Mistakes to Avoid when Applying for Short and Long-Term Disability

Aug 16, 2019 | Initial Consultation, Long Term Disability Claims

Moussa Sabzehghabaei

Personal Injury Lawyer

You may be suffering from a condition that is potentially disabling. You take the steps to prepare a claim hoping to be paid disability benefits. Your health, finances, and future are dependent on the success of this claim. Unfortunately, you’re denied disability benefits and wonder what went wrong.

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We’ve seen many people commit common mistakes, which led to their claims being denied. It’s really important to understand how this process works so you can prevent issues that prevent or slow down your ability to collect your benefits. We’ll go over some 10 common mistakes that people make when filing their long-term disability claims and what you need to do instead.

  1. Failure to do your research

If you’ve never filled a disability claim before, don’t rush to complete the application forms without getting the necessary help and advice. You need to learn more about what kind of disability benefits you are entitled to, which will depend on your situation, and the best way to go about filing for them. Do further research to learn the requirements of qualifying for those benefits. This will guide you in the process of submitting your claim.

  1. Failing to provide regular updates on your claim

It’s quite important to always check the status of your claim. This helps you to be aware if there’s a mistake or amendment needed so you can rectify it early in the process. It is also important to provide your disability claims adjuster with medical updates on your health status. Work with your claims examiner to keep you well updated on the status of your claim.

  1. Filing for unemployment benefits

One mistake that people make is filing for unemployment benefits and still applying for disability benefits. These two do not work hand in hand so you need to choose one. When you file for unemployment benefits, it gives the perception that you are still looking for work and you are in a position to be able to work. Unemployment benefits are only given if the individual can show that they are looking for appropriate work hence it defies the purpose of disability benefits. An alternative is to apply EI sickness benefits. Some policies will require you to exhaust available EI sickness before applying for short or long term disability.

  1. Failing to take your medication

If you fail to follow the advice of your medical practitioners, such as by failing to take the prescribed medication, your application can be denied as it is perceived as an unwillingness to get better or that the condition is not severe enough to warrant disability benefits. Any advice given by the doctor should be taken seriously.

  1. Failing to appeal before the deadline

Long term disability claims that have been denied can be appealed within 90 calendar days from the date one receives the notice of denial. Should you fail to appeal within this time, you may have to file a new claim. Work with an experienced lawyer to appeal a long-term disability claim in order to increase your chances of a successful outcome.

  1. Exaggerating

You’ve heard many cases of insurance companies denying people disability benefits. As a result, you panic and worry that you may be denied just like many others. While you may be tempted to exaggerate your disability, keep in mind that this can result in a denied claim. Insurance companies are always on the lookout for signs of malingering or exaggeration and if they find out, your claim may be dismissed and you’ll have little chances to file an appeal. Obtain the medical evidence you need and follow the claims submission process as it is outlined in your policy. Your disability claim has a higher chance of approval if you present all the facts, be honest and follow the rules. You’ll also need the help of a lawyer to get what is rightfully yours.

  1. Being in substantially gainful employment

The process of submitting your claim and waiting for a decision to be made can be time consuming. Making ends meet during this time can be a challenge and hence many victims consider looking for work as they wait for the claim to be approved. It is possible to work and apply for disability benefits. However, this is a tricky matter as the work you take may disqualify you for disability benefits. Income from employment puts your disability claim at risk and that’s why you need to speak to a lawyer who will guide you on the particular jobs or number of hours that could affect your eligibility.

  1. Failing to seek regular treatment

One of the ways the insurance company evaluates your disability is by looking to see whether you’ve been seeking regular and adequate medical treatment for your condition. If you have a long and extensive medical record that shows you’ve tried different treatment options, they’ll find it more believable that your condition is severe and disabling. These medical records provide concrete proof that your condition makes it impossible for you to work. However, if you have failed to comply with the treatment for valid reasons such as due to side effects that are worse than the symptoms or because you cannot afford the treatment, this could be considered.

  1. Handling a disability claim alone

Long-term disability cases require the help of a lawyer with extensive experience in filing similar claims. If the claim is denied, you need to look for a lawyer who will help you appeal the decision. It’s never recommended to tackle a disability claim without a legal expert. Since little or no money is required up front, most lawyers will not charge a fee until the claim is approved; you have nothing to lose when you choose to seek legal assistance.

  1. Failing to include your full employment history

A strong work history can help support your claim and increase the chances of approval. The examiners look at your employment history to determine whether you’re able to return to not only your prior job but also other jobs that you’ve done in the past.

It’s important to be thorough when filing for disability benefits. This will increase your chances of being approved on first instance without unnecessary delays.