Whether you’re considering filing a long term disability insurance claim with Northwestern Mutual, have recently received a denial letter, or are just hoping to keep your current monthly disability benefits, it’s a good idea to do your homework before you contact Northwestern. This disability insurance carrier has a reputation for being fair – especially when compared to some of the other biggest names in disability insurance – but is also incredibly thorough when reviewing disability insurance claims, which can make it tough to qualify for benefits. Below, you’ll find some tips that the attorneys at Dell & Schaefer have learned while helping claimants recover disability income benefits from Northwestern Mutual.
Northwestern is typically one of the more reasonable disability companies, but their attention to detail can make claim approval challenging at times for claimants.
Some disability insurers tend to deny claims as a matter of course, digging more deeply into the claim form only after the claimant has filed an appeal. Northwestern Mutual isn’t one of these companies – it will carefully consider a claim, but this careful consideration can sometimes make it tougher to get a disability insurance claim approved. Before submitting your claim to Northwestern, you’ll want to make sure that your claim form, medical records, and attending physician statement are as comprehensive and detailed as possible, as this will improve your odds of approval.
How does a claimant make sure that their medical records are meeting the requirements expected by Northwestern Mutual?
Simply visiting your doctor more often isn’t the end of the application process. It’s important to not only have accurate and up-to-date medical records but also to have medical records (or doctor’s written statements) that specify the physical and mental limitations you’re facing. If you’re unable to stand for long periods of time, lift more than a certain amount of weight, or perform other duties that are essential to your job, your medical records need to spell this out in detail to prove to Northwestern Mutual that you’re entitled to disability benefits under the terms of your long term disability policy.
A symptom log or a pain journal and sharing it with your doctor is a great way to make sure your medical records remain strong.
Another way to supplement your medical records is to complete a symptom log, pain journal, or another contemporaneous record of what you’re experiencing. Many disabling conditions tend to wax and wane, and you don’t want your abilities and limitations to be judged by your best day when your normal level of functioning tends to fall a bit below that.
Attending physician statements must be completed strategically and with detail.
One of the most important components of a disability application is the attending physician statement. This is a statement from your main doctor that details your medical history, current condition and symptoms, and the limitations your disability has created. An attending physician’s statement can often read like a story, giving Northwestern a comprehensive overview of how your disability developed and how it impacts your daily life.
Going beyond the limited space in a Northwestern Mutual claim form can be very helpful, but you must have a reason for any expanded answers – and you must be balanced in your answers.
Like many disability insurance companies, Northwestern Mutual offers a pre-printed attending physician statement; however, this document often doesn’t include enough room for the physician to explain in detail how your disability impacts you. If you’re finding this to be the case, don’t be afraid to type or write up more information in an addendum – just make sure you don’t exaggerate, as a well-balanced answer can provide you with better odds of disability insurance claim approval.
At Dell & Schaefer, our experienced attorneys handle every step of a long term disability claimant’s claim with Northwestern Mutual, helping claimants secure and maintain their disability benefits over the long haul. If you’re ready to get started or have questions about your claim, give us a call today to set up your FREE consultation with a member of our legal team.