Long Term Disability FAQs

 

Cody Allison & Associates, PLLC is a law firm based in Nashville, Tennessee which provides experienced representation in long-term disability insurance claims throughout the United States. We are so confident in our abilities that we offer free attorney consultations and only collect a fee when we are successful in obtaining your long-term disability benefits.

Below you will find answers to commonly asked questions.  We hope you find this helpful.  If you have additional questions, or believe we may be able to help you, or a loved one, please feel free to contact our Tennessee based offices to speak to an attorney about your long-term disability benefits claim.  Please call (615) 234-6000, or e-mail cody@codyallison.com.  Regardless of whether you contact our law firm about your long-term disability case, we sincerely wish you the best of luck.

WHEN SHOULD I FILE A CLAIM FOR LONG-TERM DISABILITY/ERISA BENEFITS?

Before you stop working, we suggest that you get a copy of your long-term disability policy and read that portion of the policy that tells you when you must file a claim. Most policies require that you file your claim for long-term disability/ERISA benefits within a certain period of time after you stop working. Different policies say different things, but we commonly see a 30 day requirement for the timely reporting of your long-term disability claim.

Once you receive a copy of your long-term disability policy, Cody Allison and Associates will review your policy at no charge to you and answer any questions you may have.

HOW DO I GET A COPY OF MY LONG-TERM DISABILITY POLICY?

When requesting a copy of your long-term disability policy, request the policy in writing by mailing a letter to the insurance company and send the letter by certified return receipt mail. Keep a copy of your letter that you send requesting the policy, and when you receive the green card back from the post office, staple the green card to the copy of your letter. Keep this for your records. You may need to show this as proof you requested the policy in writing if you don’t receive it. Over the years, we have had clients who have come to us regarding their inability to obtain a copy of their ERISA long-term disability policy.  Sending a certified letter is a good way to make sure the long-disability insurance carrier will take your request seriously.

MY DOCTOR TELLS ME THAT I CAN’T WORK ANYMORE. WHAT STEPS SHOULD I TAKE BEFORE I STOP WORKING?

Get a copy of your long-term disability insurance policy and see what the policy says if you need to file a claim for disability benefits. The long-term disability policy will indicate what steps you need to take in filing your initial application for disability benefits once your doctor indicates you can’t work any longer.

You first want to make sure that the condition that is preventing you from working is covered under your long-term disability policy. For example, if your policy doesn’t pay benefits for fibromyalgia or only pays for 24 months for this condition, you better know that before you stop working. Cody Allison and Associates have often found that people really don’t understand the details of their long-term disability policy that they have purchased for two reasons: 1) you are never provided with a copy of the long-term disability policy when you purchase it, or get enrolled in the plan and 2) the policy is never explained to anyone, whether this be by a representative from the insurance company selling the plan or by someone in your human resources/benefits department at your employer. Unfortunately many long-term disability policy holders don’t learn about the policy terms until they become disabled, made a claim, and been denied benefits.

Once you receive a copy of your long-term disability policy, The Tennessee based attorneys at Cody Allison and Associates, PLLC will review your policy for no charge to you and answer any questions you may have. You may call us directly at (615) 234-6000, or e-mail cody@codyallison.com.

WHAT MEDICAL CONDITIONS ARE CONSIDERED DISABLING?

It is important to understand how your ERISA long-term disability policy defines “disability.”  For some ERISA long-term disability insurance policies “disability” means that you are unable to perform your “own occupation”, while other policies define it as the inability to perform “any occupation”. Generally, the burden is on you to prove that you cannot perform your own occupation. It is important to recognize that policies often change the definition of “disability” after you have received benefits for a fixed period of time. For example, you have been receiving benefits for 2 years because you cannot do your own occupation, however, your policy states that after 2 years of receiving benefits you have to prove that you cannot do “any occupation” to continue receiving benefits.

Cody Allison and Associates will review your policy for no charge to you and answer any questions you may have.

IS IT REALLY THAT DIFFICULT TO RECEIVE LONG-TERM DISABILITY BENEFITS?

The insurance carriers do not simply pay out benefits without requiring you to provide an overwhelming amount of evidence to prove you are disabled. The claims process can last several months and is complex. Securing benefits can be a daunting task, especially if you are suffering from a physical or mental disability, are unable to work, and are struggling to stay afloat financially.  We understand the difficult times your going through and have a team of legal professionals ready to take on the insurance company for you.  It’s what we do!

Cody Allison and Associates, PLLC Tennessee based attorneys are experienced in handling these types of claims and will help you through the lengthy and tedious process.

I’VE FILED MY CLAIM. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Your insurance carrier will acknowledge the receipt of your claim in writing or by phone. If your insurance carrier contacts you by phone, we recommend that you hire an attorney and let the attorney communicate directly with your insurance carrier. Your insurer may ask you a series of questions that you might not know how to answer or you may unknowingly give an answer that is damaging to your case. The last thing you want to do is get confused and misstate your ability to the insurance representative. This is just one instance when working with an experienced legal team will benefit you greatly. Cody Allison and Associates will handle all correspondence with your insurance carrier. You will never have to worry about speaking with them directly. In fact, we advise against it.

MY CLAIM FOR LONG TERM DISABILITY WAS [LTD] BENEFITS WAS DENIED. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you were denied long-term disability benefits, DO NOT GIVE UP! It has become increasingly difficult to secure long-term disability benefits and equally as hard to continue to receive such benefits.  Whether your in Tennessee, the Southeastern United States, or beyond, we stand ready to review your claim at no cost to see if we can be of assistance.

Cody Allison and Associates can help. We will evaluate your case for free.

WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN MY APPEAL TO MY INSURANCE COMPANY?

The information in your appeal is very important because it establishes, in part, the “administrative record” that forms the basis of any future litigation of your case. Therefore, you should not undertake to prepare your own appeal — at least not without the help of an experienced disability lawyer knowledgeable in ERISA law.

MY DOCTOR WON’T COMPLETE THE LONG-TERM DISABILITY PAPERWORK. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Find a doctor who will! Your doctor can make or break your long-term disability case. If your doctor is unwilling to complete any disability forms or comment about your disability to anyone, then you need to find a doctor who will.  We have great respect for the medical professional; however, not every medical practitioner is willing to fill out the forms necessary to take on the insurance company with full force.   Sometimes, the key is to find medical practitioners who are willing to work with your attorney to help you win your claim.

WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A LAW FIRM?

The bottom line is you need a law firm with experience in handling ERISA long-term disability claims. The law firm you select should also be knowledgeable about the complexities and changes to ERISA law, and the possibility of “bad faith” recovery for your claims.  Also, you should look for a law firm that only gets paid if it recovers benefits for you and offers a free initial consultation.  Cody Allison & Associates’ Tennessee based, ERISA long-term disability law firm, handles cases in this manner.

SHOULD I RETAIN A LAWYER?

If you need disability benefits and have been denied those benefits, then yes, you should retain a lawyer. Cody Allison and Associates’ Tennessee based attorneys have experience successfully representing disabled individuals and can help you too. Call our Nashville, Tennessee based office for your free consultation at (615) 234-6000.  Also, we only get paid if we are able to recover disability benefits for you.

SHOULD I RETAIN A LAWYER EVEN IF I AM CURRENTLY RECEIVING BENEFITS?

We have clients who choose Cody Allison & Associates, PLLC to represent them in the form of monthly monitoring of their long-term disability benefits.  This representations includes updating medical information and filling out update forms, which are requested by the insurance company, in order to continue payment of monthly benefits.  Also, we handle all communication with the insurance company on your behalf.  Our clients who choose to hire our law firm for this service find additional value in the fact that the insurance company knows they are dealing with an experienced law firm, who is familiar with the claims file, and will be one step ahead of the game should the insurance carrier randomly choose to discontinue benefits.

SHOULD I EXPECT A FIGHT TO OBTAIN MY DISABILITY INSURANCE BENEFITS?

Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t perfect and don’t play fair. You should expect a fight for your ERISA long-term disability insurance benefits, no matter who provided the insurance policy.  This battle can be daunting but having the right law firm on your side can make all the difference.

MUST I DO EVERYTHING REQUESTED BY MY INSURANCE COMPANY, SUCH AS  TAKING TESTS AND ALLOWING HOME INTERVIEWS?

Most ERISA policies require the insured individual to “cooperate” with the plan administrator. Failure to cooperate may form a basis for denying benefits. But that is not to say that all insurance company requests are appropriate. Therefore, if you receive a request from your insurance company, please call Cody Allison and Associates and we can discuss the best way for you to respond to the insurance company’s request.

WILL I BE ABLE TO TESTIFY AT TRIAL AND CALL WITNESSES?

If your policy is governed by ERISA law, there are very few rights the policyholders have. You will not be able to resolve this dispute with your insurance company in the traditional manner. Policyholders who have policies governed by ERISA law do not have jury trials; are not entitled to punitive damages or compensatory damages; have no right to testify in your own defense; no right to have doctors testify and no right to submit any evidence after the close of the administrative process. For more information regarding this process, please call Cody Allison and Associates for your free consultation.

MY INSURANCE CARRIER TOLD ME I MUST APPLY FOR SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS. IS THIS CORRECT AND WHY WOULD I NEED TO FILE FOR THESE BENEFITS?

Most long term disability policies have a clause in the contract requiring you to file for Social Security Disability benefits as a condition of receiving your long-term disability benefits. The reason the insurance companies require you to file for social security disability is because your long-term disability policy also states that the insurance company is entitled to reduce the amount of your long-term disability benefits by the amount of any social security disability benefits that are payable to you as well as any benefits you receive on behalf of your dependents. Most long-term disability policies indicate this, however, if you have a copy of your policy and would like a free case evaluation and for us to review your policy at no charge, please call Cody Allison and Associates.

Long Term Disability FAQs