Consultant Long-Term Disability Basics You Should Know

By Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup

If you’re a management or strategic consultant looking to claim long-term disability insurance benefits, there are several key things to keep in mind before you submit your claim. Here at Dell Disability Lawyers, we have extensive knowledge of consultant long-term disability insurance claims and appeals. Having represented hundreds of consultants claiming disability benefits, we have considerable experience in helping them successfully submit disability benefit claims.

In this article, we share some of our insights and advice on consultant long-term disability insurance basics, the best strategies to implement as you prepare your claim, the most common pitfalls to avoid, and what to expect during the process.

Long-term Disability Claims for Consultants: Occupation Definition

As you prepare your long-term disability insurance claim as a consultant, keep in mind that clearly defining your occupation is one of the key factors for success.

Management and strategic consultants working for top-tier consulting companies are high-level, highly skilled professionals working in a very competitive environment. Typically, if you’re a consultant at one of the top firms, you likely work in a stressful, high-paced environment and have a variety of tasks from meeting clients, data analysis, strategy planning, interviewing employees, traveling to job or work sites, and attending countless meetings. The work hours are very long and incredibly time sensitive.

However, most disability insurance companies consistently overlook the nature of a consultant’s work and assume it’s a sedentary job with no or minimal physical demands.

This is one of the biggest pitfalls to watch out for as a consultant looking to claim long-term disability benefits.

Although your job as a consultant may include a wide variety of tasks you need to perform daily and to a high standard, insurance companies simply look up “consultant” in the broadest term and use that instead of looking at the nuances of your actual work duties.

Insurance carriers rarely look into the specifics of your job as a consultant and the industry you specialize in – and this, in turn, often leads to disability insurance denial because the insurance carrier will simply assume you’re sitting in your office all day long and therefore can continue despite your health condition.

consultant disability insurance benefits denial

This is why it’s crucial to be very specific in defining your occupation and detailing the day-to-day tasks you’re expected to perform. In addition, consultants often have employer-provided insurance policies, and those carriers rely heavily on the National Economy Standard of what a certain occupation is. Based on the National Economy Standard, the disability insurance carrier can say, “A consultant’s job is sedentary, and with your condition, you are able to sit at your desk six hours a day” – and deny your claim.

Much like doctors or lawyers, however, consultants have highly specialized and highly demanding jobs that cannot be defined in such broad and basic terms.

As a consultant, you must be on your A-game consistently, and you do not have the luxury of canceling a client meeting because you need a 15-minute break, missing a deadline, or refusing to travel since it may cost you an important account. Cognitive demands are high; you’re constantly interacting with clients, and your results are time and cost-sensitive, all of which are important factors in your occupation.

Keep in mind that disability insurance carriers will try to minimize this and will not consider how demanding and varied your job is.

Because of this, you need to present your occupation in as much detail as you can and be very specific about your day-to-day tasks and occupational duties

Use as many examples as you can detailing exactly what you do – otherwise, the disability insurance company might literally copy and paste a generic consultant job description from the national economy standard and claim that, based on that description, you are able to continue working.

Preparing Your Long-Term Disability Insurance Claim as a Consultant

Most consultants work on a salary (and perhaps yearly bonuses) that tend to remain the same or potentially increase over time, even if you have been suffering a chronic medical condition and working through it.

Because of this, it is difficult to show decreased income as a result of your condition, and the disability insurance carrier might claim that the condition, therefore, has not been a significant factor. They may ask: why are you claiming disability now if your salary hasn’t suffered? Most disability insurance companies will want to see proof in the form of poor work performance evaluations, missing a dramatic amount of work, or losing salary. If you have a chronic condition but your work performance, results, and salary have remained the same, you may want to think about ways to document how your condition has affected your work.

Perhaps you can start using your PTO (paid time off) to see your doctor so they can document the fact you haven’t been feeling well and need time off. Medical records are crucial when you’re preparing your long-term disability insurance claim, so be sure to visit your doctor and have them record any issues you may be having and, importantly, how those issues are impacting on your ability to work.

In other words, if you submit your claim without prior preparation, it may result in denied disability insurance. Instead of working through your condition and then submitting the claim, first document the issues you are having with a medical professional and make sure there are records of how your condition is affecting your work, especially if your salary or work performance has not suffered despite your condition.

This is especially important if you have an employer-provided, ERISA-governed disability insurance policy.

Here at Dell Disability Lawyers, we have represented consultants who work for firms like Price Waterhouse Coopers, EY, Bain, Boston Consulting, KPMG, Accenture and we have first-hand experience that often, even the best consulting firms don’t always have great disability policies, so it’s up to you to protect and prepare yourself.

Disability insurance carriers will always seek ways to deny disability benefit claims for consultants because they are high earners, which means the benefits are high, too.

This is why it’s incredibly important to have a solid plan before you submit your claim. The better you’re prepared, the bigger your chances of getting your long-term disability insurance benefits approved.

When to Get a Disability Insurance Attorney Involved

Navigating the process of claiming disability insurance can be daunting, and mistakes that seem minor are often costly. For example, we are currently working on an appeal for a young lady who worked at one of the top-tier consulting firms and whose claim got denied because of a simple technicality. 

Unfortunately, that’s very common: disability insurance companies will do their best to deny a claim. Because of this, the smart choice is to contact a disability insurance lawyer early on – in fact, even months before you’re thinking of filing a claim. The likelihood of a disability claim denial is very high if you simply stop working cold turkey without having previously carefully documented all the issues you have been having and how those issues have affected your performance and your ability to do your job.

A disability insurance attorney will help you create a roadmap to build your claim. In addition to insurance carriers trying to call you out on your occupational duties’ description or your salary or work performance records, they may also challenge your credibility.

For example, if you continue working through your condition for six months or, say, two years, the disability insurance carrier may claim they’ve looked at your social media profiles and found your story contradictory. They may even dig up a loan document you’d submitted where you’ve failed to mention any sicknesses or injuries. Even though it may have been an honest mistake or a misunderstanding, the insurance carrier will present this one little piece of information as proof of inconsistency in what you’re claiming. 

Moreover, if they get any inconsistent statements from your treating doctor, that could be a big issue. They do call the treating doctor, so it’s very important that your physician is adequately prepared. Your treating doctor must understand your occupational duties as a consultant; often, they do not, and that can result in a major roadblock. A disability insurance attorney will educate you on how to speak to your doctor so they understand what needs to be presented in the medical records and what to tell the insurance company when they inevitably call. In fact, it’s best to have the insurance carrier submit their questions to your doctor in writing so that there is no room for interpretation or misunderstandings.

Your disability insurance lawyer will work with the doctors and assist in the process to make sure there are no inconsistencies and that the doctors have full information and a complete picture at their disposal. 

We all know that doctors are busy people. We’ve seen cases where an in-house insurance company doctor sends a letter to the treating doctor, but they fail to reply. Then, the insurance company doctor may say, “We have reviewed the records, and if we do not get a response, we will find that you agree with our position”. All the while, the claimant has no idea, and the disability insurance claim ends up in denial, although this sort of mistake can be easily avoided.

We have seen this countless times: the big disability insurance carriers like UNUM, Hartford, MetLife, Cigna, New York Life, and the like insure some of the world’s biggest management and consulting firms. Here at Dell Disability Lawyers, we have extensive knowledge and experience of how to prepare solid long-term disability insurance benefits claim for consultants so they aren’t getting denied on a technicality or because they haven’t prepared well. 

We recommend browsing this site for more information on your specific disabling condition, insurance carrier, or occupation and using our resources to educate yourself on how to best prepare your claim. We have summarized hundreds of lawsuits, client reviews, and specific questions you may have to help you arm yourself with the best tools possible.

Alternatively, reach out for an initial free phone consultation. One of our experienced disability insurance attorneys will evaluate your case and let you know what we think of your claim and how we can best help you maximise the benefits under your policy. We serve clients all over the country, and we will do our best to get your benefits paid.

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I had my disability cut off the day I was scheduled to find out whether I should have surgery. The claims examiner was aware that I had an appointment on that date and sai... read more >
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Reviewed by Becky H. THOMAS on February 12th 2024   Verified Policyholder | February 2024 date of disability
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Thank you for your review of Hartford and we appreciate you sharing.  It’s sad they don’t take care of their own employees.

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Our goal is to get your application for disability income benefits approved. Applying for disability insurance 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 disability insurance lawyers will guide you through the entire application process and give you the best chance to get your disability claim approved the first time.

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If your disability insurance benefits have been wrongfully denied, then our disability insurance 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 attorneys for a free immediate review of your disability denial.

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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.

Prevent A Disability Benefit Denial

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 disability insurance 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.

Negotiate a Lump-Sum Settlement

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 disability insurance 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.

Questions About Hiring Us

Who are Dell Disability Lawyers?

We are disability insurance attorneys 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 attorneys have been able to either get our clients paid monthly disability benefits or obtain a one-time lump-sum settlement. Our disability insurance 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 offer disability insurance attorney representation nationwide and we welcome you to contact any of our lawyers 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 850 videos and regularly provide tips to help protect your disability benefits.

Who do you help?

Our disability insurance attorneys 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 insurance 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, or video conferencing sessions. 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 insurance 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.

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