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!
I have nothing but deep, sincere thanks for the way in which you have taken care and protected me and my LTD income since April 2014. I am forever grateful to you both and your staff. You took a frightened man who was being hoodwinked by the Hartford who was fearful of losing his income, to one who was confident. I had a Lion protecting me and indirectly my dear wife Deborah. I will always be humbled by how you all treated me with reverence and professionalism. Your company is the standard to what all others should emulate.
Attorney Alex Palamara and paralegal Danielle are both consummate professionals. Since the inception of my experience with them both they were very attentive thru the entire process and settled my case in a timely fashion.
Why would you recommend Dell Disability Lawyers? I would unequivocally recommend attorneys Dell Disability Lawyers.
What could we do to improve? They don’t need improvement.
I have a rare genetic condition that my insurance company didn’t want to acknowledge. Stephen and his aide Sonia worked tirelessly for over a year and successfully forced The Standard into covering my policy. They are both empathetic and effective, the best combination.
Dell Disability Lawyers is an excellent law firm for dealing with disability companies. I tried for 18 months to get disability for a medical condition. I found Dell Disability Lawyers and spoke with Mr. Jay Symonds about my case. He was very understanding and explained how he could help me in a simple and easy to understand manner. Within 6 months of him taking on my case he was able to resolve the case to my satisfaction.
I could concentrate on my health instead of worrying about money to pay my bills. Mr. Symonds staff were all very kind and helpful. I never had a problem with contacting them for help and they were quick to respond to issues. I would highly recommend Mr. Symonds and his firm to anyone who needs assistance with disability claims with insurance companies.
After exhausting all efforts to find a local disability law firm to assist me with submitting claims for LTD non-ERISA and ERISA disability insurance policies, I resorted to a Google search for disability law firms. I decided to contact Dell Disability Lawyers after reading their clients reviews and watching videos on their website. Within 24 hours of contacting Dell Disability Lawyers, I received I call back and an appointment was made with Steven J. Dell, who after hearing my story decided to personally work with me.
He told me that he would put 100% effort to get me on claim. Mr. Dell and his assistant, Merlin Bryan were always available via phone or email to answer any questions that I had regarding my application for long term disability. He was meticulous in guiding me through the process leaving no stone unturned. My claims were approved on the initial application! I know that it was due to the diligence of my attorney, Steven J. Dell. Without Mr. Dell, my application for long term disability would have been rejected. I am very grateful to have had the representation of attorney, Steven J. Dell.
Why would you recommend Dell Disability Lawyers? Experts in non-ERISA and ERISA disability law. Dell & Schaefer Law Firm have a well-deserved reputation of taking on big disability insurance companies and winning for their clients. If you find yourself in need of a disability attorney, I highly recommend this firm. You will not be disappointed!
What could we do to improve? Not a thing. I am a satisfied client.
This firm does exceptional work. I worked with them for my application for long term disability. My claim was approved on the initial application with one of the most notoriously difficult insurance carriers in the business. I’m 100% sure that this was due to my attorney Steven Dell. He was meticulous in shepparding me through the process making sure everything was done with precision and done correctly.
My anxiety thought this process was through the roof and Mr. Dell was always there to reassure me and peal me of the ceiling if needed. Mr. Dell and his assistant Merlin were always diligent and immediately responsive when I needed reassurance, help or something needed to be done. If you have a disability claim hire Mr. Dell and this firm. It will be the best money you ever spend.
Efficient, energetic, experienced, and prompt. Quickly and cleanly dealt with. Each call was on time, outcomes reviewed, and confirmed. Highly professional and polite. I strongly recommend his services!
Why would you recommend Dell Disability Lawyers? A professional dealing with professionals. Every time I thought … ”I wonder what our status is?” I received an update, he provided great communication with awesome engagement.
What could we do to improve? Advertise more so more people knew about your firm.
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.