Becoming disabled can be a physically and emotionally traumatic thing to go through, and understanding what private disability insurance claims results to expect can help set your mind at ease.
Understanding Private Disability Insurance Claims Results
The first important step to understanding how the claims process works with private disability insurance is to first understand what disability insurance is. Private disability insurance is intended to replace a portion of your income in the event you become sick or injured and can't work for an extended period of time. There is both "short-term," and "long-term" insurance. This form of insurance is most often offered as a benefit of employment.
Short-Term versus Long-Term
The two types of disability insurance are short-term and long-term.
- Short-term disability is what first kicks in once you've used up all of your sick time. This benefit provides you with at least part of your income even though you aren't able to work. This form of insurance is intended to allow workers to fully recuperate from an injury or illness without tremendous hardship on the family.
- Long-term disability typically kicks in once the period defined in your benefits for short term disability is over. People who go on long-term disability are usually seriously ill and require a much longer recovery period, or they've concluded that going back to work will not be possible. Long-term disability payments are usually significantly less than short-term payments, and this is why most people who go on long-term disability typically apply for Social Security disability benefits as well. In fact, many disability insurance policies require you to apply to SSI.
How to Submit a Private Disability Claim
The process of submitting a disability claim to a private insurance company can often feel emotionally overwhelming. However, there are certain steps that you need to follow in order to insure that you receive the full benefits you're entitled to. The first and most important step is to read through your benefits policy and understand how the policy classifies "disability," and what procedures and deadlines exist. In addition to understanding your specific policy, the following are also the typical steps involved in submitting a disability claim.
- For several weeks before you quit work, keep a daily log of your symptoms and how it affects your daily life both at home and at work. Make a full list of how your disability hampers your ability to successfully complete the sort of tasks you're expected to do at your job.
- Once you leave work, file your disability claim before the deadline. Commonly, policies require that you file a claim within 30 days of the date you leave work. Since you may need to get your doctor involved in order to fill out the application, it's best to get started as soon as possible.
- Immediately schedule an appointment to see your doctor to discuss the severity and extent of your disability. Discuss your job tasks with your doctor to determine if she or he agrees that your disability makes it impossible for you to perform your job tasks. Make sure to provide your doctor with the list of symptoms that you created in the first step.
- Once you've submitted your claim you may face requests from your insurer for additional information from your doctor, or further medical tests. One of the most important pieces of advice all disability lawyers give their clients is to be very discrete what you share with the insurance company. It's important to keep in mind that the goal of many insurance companies is to find any reason to deny a claim. Be very careful what information you volunteer.
What Private Disability Insurance Claims Results to Expect
Once you've made it through the application process, you will receive an approval or a denial of your claim. Keep in mind at this stage that even if you receive a denial, you should not lose hope. A 2008 survey of disability income claimants by Harris Interactive revealed that 27 percent of claimants had difficulty getting their claim approved. However, the survey also revealed that even in those cases, three-quarters were able to get those problems resolved. The moral of the story is this: don't give up. And if you do find yourself overwhelmed, consider contacting a lawyer and letting him or her fight the battles with the insurance company for you. This way, you can focus on taking care of yourself and feeling better.
The Importance of Details
The most important thing you can do to make the disability claims process go as smoothly as possible is to carefully study your benefits and the rules and deadlines associated with the disability insurance. Read all correspondence that the insurance company mails to you and reply to all requests for additional information as promptly as possible. By staying on top of things and following up with the insurance company often during the claims process, you'll be far more likely to receive an approved claim in the end.