When Is The Best Time To File A Long Term Disability Benefit Claim?

The answer to this question has a lot variables and it an issue that we help individuals determine on a daily basis. First, it is important to realize that each disability insurance company offers multiple long term disability policies containing different language. A close evaluation of the definition of “Disability” in relation to the activities a person is doing both in and out of work must take place. Every disability insurance policy defines “Disability” differently. Even if you have an “own occupation” disability definition, the interpretation of disability is a highly litigated topic. It is not as simple as saying, “I can’t do 50% of my responsibilities at work, therefore I am totally disabled”. The disability insurance company will conduct a quantitative vs. qualitative analysis of your work activities and determine if your reported medical limitations prevent you from working. In simple terms, the insurance company will try to say, “we think you can sit for more than four hours a day, therefore your restrictions and limitations do not support your inability to work.” This is typical statement we see in disability denial letters and it frustrates our lawyers every time. Fortunately our disability attorneys know what to do to put a claimant in the best possible position to obtain claim approval the first time.

Timing of a Disability Insurance Claim

Most long term disability policies require a person to be unable to work for at least 90 to 180 days before they are eligible for benefits. This is the “elimination period”. Many people suffer for months or years with a medical condition and they continue working without seeking medical treatment. These same people wake up one day in so much pain and want to immediately file a disability claim. This is a situation that will result in a claim denial 95% of the time. For people with chronic medical conditions, which is more than 75% of the LTD claims our lawyers see, it is essential to have a plan in place before even notifying the disability carrier. When it comes time to file an LTD claim, your disability claim is only as good as it looks “on paper”. The “on paper” I am referring to means medical record documentation of all your medical conditions. If you have a well documented medical history prior to filing a disability claim, then you have a high chance of claim approval. If you have very little medical documentation or poorly written medical records, then the chances of approval are more difficult.

When an individual contacts any of our disability insurance lawyers, we always want to know the medical history within the past 6-12 months and we want to see if your doctors have sufficiently documented your medical records. We work with you and your doctors to make sure that your medical records contain the information necessary for you to have the best chance for claim approval. This is a process that can take several months and unless you have a catastrophic medical condition, you must have strong historically documented medical support in order to get approved.

Our lawyers have worked with hundreds of claimants nationwide throughout the application process. We want to make sure our clients are doing everything possible to avoid a claim denial. The disability insurance companies have an advantage because the disability claimant has the burden to prove he or she is disabled. If you have poor medical support on paper, then you are giving the disability company the ability to deny you. Contact any of our long term disability lawyers and we will discuss how we could work with you and your doctors to obtain long term disability benefits.

Leave a comment or ask us a question


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.

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