Riders expand the scope of disability insurance

By Mark Ameigh

By virtually any measure, disability insurance coverage is an essential part of a fully developed financial protection program.

However, advisors need to consider many potential disability scenarios when determining the structure of the coverage for each client.

That is where riders come in. The extent to which the disability policy will provide benefits in any given situation may be determined by the riders added to the base contract. Consider the following examples:

Partial Disabilities and Residual Riders. Many disabilities involve a period of total disability followed by a gradual recovery that may include a return to work on a part-time basis.

In these situations, there are two parts to disability recovery: medical and financial. If the medical recovery means that a person only can return to work on a part-time basis, there is likely to be a financial loss resulting from part-time pay. Residual riders pay benefits for partial disabilities that result in a loss of income.

The best residual riders will pay benefits even if a claimant is working full time, as long as he or she can demonstrate that a loss of income is a residual effect of the disability.

This type of coverage is most important to fee-for-service professionals whose income may recover more slowly than their health. This happens when a claimant returns to full-time work, but payments for the services he or she performs lag months behind the point at which the service was provided.

Extraordinary Medical Expenses and Catastrophic Disabilities Riders. Every disability presents a financial challenge. The most severe disabilities can create a large financial burden. When a person is disabled to the degree that he or she is unable to perform the normal activities of daily living – such as getting out of bed, taking a bath and self-feeding – there may be a need for care and assistance that is not covered by medical insurance or even social insurance programs. The result can be a set of extraordinary expenses that are piled on top of the regular expenses of daily living – food, clothing, shelter and other necessities.

The catastrophic disability benefit riders provide additional monthly benefits to help cover these expenses.

In general, these riders pay benefits when an insured has a disability that leaves the person unable to perform two or more activities of daily living without the assistance of another person. Benefits are also payable if the insured is cognitively impaired. The benefit trigger for catastrophic disability benefits is virtually the same as that in long term care insurance. However, most catastrophic riders pay a flat monthly indemnity amount and do not require a plan of care or proof of any care expenses being incurred.

Pension Contributions and Retirement Protection Riders. While certain employer-sponsored programs (such as health insurance and group LTD coverage) may continue during a period of disability, employer contributions to a qualified retirement plan will stop. Disabled employees cannot continue personal 401(k) contributions, either. Future retirement benefits are likely to be reduced due to the interruption or complete termination of qualified plan contributions.

Retirement protection riders are an innovative form of coverage now available with some individual disability policies. The amount of coverage available under these riders is based on annual contributions to qualified retirement programs.

At time of disability, the benefits are usually paid to an irrevocable trust rather than to the insured. While the insured does not receive the benefits directly, he or she can direct the investment of the trust assets. At normal retirement age, the accumulated value of the trust is paid out to the insured.

Each of the above riders covers a distinct risk associated with disability. A basic disability policy that addresses only a total disability scenario is a great starting point for most clients. But by adding one or more of the riders, the advisor can expand the scope of protection to address a range of disability scenarios and financial problems a particular client might have.

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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.


Bruce R. (Arizona)

Steve Dell has done an exceptional job with my disability application process. The firm is extremely well managed. They have acquired an incredible amount of experience over many years. I recommend them for disability insurance claims without reservation. 

Don (Florida)

I called this firm a few months ago completely disparaged due to a company cutting off disability benefits at a time that nearly caused me to lose everything.

Attorney Alex Palmera and Danielle worked hard to reach an amicable settlement and my case was settled a few months later. This is a good firm and the specific expertise in disability claims saved me countless hours of hassle at a time when an already fragile state existed.

Thank you Mr. Palamara and Danielle.

Sandra B. (Arkansas)

I have nothing but good things to say about how my buyout was handled with my disability claim. The level of professionalism was amazing. All of my questions and concerns were answered either by Danielle L. or Alex P. in such a timely manner and with such care I would recommend them in a heartbeat to anyone needing to approach their provider with buyout options.

They did a fantastic job communicating between the provider and me, always keeping my best interest at heart and always answering my many many questions. They really did take most of the stress out of this whole situation. I would give them a 10 out of 10 for every step of this crazy journey. Thank you so much for helping me through this.

Brenda R. (New York)

I needed assistance with an appeal for a LTD claim that was initially denied. Stephen understood what needed to happen to win the appeal and he did win the appeal for me.

Michael C. (Virginia)

Greg Dell and his assistant Anneli have been extremely responsive and helpful, not only our initial consultations, but in follow-ups 1 and 2 years later with the insurance company to ensure that they comply with their agreements (which they did), as well as a separate and only slightly-related inquiry about our health insurance. I always hear back from them very quickly, which is rare and greatly appreciated.

Jeff P. (Oklahoma)

After a very long and frustrating ordeal to keep my LTD payments coming I decided to seek assistance from and attorney. After much research and asking those in the legal profession Dell & Schaefer seemed to be the top choice. I reached out and Alex Palamara was the attorney assigned to my case. All I can say is the experience was outstanding. Both Alex and his Paralegal, Danielle Lauria were excellent to work with. They were very kind, concerned, understanding of my frustrations and treated me with the utmost respect. Communication was excellent with regular updates and telling me what I could expect in each stage of the process.

Alex was also very straight forward with what to expect and no pie in the sky promises or expectations were made. In the end we won our case and I believe it was solely due to their experience and knowledge of not only the laws but the insurance companies as a whole. I would highly recommend them and am very grateful for the help they afforded to me.

Chad B. (Illinois)

I originally spoke with 3 other long term disability lawyers about my case before contacting Dell and Schaefer. None of those law firms would take it. They said the chances of me winning was not good. After finding Dell and Schaefer online I spoke with one of the attorneys that has since left. He did take my case but later it was picked up by Rachel Alters. Rachel is amazing and a very intelligent attorney. She not only won my case but also was able to get my back pay for 6 months.

I also cannot say enough about Sonia Nogueira. Sonia was always quick to answer any of my questions. I would usually hear back from her within hours of sending her a email. I do not know where I would be if I hadn’t contacted them. My family and I cannot thank them enough. Don’t let an insurance company tell you they are not responsible for paying you. I paid them for 20 years monthly and they looked for any reason they could not to have to pay me when I needed my benefit. Thank you Rachel and Sonia for all you guys do.

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