Interesting "find" this morning. I am reviewing a disability policy that an anesthesiologist brought me. It's an individual policy, bought long ago. It provides, in part, that after submission of the claim they will pay benefits within 30 days of approval. It also stipulates that if they don't, they will pay interest at 18% per annum!They don't write long-term disability policies like they used to.

You won't find that on any disability policy today. Most of the long-term disability policies I read are woefully inadequate. I am finding, more and more, that long-term disability insurance policies don't protect their insureds the way most would expect them to. Many of these policies only match part of your current income for one year, don't list a deadline to file a lawsuit after your appeal is denied, or give vague definitions for terms like "objective medical evidence."

With this much going against today's claimant, it is no wonder that a federal judge said that ERISA long-term disability claimants should hire an attorney.

If your policy is not as good as you want it to be, I recommend buying a personal long-term disability policy. Many employers purchase inexpensive plans for their employees, and as a consequence, their coverage is not as good as it could be. Review your employer-provided plan carefully before assuming it will cover you fully if you ever become ill or disabled.

As many older policies do, this one had very favorable terms for the insured. Today you can still get good terms on an individual policy but, as I discuss in my book Robbery Without a Gun, most group disability policies are shams.

Ben Glass
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Ben Glass is a nationally recognized car accident and ERISA disability attorney in Fairfax, VA.
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