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Long Term Disability: Still Health Insured After Losing Job?

Published on October 24, 2014 by

It’s everyone’s nightmare: something happens to you that necessitates you going on disability through your insurer, then you get fired from your job and your insurance is terminated. What’s going to happen to you? Will you still be able to get disability benefits? Can your employer even do this?

First let’s get the question of losing the job out of the way. Disability insurance and benefits by themselves don’t come with any kind of job protection. In fact, often someone will need to prove that they aren’t able to work in order to get disability benefits. That being said, if you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated due to your disability, you’ll want to seek help from someone who understands the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Those two laws detail when an employer can and can’t fire someone with a disability.

Now back to the question of whether you should still qualify for disability insurance even if your insurance was through your job and you lost that job. Short answer: yes.

How Does Disability Insurance Work After Job Loss?

To make sure that you’re handling your specific situation in the best possible way, you should really speak to a knowledgeable disability attorney who can walk you through the process and make sure you’re protected. That being said, here’s how you can still receive disability benefits even if you lose your job.

You had insurance when the disability occurred. Many people insured through their jobs end up starting with short term disability and “graduating” to long term disability if the issue continues and keeps them from working. Questions arise, however, when people are fired or laid off before moving onto long term disability. Will their benefits end? As long as your disability onset date happened before your insurance ended, the insurer is legally required to cover you. It doesn’t even matter if you wait to file your claim until after the policy ends – as long as the onset date happens while you’re still insured, you can potentially get benefits.

You meet the requirements for getting disability. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Every insurance plan has specific disability requirements that you have to meet beyond having something bad happen to you while you’re under a policy. You might have had to be working a certain number of hours before the disability occurred to qualify, or have specific tests done to prove your condition.

What it all boils down to, though, is that your coverage can’t be terminated just because you no longer work for the company that was offering it to you. If someone has something happen to them while an insurance policy is active, disability laws stipulate that the insurer is legally obligated to look at that claim. Know your rights: download and read our free long term disability eBook and check our blogs weekly for more information regarding your Long Term Disability Insurance rights!

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How Social Media Can Hurt Your Long Term Disability Insurance Claim

Published on October 17, 2014 by

We live in a culture where it’s becoming more and more expected to tell the world about every single thing that you do, from “Had a blast at the baseball game tonight” to “Finally cleared all that junk out of the attic – whew!” Both of those are things you might see any one of your friends post at any given time. They are also things that you might find yourself doing if you were out of work due to a disability because of all the extra free time you have.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that neither one of those activities really does anything to disprove a disability claim, more and more insurers are delving deeply into people’s lives in an attempt to discredit claims. Even if you just want to update those friends and family members you’re not seeing because of your disability, saying the wrong thing on social media can have dire consequences.

Social Media Etiquette during the Claims Process

So, what can you do to protect yourself from these kinds of tactics?

Stop posting. The most effective way to keep your insurer from using your social media posts against you is to stop giving them ammunition altogether. Instead of posting to Facebook, try emailing friends and family members or calling them.

Change your privacy settings. You don’t necessarily have to go cold turkey on social media. One way to keep yourself more protected while continuing to post as usual is to make sure that you’re only sending updates like the ones mentioned above to those specific friends and family members you want to see them.

Choose your words carefully. Alternately, you can simply avoid posting about things that make it look like you’re running around and essentially “playing hooky” when you’re supposed to be burdened with a disability. Unfortunately, something that may seem innocuous to you may still be used against you, so stopping with social media completely is the best policy.

Of course, none of this advice matters if your insurer has already used this tactic against you. Don’t despair, though – experienced attorneys will tell you that your social media posts usually don’t prove anything, and they know how to fight back against these kinds of insurance company accusations. See how a good lawyer can help your long term disability claim by reading our free long term disability eBook.

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Social Security Disability Questions: Musculoskeletal Treatment Effects

Published on October 15, 2014 by

Welcome to part six in our series on musculoskeletal disorders. You can read our previous posts on the subject here.

Today we’re going to talk about treatment. If you’ve been following these posts, you already know why treatment is important if you are considering applying for social security disability benefits – it acts as a record showing the existence, duration, and severity of your impairment. Moreover, anything that has been officially entered into your medical record regarding your disability has to be considered by the SSA before they can make a ruling.

But what we haven’t really gone into is what effects the treatment may have on you.

Good and Bad Effects of Musculoskeletal Treatment

Before undergoing any treatment, it’s vital that you know both the potential benefits and possible negative side effects that could result. These have to be considered on an individual basis, because everyone responds differently. While it’s possible that a given type of treatment may alleviate some of the symptoms, signs, and abnormalities your disorder causes you, it could also end up limiting you further.

Some may take a pain medication and feel complete relief. Others, however, will feel nothing, and a few may even suffer from side effects like dizziness or sleepiness that harm their ability to live like a normal, healthy adult. And, of course, there are people who at first experience relief from a particular treatment only to have their impairment return full force after a short time.

That’s why it’s so important to work with medical professionals who have dealt with conditions like yours before. This gives them a better sense of which kinds of treatment are worth trying with you and which are not.

It All Comes Back to the Record

Ultimately, when you’re applying for SSA disability benefits, it all comes back to the official medical record of your treatment. Going to a medical professional means that you have a documented record, regardless of whether you end up undergoing certain kinds of treatment or not. When SSA officials are looking at your case, they’ll be able to see the rationale behind what was done and how it helped – or didn’t. The more well-documented your issue is, the better chance you have at getting the benefits you need.

Learn more about the process from beginning to end by reading our SSD ebook. Still have Social Security questions? Contact us and get them answered by an experienced disability attorney.

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ERISA Disability Insurance: Be Careful What You Say to Insurers

Published on October 10, 2014 by

When someone gets arrested, the police are required by law to read them their Miranda Rights, one of which is “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you…”

In actuality, this is a good rule for anyone embroiled in any kind of legal action, including making a claim with your insurance company. It applies in a number of ways, from not Tweeting out pictures of yourself doing things you shouldn’t be doing with your disability to making sure that you have an experienced disability attorney handle all of your correspondence with your insurer.

The most obvious reason for following these rules is so you don’t say or do anything to actively hurt your claim, but there’s another one that only pops up from time to time: sometimes insurers misinterpret communication, such as in the case of a claimant who “appealed” without knowing it by sending their insurers a letter in frustration.

Does Intent Matter in Communication?

In this particular case, a claimant had their claim denied and wrote a letter saying they were “dismayed” by the decision. The insurer decided that this constituted an appeal and filed it as such, going through the regular appeals process without ever dealing with the claimant until it was decided that their appeal was unwarranted.

As crazy as it sounds, this is completely legal for the insurer to do as long as the claimant doesn’t suffer any “prejudice” from the clerical error that was made, which is exactly what a court ruled. How does that make sense if the claimant wasn’t able to mount a proper appeal with new evidence and support? The answer is that it doesn’t matter because the court has final say.

That’s why it’s so important to learn all you can about the ERISA claims process by reading our free eBook, as well as making sure that all of your communication goes through an experienced professional who knows how to handle these kinds of cases. Be sure to check our blogs weekly for new information on how you can win and maintain your Long Term Disability Benefits.

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