If you hold an individual or group long term disability insurance policy through Lincoln Financial and are thinking of making a disability insurance claim, there are some important procedures and steps any disability insurance claimant should know. These steps often aren’t intuitive, and a single misstep can cause your disability claim to be denied. This article will discuss the ins and outs of applying for long term disability benefits with Lincoln Financial and how the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer can help.
The First Step is to Understand Your Disability Policy Language
Each disability insurance policy can be a bit different, even those issued by the same disability insurance carrier. The first and most important step is to see how your policy defines “disability.” Is a claimant disabled when they can no longer perform their current job, or only if they can no longer perform any job? By knowing what level of disability Lincoln Financial will be looking for when evaluating your claim, you’ll have a better idea of what medical and occupational evidence you’ll need to prevail in your disability benefits claim.
When is the Best Time to File Your Lincoln Financial Disability Benefits Claim?
Because of the timing issues discussed above, there are things to have in place before filing your disability insurance benefits claim with Lincoln Financial to ensure your disability is adequately documented. In some cases, claimants may assume that it’s better to get their long term disability paperwork rolling and then seek treatment for their disabling injury or illness. But once Lincoln begins to review the claim, they see no medical records documenting the disability before the claim was filed, and can reject it for that reason alone. On the other side of the coin, if a disability insurance claimant who has been working with a disability for some time finally decides they just can’t do it anymore, Lincoln may ask, “what changed?” Having adequate medical records that show the progression of a disabling condition over time can make any disability claim stronger.
A Disability Insurance Claim is Only as Good as it Looks on Paper
Lincoln Financial disability insurance claims don’t involve the same back-and-forth seen in legal dramas on TV. In almost all cases, the disability insurance claim will be decided almost exclusively on a paper record, without the benefit of witness testimony. If your medical record is fairly thin, your disability insurance attorney may recommend building it up by seeking additional treatment, documenting your complaints more thoroughly with your doctor, or going for an occupational examination to see whether other careers may be available.
Lincoln Disability Insurance Claim Forms are Generic and Addendums Should Be Used
Lincoln Financial provides disability insurance claim forms designed for claimants to complete on their own, without legal assistance. But because these forms are generic and can’t always capture the information needed to decide your claim, it’s important to use addendums that concisely set forth any additional relevant facts to ensure the administrative record is as comprehensive as it can be.
Selecting the Date of Disability is an Extremely Important Factor for Claim Approval
If you succeed in your claim for disability benefits, you’ll generally be offered payments back-dating to the date of disability and then adding the required elimination period. This means it’s key to select a date of disability that reflects when you were no longer able to perform your occupation (even if you could still drive, travel, or engage in other activities). An experienced disability attorney can help you sift through your medical records, notes, and other documents to better target an accurate disability date.
Dell & Schaefer has helped hundreds of claimants apply for disability benefits with Liberty Mutual. We’re familiar with the process, what Lincoln Financial looks for, and what you’ll need to prove to be approved for disability benefits. Schedule your FREE consultation today to learn more about your options or discuss your claim with a member of our experienced network of disability insurance attorneys.