A Google search for the terms “disability” or “disability claim” tends to yield far more results for claims involving Social Security Disability (SSDI) than for private long term disability insurance. While both private disability and SSDI offer claimants a monthly stipend if they’re too disabled to work, many of the similarities end there. Learn more about some of the primary differences between a disability insurance lawyer and an SSDI lawyer.
The Differences Between a Disability Insurance Lawyer and a Social Security Disability lawyer
The answer to the question, What is the Difference Between a Disability Insurance Lawyer and a Social Security Disability Lawyer? Though they both provide benefits to disabled individuals, private long term disability insurance policies and the federal Social Security Disability program could not be more different – from when and how to file a claim to how long it takes for approval, the appeals process, the types of medical records that are needed to evaluate a claim, and even the operating definition of “disability.” Long term disability claimants can benefit from the services of an attorney with specific experience in the complex area of disability insurance law.
There Are Numerous Differences Between an SSDI and Disability Insurance Claim
Because SSDI is administered through the federal government, it bases its disability benefit calculations on a claimant’s work history and prior years’ earnings. Private long term disability insurance policies, on the other hand, generally pay out benefits as a percentage of the claimant’s salary at the time they became disabled.
SSDI uses the “any occupation” standard and will find a claimant disabled only if they’re unable to perform any gainful work (not just their former job). Individual disability insurance policies tend to use a more generous “your occupation” standard and will provide disability insurance benefits if the claimant can no longer perform their previous job duties.
Over 3 Million Annual Applications for SSDI Versus 160,000 Applications for Disability Insurance
Each year, more than 3 million Americans apply for SSDI, and around 10 to 15 percent of these applications are approved. On the other end of the spectrum, only about 160,000 individuals apply for private disability benefits each year, which means the private long term disability insurance bar is a far more niche group. Although some attorneys who mainly deal in SSDI claims can also handle a private disability insurance claim, the different standards, procedures, and deadlines can be tough to keep up with when you’re handling a volume business (as most SSDI attorneys are). Getting an attorney who specializes in private disability insurance claims can provide you with the expertise you need to secure your benefits.
The Proper Handling of a Disability Insurance Claim Requires a Lot of Time and Attention to Detail
Many disability insurance claims require hundreds of hours of work, from gathering documents to drafting lengthy motions and briefs. Even for those with some legal background, the sheer amount of documentation involved in a disability insurance claim can be overwhelming. A disability insurance attorney can quickly identify and sift through the information that will be most helpful to your claim. And because there are so many disability insurance companies, each with their own processes, procedures, and definitions, having a disability insurance attorney who has a working relationship with these companies can streamline the process.
Moreover, disability attorneys are aware of the short, sometimes obscure deadlines associated with long term disability litigation. Many disability insurance policies provide claimants with only 180 days to appeal a denial of benefits, and an disability insurance appeal that is even one day late may be summarily dismissed. SSDI, on the other hand, provides multiple “bites at the apple” by letting claimants continue to reapply even after their prior requests for benefits have been denied. And unfortunately, “my lawyer forgot to file this” won’t be a good enough excuse to reinstate your claim.
The Disability Insurance Companies Have More Resources and Provide a Higher Level of Claim Review
The SSDI program is administered by the federal government, which has no profit motive in granting or denying requests for disability benefits. But for a private disability insurance company, each dollar of a claim that is paid out is one less dollar for the company. This, combined with the insurance companies’ deep pockets, means that private disability claims tend to be subject to far more scrutiny than SSDI claims. It’s not unusual for private disability insurance companies to engage in video surveillance, monitor a claimant’s social media accounts, or even seek financial records to determine whether the claimant is really as disabled as they claim. Having a disability insurance attorney on your side can help protect your rights and allow you to fight back against allegations that you’re malingering or exaggerating your disability.
If you’re considering filing a claim under your long term disability insurance income policy, let the experienced disability attorneys at Dell & Schaefer help. Our firm operates in every state and we can quickly provide you with a FREE consultation to discuss your claim.