Preparing to request long-term disability can be difficult when you have a degenerative condition. Most conditions start out slowly and worsen over time. This means that you may have been diagnosed, but you will not begin to see issues in your work capabilities for another few years. So when is the right time to request long-term disability benefits? How should you do it? What do you need to do beforehand? Here are a few tips to take into consideration before making your claim:
ARRANGE YOUR FINANCES AND PLAN AHEAD
Long-term disability is designed to provide you with a majority of your income, but it is only a partial replacement. Your benefits may also be taxable. These two factors mean that your income is going to be a lot less substantial than what you are accustomed to currently. Try to put aside some income while you are still working to help ease your transition. However, we do understand that this can be difficult due to any medical costs that may arise as your condition progresses. Make any budget decisions you may need ahead of time and be prepared for whatever may come.
RESEARCH YOUR POLICY
It’s important to know the details of your Summary Plan Description and have a physical copy of your entire insurance plan. If you do not have a copy, you will need to request one from someone in your Human Resources department. Disclosing the details of your condition may help protect you while you seek long-term disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
UNDERSTAND YOUR POLICY
Policies are full of little details and exceptions that you need to be aware of. For example, some policies limit the amount of time you will be able to receive payment. Other policies dictate what their definition of “disability” is and approve people based on that definition. Also, check to see what your benefits may be and what the maximum benefit claim is. Plans will typically pay until you reach 65, or when Social Security begins to pay to help with retirement. Bring your policy to meet with your attorney so he or she may able to understand the guidelines.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR
If you feel as though your condition is progressing, ask your doctor if he or she believes you are still able to work. If your doctor believes you are no longer capable of working safely, he or she will likely be willing to provide documentation of this. This can help your chances of success when filing your claim. If you are denied, your attorney will be able to use this information to help your case.
KNOW WHEN TO MAKE THE CLAIM
With a degenerative condition, it can be difficult to choose the ideal time to make the disability claim. We understand the hardships that come with accepting your inability to perform the work you were performing before. However, make sure you do not wait too long to make the claim. If you do not discuss your condition with your employer, your management may not be aware that your performance will be decreasing. Don’t risk losing your job because you are too proud to make a claim!
When you are ready for long-term disability help, contact the attorneys at The ERISA Law Center. Call us today for a free consultation.