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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Disability Company Reviews
Showing 8 of 627 Reviews
Sun Life

What a mess

Reviewed by Unknown on September 12th 2023   Verified Policyholder | July 2020 date of disability
This place has no idea what day it even is. First they attach my claim to my previous claim in which was a new claim. They messed up and denied me then made me wait yet ag... read more >
Sent on September 12th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell

I am sorry to hear what you are experiencing. Make sure you deal with Sunlife writing and follow up every day. If you would like assistance please contact us.


I was disabled 2003 by SS. I got SSDI 7 years too late.

Reviewed by Bunny on August 9th 2023   Verified Policyholder
I believe if Sedgwick would have moved on my Claim. They absolutely did everything not to answer my calls, change dates. I had already been through WV comp. Ins. Sold out,... read more >

Only care about $$$$$

Reviewed by Allen Cox on August 8th 2023   Verified Policyholder | September 2013 date of disability
PLAY THEIR GAME FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE.....after getting a copy of the insurance policy from my HR. I nipped a lot of the headaches quickly by calling their bluff word for w... read more >
Sent on August 8th 2023 by Attorney Gregory Dell

Sorry to hear what you have been through. I am glad you fought back.


They falsify documents and avoid contact as much as possible.

Reviewed by Jeff Allsop on July 27th 2023   Verified Policyholder | February 2023 date of disability
They avoided sending the documents needed for the claim for two weeks. I had to escalate with a call from my company's HR and Sedgwick (the only way I was ever able to get... read more >

This company is a scam!

Reviewed by Hana K. on July 13th 2023   Verified Policyholder | December 2022 date of disability
The Hartford does not pay claims. The Hartford only collects premiums. The Hartford doesn’t care if you are terminally ill. I’ve been employed at my employer since 201... read more >

California State Disabilty "OFFSET" never mentioned or outlined when enrolling for STD coverage.

Reviewed by MartyG on June 29th 2023   Verified Policyholder | May 2023 date of disability
All terms and conditions of receiving a claim benefit not made available when enrolling. Hidden elements of eligibility... not fully transparent with issues that might eff... read more >

Not getting paid

Reviewed by Cezes on June 15th 2023   Verified Policyholder | March 2020 date of disability
I been battling Sedgwick about my claim. I was to get paid today and I did not get paid.Sledges is the worse company I ever had to deal with. I been fighting with my b... read more >

Sedgewich is the worst-immediate denial of all requests for treatment. Rubber stamps DENIED ALL RFA’s

Reviewed by J on May 31st 2023   Verified Policyholder | August 2023 date of disability
Sedgewich immediately denies all RFA. They’re ur team are THEMSELVES not a independent medical team…
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Who are Dell Disability Lawyers?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.