Millions of Americans live with chronic conditions that can’t be seen – so-called “invisible” disabilities. When an injury or illness not readily apparent keeps someone from working, their employer’s long-term disability (LTD) plan may cover their condition.
However, just because it’s covered doesn’t mean the insurance company administering the plan will approve LTD benefits. Sadly, people with invisible disabilities often have a much more difficult time proving their case than for someone who uses a wheelchair.
Types of invisible chronic conditions
Also called “hidden” disabilities, many of these conditions keep people from working and earning a living. While not all invisible conditions result in long-term disability, many people cannot perform their duties. The Center for Disability Rights offers the following examples:
- Mental health conditions
- Crohn’s disease
- Bipolar disorder
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sleep disorders and anxiety
Disability rights advocates say employers often penalize people with these conditions or others – labeling them as being lazy or unreliable. Peers or friends may doubt their health claims simply because the effects are not clearly evident.
Filing an LTD claim
If you have an invisible disability, the first thing to do is check your employer’s LTD plan to see if it’s on the list. Remember that medical evidence and detailed, extensive corroboration from medical professionals is essential when submitting your claim.
Consulting an experienced ERISA law attorney can help avoid denials or appeal rejected claims. While insurers can and will deny claims for any reason, simple mistakes in the initial paperwork result in many rejections. A lawyer specializing in LTD claims understands insurer tactics and what’s needed to help you get the benefits you deserve under your company’s plan.