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We represent disability claimants in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina and Washington D.C. We do most of our work over the phone and through video conferences (our office is located in Fairfax, Virginia), so we can help you from the comfort of your home.

Here's How BenGlassLaw Can Help You Today With Your Long Term Disability Claim:

  1. If you are thinking about going out on disability, we should talk about that before you stop working. During our paid consultation we will review your disability policy, talk about your medical issues and chat about your job. You will walk away from that call or meeting with a definite plan of action. You can call us during regular working hours or schedule a call to set your own time.
  2. If you are on claim and have questions, but we don't currently represent you,  you have three choices:
    • Go to UltimateDisabilityResource.com - it's free and we've answered just about every question imaginable. You just may find everything you need there.
    • Have a short, free call, with one of our non-attorney disability specialists. They are often able to get your questions answered about processes and procedures. They do not give legal advice.
    • Schedule a paid consult meeting, call, or video meeting with Ben Glass (Our main office is in Fairfax, but a video meeting will not be a problem at all - We serve clients nationwide). Take a Virtual Tour of Our Office.
  3. If your claim has been denied, just fax/email/mail us the denial letter as soon as you get it. We will review it and give you a detailed strategy for moving forward. This service is free, but you must act promptly. The insurance company only gives you a limited time to appeal or their decision is permanent.

What is the Difference Between Long Term Disability (LTD) and Social Security Disability (SSDI)?

These are two separate programs that have some things in common. The simplest answer about what makes them different is that, in the world of disability insurance, Long Term Disability (LTD) applies to a disability insurance policy that is either provided by an employer or purchased by an individual. When you tell a lawyer, “I’m calling about long term disability,” they’ll think you have LTD coverage through your employer or a separate policy that you purchased yourself.

The catch? Many companies, especially smaller employers, don’t offer LTD insurance, and many people don’t buy their own private policies. What happens if these people become disabled long term and can no longer work?

That’s where SSDI, “Social Security Disability Insurance,” comes in. SSDI protects anyone who has worked long enough and recently enough to qualify. In order to qualify for SSDI, you must have a disability that is expected to prevent you from working for at least a year. Most people consider that to be a “long term disability,” which is where the confusion can come from.

One big difference between the two insurance programs is that LTD will normally protect you for a year or two (depending on the policy) if you are unable to work at your own occupation, even if you still have the capacity to work at a different occupation (for example, a surgical nurse who can no longer spend long hours standing but could work in a sedentary job at a nurse-staffed helpline). SSDI, on the other hand, requires that you be unable to work at any job that meets their criteria (which vary by age). Both programs allow you to earn some money and still qualify for disability payments if you are able.

If you need more information about SSDI, including whether you qualify and how to apply, the best resource is the Social Security Administration. You can start here:  https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/qualify.html. In most cases, you don’t need a lawyer to help you apply for benefits. If your claim is denied, though, you do want to talk with a lawyer before you appeal. While BenGlassLaw does not handle SSDI appeals in-house, we have some terrific referral partners we can connect you with.

If you do have an LTD insurance policy through your employer or that you purchased yourself, we handle (and win) more LTD appeals and lawsuits than any other firm in Virginia. We will always review any letter you get from a disability insurance company for free, and then we’ll tell you what we think the best next steps are going to be.

Even if you have an LTD policy, you will probably also be applying for SSDI if you are unable to work at any job. That’s because most LTD policies allow the insurance company to “offset” what they pay you for LTD benefits by what you receive from SSDI. Not applying for SSDI is not an option, because most policies allow the insurance company to offset even for what they say you would be “eligible to receive,” even if you don’t actually apply.

If you have any questions about this article or your long term disability coverage, please give us a call at (703) 584-7277. Again, we will review any letter from any insurance company for free. There’s no obligation – we just know those letters often seem to be written to confuse people, and we hate to see the insurance company get away with that!

If you haven’t applied for LTD benefits yet, you can still call us. We offer general information about making a claim for free. If you’d like specific advice about your claim, we offer a flat-fee consultation for $600. Send us a copy of your policy plus any recent medical records that you want to use to support your claim. We’ll review those, and then get on a call (or meet in person) to discuss what we think you and your doctors need to do to give your claim the best chance possible of being approved on the insurance company’s initial review.  

Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Washington D.C. Long-Term Disability Denial Letter Appeal Process

If you are unsure about the claim process, or your claim has a high monetary value (which insurance companies routinely deny because remember – there’s no downside for them), you should consult with an attorney. We can look at your policy (each one is different), review your evidence, and let you know where you might need to add more detail or support to have your claim approved.

If your claim is denied at any point, you have the right to appeal the denial. Virtually every insurance policy has an appeal process. The insurance company will make it sound easy, and they may even give you a brief, helpful form to fill out. Don’t fall for that! Often you will just get one shot at this, so it’s important to get an attorney’s perspective. That’s why we will review your denial letter for free and give you a report of our findings and a plan for the appeal.

Depending on the insurance company and the policy language, you may have more than one appeal (this is true for all long-term disability, short-term disability, or life insurance policies). While a second appeal is usually optional, it can be an important opportunity to add evidence to your claim file.

Too often we are contacted by people who have filed multiple appeals and have exhausted their administrative appeal rights. It’s only then that they contact a lawyer, but unfortunately, by then it’s too late to add any new evidence. By the time we reach the lawsuit stage, a judge is only going to review what is in the insurance company's file already. No new evidence is allowed. 

The insurance company knows this, and they are counting on the fact that you do not. So they get to add all the “independent” medical reviews, vocational analysis, etc. that they want. Do you think that the insurance company is going to fill the record with information favorable to you? We have never seen that happen!

Bottom line: know your rights and understand the insurance company tactics.

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