Our Lawyers Get Your Long-Term Disability Benefits Paid
98% percent of our clients collect disability benefits. We have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants throughout the USA to collect hundreds of millions of dollars of disability insurance benefits. Thank you for considering our law firm to help you.
Discover How Your Disabling Condition Should be Presented to Your Disability Company
Disability insurance companies always argue that Diagnosis does not equal disability. Proving that your medical condition is disabling is the most challenging aspect of any long term disability insurance claim.
Explore How Disability Companies Evaluate Your Occupation
Disability insurance companies are notorious for minimizing your occupational duties. This technique is used as a tool to prove that you can perform duties which differ from the job you actually performed while working.
Established in 1979, we are a nationwide law firm that helps individuals collect disability insurance benefits. Through our experience of helping thousands of claimants throughout the USA to collect over $500 million in disability benefits, we know exactly what it takes to get your benefits paid. We welcome you to contact us for a free phone consultation with one of our lawyers.
Airline Pilots Disability Benefit Claim Tips to Avoid Denial
Airline pilots are in a unique position when it comes to long-term disability claims. Because of their very specific line of work, airline pilots may sometimes face additional challenges when trying to get claims approved, and in this video disability insurance attorneys Rachel Alters and Gregory Dell share some tips and advice on how to best handle your long term disability claim to get approved.
Our disability insurance lawyers have handled hundreds of claims for pilots, and we’ll discuss some of the potential pitfalls and things to keep in mind when seeking disability as a pilot. We encourage you to contact us for an immediate free phone consultation to discuss your disability benefit claim.
What Is the Definition of Disability for Most of the Insurance Policies That Are Sold to Pilots?
The definition of disability varies in every disability policy, yet in most of the policies you must prove whether you can perform the substantial material duties of your occupation. If you have a group/employer provided policy, your definition of disability may be how your occupation is defined in the national economy. And if it’s a private policy, it’s going to be your own-occupation as defined by how you actually did your job prior to disability.
Usually with pilots, most disability policies define it as unable to perform substantial material duties of your occupation. However, it may not be the same definition for the duration of the policy. Some policies only have the “own occupation” definition of disability for 24 months, then it switches to “any gainful occupation” for which you have experience, education, and training.
Often, you see a lot of claim denials at the change of definition from own to any occupation. This is because, in the eyes of the insurance company, they assume that since pilots are highly educated, they can do some other type of work based on their previous training and education.
What is an Objective Proof of Evidence Standard in a Disability Policy?
If you are an airline pilot, often, a lot of insurance policies have what’s called an objective proof of evidence standard.
If they have that standard, it means they require proof of what is the cause of your disability. For example, if you have a back issue – perhaps a herniated disk – and you cannot sit for long periods of time and therefore, unable to fly, because flying requires sitting for extended periods of time, you may need to provide evidence such as an MRI or a CT scan that shows you have a herniated disk, or a bulging disk, or whatever it is that is impairing your ability to work.
In addition, it means that your doctor needs to be documenting everything and putting objective proof into their records. The pilot’s subjective complaints of pain are not enough; there has to be proof in the medical records, including testing like MRIs and CT, as well as the doctor’s notes and more proof of the actual disability. It’s extremely difficult to get approved if you do not have a well and clearly documented medical history.
Another thing that is unique to pilots is the FAA medical clearance. If the FAA-authorized doctor does not clear you, usually, that’s going to be very strong evidence that you’re not able to fly. However, sometimes, a pilot may pass the FAA physicals, but they feel they are not able to fly and their own doctors recommend that they don’t fly. In a case like this, the claimant needs to work with the doctors and get them to put the reasons why they believe that the pilot is unable to fly into writing.
Obviously, if the pilot is a danger to the passengers and if he or she is not able to be 100% while up in the air, it’s a very precarious situation. You don’t want a pilot who is on pain medicine and who is potentially not lucid from the meds that they’re taking. Equally, if the pilot is not taking pain medicine and is in severe pain, they may not be able to focus clearly, especially when there is a complication in the air that could be a life and death situation.
This is why it’s essential to work with physicians and potentially get more testing, get some sort of an independent medical evaluation or, alternatively, an expert who will confirm that the pilot cannot do certain things or cannot sit for extended periods of time and who will recommend that even if the pilot has passed the FAA, it’s their medical opinion that the pilot is not capable of handling the material duties of their job.
What If You Continue to Fly With a Chronic Condition, Then File for Disability?
A lot of pilots who file claims have chronic medical conditions such as chronic back or neck pain, chronic fatigue, or shoulder pain, or there is a variety of orthopedic conditions or autoimmune disorders that may have been bothering them. However, often, they continue to fly with these conditions without any reduction in their flight schedule. Because of this, the disability carrier may think: if this pilot has been unwell for a year but did not cut back on their schedule at all, how come they are now unable to continue to work?
Unfortunately, your perseverance and determination to try and work as hard as you can through the pain often will hurt you with the insurance carriers. Because when they see that you have been working despite your condition, they say, well, this person has been capable of flying for the last year and he or she hasn’t cut their hours down, so what’s changed? The condition seems to be the same as it was about a year ago, so why are they filing for disability now?
Often, what changes is that the person can no longer handle the pain – their pain threshold is decreasing. They have been pushing themselves so much, and at this point, they can’t do it anymore.
If that is your case, see if you can decrease your hours and discuss with your physician to document the flight hours that they recommend you should be flying. In most cases it is either all or none for pilots. Make sure that the doctor is saying that the condition has progressed and the pain has gotten worse, because if you are unable to show those things, it is easy for the insurance carrier to deny.
However, as a pilot, you typically do not have the luxury to simply cut back on the hours. Pilots usually do an overnight of one or two nights when they go, and they can’t just say, “I’m going to work two or three hours a day and then I’d like to go home“. This is a very difficult proposition if the doctor recommends you to cut back your hours, but you can’t really cut back on a shift. Also pilots are don’t have fixed flight schedules and often don’t know when or if they will be called to fly.
Perhaps you could fly once a week instead of two or three times a week and see how you do on one shift. Usually, however, pilots are required to be in the cockpit for eight hours a day as well as traveling and carrying their bags back and forth to the hotel and in and out of the airplane. Because of this, a cutback of one day a week (which their airline may not even accommodate) usually doesn’t help a pilot in their specific situation.
Another struggle for many pilots is that the retirement programs and the pensions deal with years of service; the longer you’re there, the greater your pension is going to be, so a lot of pilots try to hang on, because the more years they go, the greater they’re going to get in their pension.
If You Can’t Fly, Can You Do Other Types of Work and Keep the Disability Benefits?
Often, if someone has a true own-occupation definition of disability and they can’t fly planes anymore, a good solution is exploring the option to engage in any other type of work.
If the insurance policy does have a true own-occupation definition of disability, then it translates to whether you can do the material substantial duties of your own-occupation. If you could do other things, like becoming an instructor or teach or do other things that do not involve actual flying, there are many policies that will pay you for that disability while you’re working. So that is definitely an option, but it depends on the policy, of course. The issue at that point is going to be whether or not you’re going to get a set-off for the additional income that you’re going to earn.
The biggest struggle is going to come if you have a change of definition from your own occupation to any gainful occupation after 24 months of receiving disability benefits. After those initial 24 months of payments it is a very common point to see disability benefits denied.
To get more helpful tips and advice and stay informed, we suggest you take a look at our website and look up your disability insurance company specifically. You’ll learn a lot of information there: we have lots of videos, articles, and helpful advice about your disability company and how they handle your particular claim at all different stages.
You can always call Rachel or contact any of our disability lawyers nationwide for a free initial phone consultation. Thank you for considering our law firm!
Very satisfied with the work of this team. Took well care of my case and took all the necessary time to be responsive and attentive when I had questions. Guided me through recovery and returning to normalcy. All thanks to Jason & Tabitha, thank you!
I’m extremely satisfied with the experience I have had with this firm from day one. The lawyer who has handled my case, Alex, is very efficient and attentive to all my questions and concerns. They are always aware of how my case has gone and they care about my health. I feel optimistic with them because they are very attentive during the process of my claim. I would not hesitate to recommend families and friends if in any situation they need their services. Kathleen as well has been very well and assisted me with this case. I highly appreciate everything they have done for me.
It’s unfortunate when disability insurance companies come after older disabled policyholders just to help their bottom line. It can be a living nightmare the damage they can do to a family. Dell Disability Lawyers are polite, understanding and knowledgeable. They call you back and answer any question you have no matter how unimportant it can be. The amount of stress they took off of myself and family was incalculable. I recommend them highly to take care of any disability case whether it be filing for benefits or reversing a claim decision. They are outstanding.
I could not have been happier or more appreciative of the hard work they performed on my behalf. I was well briefed on my case and it was closed in a timely manner with a financially successful resolution.
Mr. Symonds and Sonia as well as everyone else we have worked with throughout this process have been very helpful, professional and caring to our situation. We are very thankful to have this great team on our side.
Without them my LTD company was dropping my plan with me still suffering from my accident, even with doctor’s statements I’m still disabled. The LTD company didn’t want to advance my policy to the next stage of years of pay. Dell Disability Lawyers saved my policy, and helped to enforce the LTD company’s own policy (for its policy holder, me) that I would be covered still under the LTD policy I had paid for at my previous job, when my accident occurred. These lawyers know what they are doing and can help you too. LTD companies will try to drop you when you still need coverage just because they don’t want to pay on your policy anymore. Don’t let them break contract with ya because they are trying to get out of it. Hit em with legal action to ensure the continuation of your policy you paid for. Dell Disability worked very well for me and continue to do so.
I was denied long term disability benefits from The Hartford after being on it for years. I found Dell Disability Lawyers after doing research online. In a matter of days they responded and explained to me everything that would be done. Dell Disability Lawyers were able to settle my suit against The Hartford very quickly and responded to me quickly. I would definitely recommend this team of lawyers for anyone that is fighting for their disability insurance.
I have had nothing but a great experience with Dell Disability Law Firm. Mr. Alex Palamara and his team went above and beyond my expectations. They will respond to emails and phone calls in a timely manner. Thank you once again for taking my case.
This law firm is the best so far. MetLife denied me two times, they appealed two times for me and they won of course. So if you are on disability and want a chance at winning your case use this firm Dell disability lawyers, kind courteous understanding and they get the job done. You won’t be disappointed.
Our goal is to get your application for disability income benefits approved. Applying for disability benefits can be a difficult process and the information you provide is critical. Most disability insurance companies look at your application in hopes of finding a reason to deny your claim. Your disability company will ask you to complete numerous forms, interview you, request lots of information, speak with your doctors and possibly request to have you examined by their "hired gun" doctor.
Through our experience of having helped thousands of disability insurance claimants, our lawyers will guide you through the entire application process and give you the best chance to get your disability claim approved the first time.
If your disability insurance benefits have been wrongfully denied, then our lawyers know exactly what it takes to get your disability claim approved. You only get once chance to submit an Appeal, therefore every piece of evidence that will support your disability claim must be included. The goal is to win your disability benefits at the Appeal level, but while preparing your Appeal you must consider how a federal judge will review your disability claim if your benefit denial is upheld.
Preparing a strong disability appeal package is an art that requires you to understand how the courts interpret your disability policy language, ERISA regulations / laws, and how to strategically present evidence in support of your definition of "disability". We encourage you to contact any of our lawyers for a free immediate review of your disability denial.
98% of the disability insurance lawsuits filed by our law firm have resulted in either the payment of benefits or a lump-sum settlement agreement. Our disability lawyers have filed ERISA governed and private policy long term disability insurance lawsuits against every major disability insurance company in state and federal courts nationwide and we love fighting for the "little guy" against the multi-billion dollar insurance company giants.
We have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for our clients and we would like the opportunity to provide you with a free review of your disability benefit denial. There are many complex factors in a disability benefit lawsuit and the legal battle to win long term disability benefits can be fierce.
Approval of long-term disability is a continuous process as every disability insurance company will evaluate your eligibility for benefits on a monthly basis. You can never let your guard down and assume that your disability company will continue to pay your benefits for as long as you think you need them.
Our law firm offers a reasonable flat fee monthly claim handling service in which we handle every aspect of your long-term disability claim and do whatever it takes to make sure you are paid every month.
Let's discuss if a lump-sum settlement or buyout of your disability insurance claim is both available and makes financial sense for you. Our lawyers have negotiated more than five-hundred million dollars in disability insurance buyouts and we know how to get you a maximum settlement. A disability insurance company is not required to offer a buyout and not every disability company offers them.
We are disability insurance lawyers that know how to get your short or long term disability benefits paid. As a nationwide law firm we have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants throughout the United States to collect hundreds of millions of dollars of disability insurance benefits from every major disability insurance company.
In more than 98% of our cases, our lawyers have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our lawyers have seen it all when it comes to disability insurance claims and we know exactly what it takes for your disability claim to be approved.
We welcome you to contact any of our attorneys for a free immediate review of your disability claim. We also invite you to visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel where we have more than 700 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.
Who do you help?
Our lawyers help individuals that have either purchased a long term disability insurance policy from an insurance company or obtained short or long term disability insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer. We have helped individuals in almost every type of occupation with monthly disability benefit payments ranging from $1,500 to $50,000.
Our clients include all types of employees ranging from retail associates, sales representatives, government employees, police officers, teachers, janitors, nurses, pilots, truck drivers, financial advisors, doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, consultants, IT professionals, engineers, professional athletes, business owners, and high level executives.
A strong understanding and presentation of the duties of your occupation is essential for securing disability insurance benefits.
Do you work in my state?
Yes. We are a national disability insurance law firm that is available to represent you regardless of where you live in the United States. We have partner lawyers in every state and we have filed lawsuits in most federal courts nationwide. Our disability lawyers represent disability claimants at all stages of a claim for disability insurance benefits. There is nothing that our lawyers have not seen in the disability insurance world.
What are your fees?
Since we represent disability insurance claimants at different stages of a disability insurance claim we offer a variety of different fee options. We understand that claimants living on disability insurance benefits have a limited source of income; therefore we always try to work with the claimant to make our attorney fees as affordable as possible.
The three available fee options are a contingency fee agreement (no attorney fee or cost unless we make a recovery), hourly fee or fixed flat rate.
In every case we provide each client with a written fee agreement detailing the terms and conditions. We always offer a free initial phone consultation and we appreciate the opportunity to work with you in obtaining payment of your disability insurance benefits.
Do I have to come to your office to work with your law firm?
No. For purposes of efficiency and to reduce expenses for our clients we have found that 99% of our clients prefer to communicate via phone, email, fax, GoToMeeting sessions, or Skype. If you prefer an initial in-person meeting please let us know. A disability company will never require you to come to their office and similarly we are set up so that we handle your entire claim without the need for you to come to our office.
How can I contact you?
When you call us during normal business hours you will immediately speak with a disability attorney. We can be reached at 800-698-9159 or by email. Lawyers and staff must return all client calls same day. Client emails are usually replied to within the same business day and seem to be the preferred and most efficient method of communication for most clients.