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How long is the disability insurance company required to pay once my disability claim is approved?

Disability attorney Gregory Dell discusses how long a claimant will receive disability insurance benefits once their disability claim is approved.

A lot of claimants who get approved for long-term disability will get a letter from the disability carrier that will say that, “We’ve approved your long-term disability claim and you have the potential to receive benefits until age 65.” The key in those letters is that it says “you have the potential to receive benefits to age 65.” A long-term disability carrier evaluates your claim for benefits on a month-to-month basis. So while you’re approved one month, you could just as easily be denied the next month.

Just this week, we received two phone calls from one disability claimant that had been on benefit for 20 years and was getting hassled with their disability benefit, and another one that has been on claim for 25 years. So the unfortunate thing with these long-term disability claims is that at any given time, the long-term disability carrier can make the determination that they no longer believe that you’re eligible for benefits. If you have any questions about the handling of your long-term disability claim, feel free to call us.

There are 12 opinions so far. Add your comment below.


I have two (2) questions. I was approved for LTD benefits through The Hartford August 2010 and they approved me under the “mental health” policy which has a maximum lifetime benefit of 24 months. At the time I sent additional paperwork to them outlining my medical condition which is AIDS related. Since I have been approved in August, I have had several epidural steroid injections to my spine, a series of sinus infections leading up to a sinus surgery last year and other medication side effect related illnesses. My psychiatrist and therapist believes I have enough physical ailments to qualify for LTD under the medical policy. I have had two back surgeries (laminectomy 2005, and spinal fusion 2008) and I continue to have issues. My back surgeon now is talking about implanting a battery operated device with wires along the spine to stimulate and “shock” the nerve so the brain interprets pain differently. It won’t be total relief but I might get some relief. I also have a condition called avascular necrosis in my hip joint which basically means the bone is not getting blood and is collapsing. I will need surgery for this too. A hip resurfacing or replacement surgery. In addition to my primary internal medicine doctor I have so many different specialists (ENT-sinus, gastroenterologist-abdomen issues, immunologist-HIV/AIDS, orthopaedic surgeon-back, orthopaedic-hip, therapist-depression/anxiety, psychiatrist-depression/anxiety, dermatologist-skin issues/rashes, and physical therapist). I take 15 different medications a day. I have side effects from side effects. Zero energy at all.

Question #1 – Can I request to submit documentation to have my case changed to “medical” so it can continue beyond 24 months if I still need coverage? Is it more difficult since I started under the mental policy? I have an appointment scheduled with my primary care doctor and I will ask for her support with filing/updating the claim. She has been my doctor for 11 years now. I would like to use her as a central point of contact to collect information from my immunologist, orthopaedics, and any others she may need to show all of my illnesses and conditions are due to my immune system challenges.

Question #2 – I was approved for SSDI benefits August of 2010 and I’m not sure whether I sent my case worker the information or not. I’ve had a rough year. I contacted her this week to ask if she had the information because it seemed to good to be true that I would get to keep both amounts. I know I will have an over-payment somewhere in the neighborhood of $19,000. I probably have $12,000 of it right now. How difficult is it to work out repayment plans with LTD companies, in general? If the majority is paid could they use any amount owed as a reason to deny or drop my claim? Losing medical benefits now would be devastating and would in all honestly be the end of the road for me… literally.

Thank you for your time and help. I appreciate your firm offering this forum to potential clients.


Attorney Greg Dell:

JD, without seeing your policy and without representing you I cannot provide specific answers, but here is some general information that may help. At anytime during a disability claim you can submit information about all of your medical records. The disability company is required to consider the information and determine if it is disabling. If you are disabled by a physical condition before the 2 year period ends, then you should be entitled to continued benefits. A claimant in your situation must plan appropriately to get past the 24 month limitation. We assisted numerous clients in your situation. The companies will often work with you on an overpayment repayment. In many cases they will deduct the overpayment from your monthly benefit check.


I was approved for my longterm disability benefits in Jan. 2010, thru Jan 2012, I was approved for social security disability in 2011, am I still entitled to receive my longterm disability until 2012?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Deanise, long term disability benefits are evaluated by most disability companies on a monthly basis. A disability company can deny disability benefits at any time.

Max Robertson:

I was involved in a work related accident on Aug. 2007. Since then I’ve had two back surgeries, one laminectomy and a spinal fusion which both were unsuccessful. I receive worker’s comp. and SSI benefits at this time. I did receive LTD for two years then I was dropped. I take about 20 meds every day for paid sleep disorder, high blood, pressure, muscle relaxants, diabetes, depression, anxiety. I’ve also had 4 knee surgeries. My doctor is saying I can’t go back to work and they are still denying my LTD benefits. Is there a way to fight to regain my LTD benefits back? If I don’t settle my worker’s comp. case I would like to have some kind of income coming in besides my SSI. Can anyone help?

Attorney Greg Dell:


As long as there is still time for you to appeal the disability denial or file a lawsuit, then you can still fight for your benefits. There are specific time limits that apply to every disability claim and must be complied with in order to pursue a claim denial.


I was approved for LTD on January 16th and I still have not got a check. My rep calls me every Monday and says it will be signed next week. Then next week comes and same thing. I was on STD for 3 months. Very easy and approved fast. Once a all my extra paperwork was sent in. It got sent to medical for review. My rep called and said I am approved 2.5 months ago. But now when I call he never answers and I have to leave a voicemail. He told me once it was approved his supervisor had 7-10 days to sign it. That was last Friday March 21st. He assured me it would be signed no later then Friday. He called me yesterday and said his supervisor told him it would be another week before she can even look at it. I think what they are doing is pushing back and back since I return to work April 11th. Is that legal to push back over and over so when I return to work on 4/11. They won’t have have to pay me since I am back at work before the final review is done. I have not got any money since January 16th. Is this legal what they are doing because the check they owe me is $8363. And then again April 10th for $2850. I’m afraid that will keep pushing back until I go to work so they don’t have to pay me. But my DR told me that have to pay me back pay since I’ve been approved since January. Please help me understand what is going on and if this practice is legal. I spoke with my HR dept and they do not know if this is legal or not.

David in Florida

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


I believe we spoke on the phone about your situation. Please keep me apprised of what the ultimate outcome is.


I am on an approved LT disability claim but am still technically employed. Since it’s been about 2 years that I’ve been on STD then LTD, and am preparing for another surgery, I believe my employer plans to either terminate me or lay me off soon. Does the claim end if employment ends? I’m unclear about this and am afraid to ask the LTD company, Liberty Mutual. Thanks.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:


No. Your entitlement to benefits under the policy will always go back to the date of disability. If you were covered under the policy at that time you went on disability (which you were given the fact they have been paying you) and you are still on disability at the date of termination of employment your rights under the policy will not be terminated if/when your employment ends.


I currently have SSDI and LTD. I’m thinking of taking my retirement early as I don’t think I will be alive in 7 years and I need to pay for funeral plans which I don’t have much money to pay for anything extra. If I take my retirement does it cancel my LTD. I will never be able to return to work.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Diana, your retirement would likely further decrease your disability benefit (as SSDI does). Have you considered trying to negotiate a lump sum buyout with the carrier in order to try to maximize the policy and your retirement? If you are interested in discussing options as to same please feel free to contact our office to discuss.

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