• How Long Do You Have To Be Out Of Work To Apply for Disability?

How Long Do You Have To Be Out Of Work To Apply For Long Term Disability?

One common question we’re asked here at Dell & Schaefer is, “exactly how long a disabled claimant needs to be out of work before they can apply for long term disability insurance benefits?” The answer can vary from case to case based on a disability insurance claimant’s unique circumstances, and there’s no one-size-fits-all response. Learn more about the factors used to determine how long a disability insurance claimant should be out of work before applying for disability insurance benefits, as well as how long you can expect a decision to take.

Factors That Apply To How Long A Disability Insurance Claimant Needs To Be Out of Work Before Applying for Benefits

There are several factors to be considered when deciding when to file a claim under a long term disability (LTD) policy. These include:

In many cases, it’s better to file sooner than later for disability insurance benefits, especially if you ultimately wind up appealing a disability insurance claim that’s denied. However, because filing a claim for long term disability insurance benefits can launch an investigative process that involves multiple phone calls, requests for information, and even video surveillance to see whether the claimant is exaggerating their disability, some claimants want to delay this process as long as they can, hoping they’ll instead be able to return to their job.

When To Put The Insurance Company On Notice That You May Be Applying For Benefits

In some cases, particularly those implicating short term disability policies, the terms of the claimant’s employment require the claimant to notify their employer before going out on leave. For example, if an employee is pregnant or planning a knee replacement surgery, they may be required to notify their company that they’re going to be out of the office for a certain period.

But how much advance notice is required to the disability insurance company? And is it always required? Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to think of putting your LTD insurance company on notice if you’re getting close to using all your paid time off or if you’re not sure how long you’ll be out on disability leave. Even if a long term disability policy has an elimination period of 90 or 180 days (meaning this is how long a claimant will need to be disabled before they become eligible for long term disability benefits), a claimant often can benefit by getting the ball rolling before the 90 days elapses, working to ensure their disability claim can begin being paid immediately upon approval.

Disability Insurance Companies Rarely Make a Claim Decision In Under 60 Days

Even if your disability insurance carrier has all the documentation and data it needs to decide on a particular LTD claim, claimants shouldn’t hold their breath that such a decision will arrive within 60 days. Carriers often take their time on this initial determination and may do everything from conducting video surveillance of the claimant to contacting their doctors to see whether there’s any basis on which to deny the disability insurance claim. By essentially stalling the case, the insurance carrier may be able to increase the financial pressure on the disability insurance claimant (whose paid time off may have expired some time ago) and see whether the claimant can return to work.

If you need help navigating the when’s and how’s of your long term disability insurance claim, contact Dell & Schaefer to set up your FREE consultation with a disability insurance attorney today.

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Questions About Hiring Us

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 telephone, e-mail, fax, GoToMeeting.com 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 800-682-8331 or by email. Lawyer 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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