New York Life recently purchased Cigna, making it one of the top three largest disability insurance carriers in the country. As a result, New York Life now handles both individual and group long term disability policies, and these two types of disability insurance policies can be treated very differently. But regardless of whether you have an individual or group long term disability policy through New York Life (or formerly through Cigna), we want to put you in the best position to protect your long term disability insurance benefits once your application has been approved.
Our immediate concerns when a New York Life disability insurance claimant contacts us?
Whenever someone who is already on claim with New York Life contacts us, the most important question is, “how long have you been receiving benefits?” After 24 months of paying benefits, New York Life – like most long term disability insurance carriers – will shift the definition of disability from “own occupation” to “any occupation.” This means that a claimant who previously was considered disabled because they could no longer perform their original occupation now will be considered disabled only if they can no longer perform any occupation, even a very sedentary one. Many claimants aren’t able to meet this stricter standard and will see their benefits terminate after around two years.
What must be in the medical records to support a New York Life Long Term Disability claim?
The medical records are the foundation of a successful long term disability insurance claim – and at the end of the day, your disability insurance claim is only as good as it looks on paper. If your visits to your doctor have become infrequent or your medical records no longer back up the symptoms you’ve listed in your claim application, New York Life may look back through your recent medical history and decide that there is no longer enough support to continue your disability insurance benefits.
This means that it’s not always enough just to have a record of a recent doctor’s visit; how you communicate with your doctor will dictate what information makes it into your medical record. Part of the claim assistance we provide at Dell & Schaefer includes helping claimants (and their doctors) properly document their symptoms and limitations to include exactly the information New York Life is looking for.
Always answer every question truthfully and balance between telling them too much or too little.
While it’s important to be up-front about the symptoms you’re experiencing, it can also be a fine line to walk. Almost nothing can terminate a claimant’s benefits more quickly than evidence that the claimant has exaggerated their symptoms or overstated their limitations in order to qualify for disability insurance benefits. And don’t assume you won’t be caught – New York Life often performs video surveillance on disability insurance claimants and has ramped up its social media surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Engaging in activities your medical records or application papers say you can’t do can be risky, even if you’re only able to perform these activities because you’re having a good day. Instead, it’s a better idea for your disability insurance application to provide some nuance as to when and how you can perform certain tasks. The definition of disability is based on the applicant’s ability to work full-time – and being able to do particular tasks every now and then isn’t the same as being able to do them for 40 hours a week, so you shouldn’t worry that your disability benefits will be terminated on this basis alone.
At Disability Insurance Attorneys Dell & Schaefer, we know the long term disability insurance game like no other and can help you navigate the system. Don’t put your long term disability benefits at risk – give us a call today to schedule your FREE consultation with one of our long term disability insurance attorneys.