If your initial claim for long-term disability (LTD) benefits has been denied, you are legally entitled to file an administrative appeal. The length of time you have to file an appeal may vary according to the terms of your policy. However, most plans that are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) give you 180 days to file your appeal.
Preparing an Effective Appeal
If you haven't already contacted an attorney, it's vital that you do so before filing your appeal. Simply filling out the paperwork and asking the insurer to reconsider without providing any additional information will result in your claim being denied again.
An attorney familiar with ERISA law can review the terms of your specific LTD policy and help you gather evidence to stack the record in your favor. No new evidence is allowed if your case reaches the federal court, so you must take care to ensure that all applicable evidence is submitted for your appeal. This includes any missing medical records, additional test results, written doctor's opinions, and testimony from relevant experts. The more objective evidence you can provide to document how your disability affects your work performance, the more likely it is that your claim will be approved.
The High Cost of Procrastination
The stress of medical appointments, chronic pain, and the financial cost of your disability can make navigating your LTD claim seem overwhelming, but it's important to act quickly to protect your right to benefits. If you miss the deadline to file your appeal, you forfeit your right to sue your LTD insurance company in federal court. ERISA law states that you must use all of your administrative appeals before you are legally entitled to sue for benefits.
The earlier you take action on preparing your appeal, the more effective your attorney will be in building your claim. Gibbons Leis, PLLC has extensive experience with ERISA law and is committed to advocating for your rights throughout the LTD appeal process. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.