Long-term disability (LTD) claims are often initially denied, so it's important not to panic if your benefits aren't immediately approved. Your attorney can help you prepare an appeal by stacking the administrative record with as much favorable evidence as possible.
Including all applicable evidence at this step of the process is key because the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) law does not allow you to submit new evidence if you exhaust your insurer's internal appeals and decide to sue in federal court. This is one reason why experts recommend seeking legal assistance as soon as possible, since an attorney's services are limited when no new evidence can be added.
Attention to detail is a tremendous asset in preparing an LTD appeal. You should inquire what documents were used to deny your claim and check this list against your own records to see if anything is missing. Oversights can happen for a variety of reasons, ranging from inexperienced plan administrators to simple carelessness. In any case, you don't want to be penalized for the error.
Additional Test Results
Objective evidence is more valuable in an LTD claim than subjective descriptions of your symptoms. Further testing, such as blood tests, X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, may be able to support your case.
Written Doctor's Opinion
Your treating care provider should be able to prepare a written description of your condition and how it affects your ability to continue working. To maximize the effectiveness of this letter, your attorney can provide questions for the provider to answer.
Expert witnesses are often overlooked by individuals who try to handle LTD claims on their own. For example, a vocational expert can provide testimony describing what types of jobs you can do given your current impairments. This is particularly helpful if you have a policy defining disability as the inability to engage in any paid employment instead of only being unable to complete your current job.
The dedicated legal team at Gibbons Leis, PLLC has extensive experience with ERISA law and access to a network of expert witnesses for your appeal. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation case evaluation.