
Insurance companies like to find loopholes. Sometimes, in order to qualify for disability benefits beyond 2 years, you must prove that it’s not only your current job you can’t do, but also any job within your scope of education in the organization.
Sure, you might not be able to dive into the pool to save a life, but you might be able to sit at a computer creating CPR/lifeguard training documents.
Every insurance company is different, and some policies may exclude certain injuries or illness. This is something you should be aware of when investing in insurance and something we can look into together should you pursue a claim.
4. How Long Does A Long-Term Disability Claim Take?
Disability claims resolve quicker than an accident claim; about 1-2 years on average.
With an accident claim, there are several factors involved and various ways to determine pain and suffering, which causes the case to drag out.
In contrast, a long-term disability claim isn’t about pain and suffering; it’s about what you’re entitled to.
Any long-term disability insurance company can figure out the reserve because they know the maximum amount of benefit from day one. Since the math is easy, the cases tend to be shorter.
Of course, the disability itself is more complex, as you must make the case about the severity of your disability and its impact on your life (that’s where I come in; to fight on your behalf.)
The biggest challenge is providing enough evidence as to why you can’t work, while the insurance company works hard to prove why you can.
The value of your case doesn’t change. It’s ultimately about whether or not they’re going to pay you—and that’s where the 1-2 year timeline plays out.
5. Is It Legal For Insurance Companies To Use Surveillance?
Many of my clients are surprised to learn that, yes, it’s 100% legal and normal for insurance companies to record and photograph claimants to assess the validity of their disability claim.
I used to work as a defense lawyer for the insurance companies, so I know from experience that surveillance is used about a third of the time.
Fundamentally, insurance companies use surveillance for two reasons:
a) To gauge how injured you really are so they can set a proper reserve, and
b) To poke holes in your credibility and believability
For instance, if you say you have limited mobility due to a hip injury, and the surveillance catches you carrying 10 bags of groceries into your house, your claim is jeapordized (even if it was excruciatingly painful – it’s all about the optics.)
As long as you’re 100% honest every step of the way, surveillance should’t be an issue. And chances are, if your hip really is injured, you won’t be lugging 10 bags of groceries into your house anyway.
Play it safe, be honest if what you can and can’t do changes, and only do what you’re able to do safely.
6. What Do You Do If You’ve Been Denied Long-Term Disability Benefits?
Don’t panic. The first thing you should do is talk to me so I can help you understand the reasons you might have been denied.
Once we narrow it down, we can create a game plan for next steps.
In any case, you can help your long-term disability claim along by:
a) Visiting your doctor to create a paper trail outlining the progressing details of your injury or illness
b) Requesting the long-term disability application package from your employer as soon as possible
c) Following your doctors orders and attending all medical appointments
As long as you follow through with those three things, we can work together to continue building your claim to get you the compensation you need to get your life back on track.
Are you ready to explore a long-term disability claim? Take it from a client who’s been there:
“My claim was resolved very quickly and efficiently. Mr. Wilson was very professional but also made me feel very relaxed and at ease. He was always welcoming to my wife and myself and kept us well informed as my case progressed. He went over and beyond any expectations I had and got me the settlement I expected. I have and will continue to recommend his services to people who need a good lawyer.” -Russell
Is there anything I missed? I’m here to answer any questions you might have. Get in touch today for a FREE consultation.