If Your Short or Long Term Disability Insurance Company Has Denied or Cut Off Your Benefits, Appealing On Your Own Can Cost You Not Only Your Claim, But Your Ability to Sue Your Insurer
Mishandling your disability appeal can cost you more than you think. Not only will you not get your benefits approved, but you may also cost yourself the ability to sue your disability insurance company. I am Robert T. Bleach, Esq., a disability attorney with over 15 years of experience practicing in one of the toughest Federal District Courts in the country — the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division. My 50-page e-book,
If you are going to appeal the denial of your disability benefits, you have three options:
- You can try to appeal on your own without any knowledge of what you need to prove or how to go about proving it. This is obviously a bad idea.
- You can hire a disability lawyer and pay him a third of your benefits (on average) just to handle the appeal — you pay this much even when a lawsuit is not necessary. Your lawyer will then appeal the way most disability lawyers do — using the same methods and forms revealed in this e-book. You get the same type of appeal taught in this e-book, but at 100 times or more the price!
- You can handle your appeal on your own like a disability lawyer would,
using a disability lawyer’s forms and strategies— all contained in The Disability Insurance Appeal Guide. For the cost of dinner for two at a halfway decent restaurant, my guide will allow you to mount an attorney-quality appeal without paying thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees.
Did You Get Your Disability Policy Through Your Employer?
If you did, and your employer is not a government agency or a church, there is a 99% chance that your policy is subject to the federal law known as ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). It should be referenced in your insurance company’s denial letter (though sometimes insurers omit this fact, so don’t take the denial letter as gospel). What does ERISA law mean for your disability claim?
- If you fail to appeal the denial of your claim in writing within 180 days of receiving the denial letter, your claim is over and you cannot sue your insurance company for benefits.
- If you do appeal in time and the insurer again denies your claim, when you sue the insurer you will not be able to submit any evidence of disability beyond what you submitted during your claim process and appeal. This means: you do not get to testify, your doctors do not get to testify, and your lawyer will be limited to arguing your case on the disability evidence submitted before your claim was denied on appeal. This is why
it is absolutely vital that you submit an effective appeal.
- If your claim is denied on appeal, you can only sue in federal court, and you cannot get a jury trial. A federal judge will decide your case. In the vast majority of cases there won’t even be a trial — the judge will decide the case on cross motions for summary judgment.
- Insurance companies know that the law is biased heavily in their favor, so they will do whatever they can to deny your claim. Mounting a strong disability appeal, supported by evidence, is your only chance to have them reverse a decision to deny you benefits.
If you have an ERISA disability policy, the deck is stacked against you from the start. As you might imagine, merely writing an eloquent disability appeal letter, unaccompanied by actual evidence of disability, will get you nowhere.
As a lawyer, I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to have to turn away a potential disability client because he unknowingly botched his appeal. Many intelligent people who thought they were doing the right thing by immediately appealing the denial of their disability benefits learned the hard way that an ERISA disability appeal involves a lot more than writing a disability appeal letter. If you are on this site, I congratulate you on having the foresight to look for help before trying to appeal on your own. You may have just saved your disability claim from an untimely demise.
What if My Disability Insurance Policy is Not an ERISA Policy?
If you are lucky enough to have a non-ERISA disability policy, you can still benefit tremendously from
What’s Included in The Disability Insurance Appeal Guide?
- Form letters for appealing your claim, requesting your claims file and requesting more time for your appeal
- Forms for your treating doctors to fill out to support your claim (both physical and mental disabilities)
- Editable versions of all forms in Word “.doc” format, which can be modified using free software such as OpenOffice, LibreOffice, or GoogleDocs
- Step-by-step guides to preparing an effective appeal for both ERISA and non-ERISA disability policies
- Explanations for why you need to appeal and why each step helps strengthen your appeal
- A guide to understanding your disability insurance policy
The Disability Appeal Letter — How Important Is It?
You might be surprised to read this, but the appeal letter itself is not terribly important. As long as it is submitted in time and states that you are appealing, the letter is adequate. There is no fancy magic language you can put in an appeal letter that will convince an insurance adjuster to reverse a denial of benefits. You can pour your heart out and describe in gut-wrenching detail how your disability prevents you from working and it won’t improve your odds of a claim approval one bit.
What matters is the evidence you submit with your disability appeal letter.
What If My Disability Appeal Deadline Is Coming Up Soon?
Whether you have 180 days left to file your appeal or 5 days,
So How Much Does It Cost?
You couldn’t pay most disability lawyers to give you what I’m offering in this e-book. They’d much rather have you hire them and take 1/3 of your benefits (which can be thousands of dollars) or charge you, at a minimum, $200.00 per hour (and I’m probably underpricing this for most areas of the country) for their time. My disability appeal guide, including all the letters and doctors’ forms in MS Word format for easy editing, costs
P.S. This e-book is only about Short and Long Term Disability Insurance Policies. It is not about Social Security Disability, VA Disability, Workers’ Compensation Disability, or any other form of disability benefit.
P.P.S. If you have decided to hire an attorney to handle your disability insurance appeal, or to sue your disability insurance company, I can refer you (for free) to an attorney guaranteed to be well-versed in disability and ERISA law nearly anywhere in the Continental United States. Just fill out the brief disability attorney referral request form on my law firm website.