Employee Retirement Income Security Act
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is the federal law that sets minimum standards and governs certain employee benefit plans. ERISA applies to most private sector companies and includes conditions for retirement plans and welfare benefit plans such as long-term disability, life and accidental death insurance claims.
Generally, ERISA applies to all long-term disability insurance policies that you receive through your employer. As part of your employee compensation, you should not hesitate to file a claim for disability benefits when necessary. ERISA does not require a private company to provide their employees with these plans but does establish minimal guidelines for employers.
Initially, ERISA was established to provide protections to the beneficiaries of these plans. Unfortunately, it often has the opposite effect by placing constraints on an employees ability to receive a “de novo,” or new, review of their case by a court should they be forced to file suit to obtain their benefits.
Hiring a Washington State Long-Term Disability ERISA Attorney
ERISA long-term disability appeals are complicated. Definitions of disability are found in the plan documents. Often, however, insureds do not possess a copy of the insurance documents and do not have a clear understanding of what benefits at issue. Obtaining a favorable determination without an attorney may be impossible under these circumstances. Invictus Legal Services represents long-term disability claimants on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid if the insured gets paid.
Submitting an ERISA Long-Term Disability Benefits Claim
Your disability insurance policy will have detailed instructions outlining how to file a claim. It is important that you adhere to deadlines and provide all documentation that is requested. Once you have filed your claim, the insurance provider has 45 days to notify you of its decision. The insurance provider may notify you that they require an extension of time to review your claim before they are able to make a decision. It is possible they will continue to advise you of extensions and that you will not receive a decision for 105 days. If your claim is denied, you will receive an explanation why and directions on how to file an appeal.
Appealing an ERISA Long-Term Disability Benefits Claim Denial
Once you have received the claim denial notice, it is imperative that you determine the time period your plan allows for you to file an appeal. For a disability plan, the average time you are given to appeal is 180 days. Generally, the more information and documentation you can provide the better your chances of being successful on appeal. Usually in long-term disability cases the definition of disability changes over time and the issues center around your ability to return to your regular occupation or any other work. Often ERISA long term disability insureds must apply for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Invictus Legal Services can handle both types of disability claims.
An experienced Washington State ERISA long-term disability attorney familiar with the federal laws and statutes that govern ERISA can help you navigate the appeals process. After winning your case on appeal, keep in mind the long-term disability insurance company will continue to terminate your right to benefits. The company may seek additional interviews with you, your physicians or your family members or conduct unlawful surveillance. You need an attorney who will stand by you even after you prevail in your claim for benefits.
ERISA Long-Term Disability Claim? Consult with a Washington State ERISA Attorney
At Invictus Legal Services, George has helped men and women receive the disability benefits they deserve since 1992. George has the skill and legal know-how you need to be successful in obtaining your benefits under ERISA. He can assist you with filing for your benefits, and should your claim be denied, he can help you appeal that decision.
Our firm is located in Seattle, Washington, and we represent clients throughout the State of Washington. If meeting at our office is not convenient for you, we will meet you in your home or anywhere else you choose. Contact us online or call us at 800-567-1556 to schedule your appointment today.