Long Term Disability (LTD) and Short Term Disability (STD) are disability insurance policies offered through your employer.
If your employer doesn’t offer this insurance, skip this article and go have a nice snack.
If your employer offers disability insurance, you are very lucky. Private insurance decisions are sometimes much quicker than Social Security disability. Some people are able to start collecting disability right away, instead of having to wait months or years.
On the other hand, you are also a bit unlucky, because you are going to have to wade into the stormy, thorny and unpredictable waters of private disability insurance companies. If you learn a bit about how these insurance plans work, the next few years of your life may be a lot easier and a lot better.
If you are still working or still employed now, here’s a few very important things you need to know: How to Avoid Getting Screwed Over if Your Employer Offers Disability Insurance
Please Read Your Policy
As you read the rest of this page, you will come across several million reasons why reading your policy is a good idea. Some people wait and do not read their policy until months or years after they apply, and then discover some very unhappy surprises. It will be a great help to you if you can get a copy now to read.
Asking for Your Policy
You can ask the person or department who handles Human Resources at your job for a copy of your Long Term Disability policy and Short Term Disability policy. Or you may be able to get a copy through your disability insurance company. Sometimes people feel afraid, shy or embarrassed to ask for their policy. As an employee, you have a right to see your policy and to know what it says. You do not need to offer an explanation why you are requesting this. You have the right to be informed about your benefits.
Avoid Getting Capped
After you read your policy, you will discover that many policy will cap certain conditions and try to automatically cut you off after two years. Obviously, you would rather avoid this. How to Avoid Getting Capped
If you are appealing your case, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer. Most disability lawyers do not handle Long Term Disability claims. You will need to find someone who specializes in Long Term Disability (also called “erisa” claims). Learn more about Where to Find a Lawyer for LTD
Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
If you have Fibro, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or a related condition, there are a few important things you need to know about Applying for Long Term Disability for Chronic Pain and Chronic Fatigue
Social Security Disability
It’s important to also apply for Social Security disability. Very important. It’s better not to wait. Here’s some Tips for Applying for Both Social Security and Long Term Disability
Some of our readers on Long Term Disability report that having a supportive doctor is critical. For many insurance companies, there is quite a bit of paperwork for the doctor to fill out, and a supportive doctor can make a big difference. How to Find a Doctor to Help With Disability Documentation
Sometimes the insurance company will send a doctor and important form and only give ten days to respond. It’s a good idea to stay in touch about forms. Some readers report that they had success by getting copies of all forms themselves, bringing them to the doctor, sitting with the doctor while they get filled out, and then mailing them to the insurance company by certified mail.
Proving You Cannot Work
Many LTD policies start by asking you to prove that you can no longer work at your current job. Then at some point they switch to asking you to prove you cannot work any job. This is called “own occupation” and “any occupation.” If you are trying to prove own occupation, you may find it helpful to read some of Peony’s tips on How to Prove You Cannot return to your current job
Common regrets reported by our readers:
Being Too Friendly – Those nice people from the from the insurance company that call you on the phone or want to drop by your house and check on you, those are not your friends. They may send people to videotape or photograph you outside your home. They may follow you on social media and use your photos or writing as evidence against you. They will also read your medical records and any statements you have ever made about your employer or job or your personal life may be considered.
Talking Too Much – The LTD company may also call you and record what you say and use it against you. When in doubt, many questions can be answered by saying, “I am following my doctor’s medical recommendation on this matter.” (as long as you actually are following your doctor’s medical recommendation on this matter). You can also refer them to your medical records for more answers.
Making Bad Decisions at The Doctor’s Office – The decisions you make, and the things you say, and the things you do right now may turn out to have a big impact on you later. How to Go to the Doctor Without Regret
Facebook Group – Great group: Long Term Disability and Worker’s Compensation Support Group
Videos – This law office has created an interesting collection of videos and stories about each different Long Term Disability Company. In the comments, people tell you what they really think about each one!
Articles – Attorney Scott Davis has written this excellent series of articles with tips for improving your chances of winning Long Term Disability claims. He practices in Arizona and Nevada.
The Whistleblower – Linda Nee has an excellent blog that some of our readers have found helpful. She used to work for a Long Term Disability company.
Tips from Readers:
“Keep copies of all office visits, tests, procedures etc. I have FOUR large binders. My insurance company conveniently states they aren’t getting records from my doctors. So I personally mail everything requiring a signature even when I’m confident they already received and sitting on someone’s desk.”
“Always request and collect full records with treatment notes – not online records or visit summaries. To get treatment notes, you have to sign forms and pay money.”
Updated January 2019. Please comment below with stories, questions, input or ideas. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working. If you found this page helpful, please use one of these magic buttons to share this post on Facebook or Twitter: