Depending on your long-term disability insurance to carry you through periods when you are physically ill or injured and unable to work should be a given. However, there are policies regarding your employer-sponsored disability benefits that you should thoroughly understand before assuming that that insurance is a dependable back-up. Some things that are imperative to know about your disability benefits include:
- The definition of “disabled” varies. Some insurance companies’ policies define it as the inability to perform your existing job duties; others define being disabled as being unable to perform ANY occupation’s duties. This definition is also likely to adjust after the two year mark with the probability of your disability benefits being terminated.
- There is usually a waiting period. Most plans have a built-in period of 90 to 180 days where you are not yet eligible to receive long-term disability benefits. This period is usually covered under your short-term disability benefits, where you must use up all of your employer-granted sick time and your short-term benefits before filing for long-term benefits.
- Your benefits may be taxable. The type of insurance policy you have makes all the difference when it comes to paying taxes on those benefits. If your policy was paid for by your employer, with pre-tax dollars then you should expect to have to pay taxes on your benefit payments. If you purchased an individual plan, then you’ll enjoy tax-free payments.
- Expect to be video-taped. When an insurance company is looking for evidence to use in order to deny or terminate benefits, they will hire investigators to follow and tape your actions. Be careful that your actions are in line with what you claim your disability to be. Be careful to not re-injure yourself or get your claim denied by lifting more than your doctor has allowed or doing anything strenuous.
- You’ll have to file for SSDI benefits also. Your insurance company is allowed to offset any benefits you receive from Social Security Disability Insurance against what they pay you. Expect to have to file for those benefits.
As ERISA lawyers, our sole purpose is to help you navigate through the very-complicated waters of ERISA law. By holding insurance companies to the benefits laid out within their own policies, we help our clients receive the benefits that they rightfully deserve.