At BenGlassLaw, our lawyers have experience dealing with the complex area of short-term disability claims, which involve group and individual short-term disability policies (often under a little-known area of the law called ERISA, or Employee Retirement Income Security Act).
Most Virginia long-term disability attorneys don't handle short-term disability insurance claims. Many lawyers, even those that work on ERISA long-term disability appeals, won’t take short-term disability cases because they’re “too small.” At BenGlassLaw, we know there is nothing small about being denied benefits.
We believe that you should never try to file a short-term disability insurance appeal without an experienced, ERISA trained, short-term disability attorney. This is a different and more arcane and complex area of law than social security or worker's compensation claims. The time limit for action after your disability insurance claim has been denied is short. The failure to file a correct appeal can be fatal to your chances of getting benefits.
If your short-term disability claim has been denied and want your case handled by a team with experience dealing with this little-known and difficult area of the law (even judges think ERISA disability claims are tough), you have come to the right place. Whether you are thinking about applying for benefits or have been denied benefits, we can help. Representation in jurisdictions where we are not already licensed is performed in conjunction with local counsel–at no additional legal fees to the client–and with permission of the court.
Here's how we can help right now:
- If your benefits have been denied, and you are entitled to appeal, 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.
- You can speak with us when you are thinking about stopping work and applying for benefits. We can point you in the right direction, give you advice and tell you what to talk to your doctors about. (There is a nominal fee for this consult, but it can save you thousands of dollars by taking action now with us.)
- If your benefits have been denied and you did your own appeal, we can only help you if you have a second appeal available to you. (Really, the best hope is that you are contacting us before it gets this far - second appeals are tough and there is often extra work to be done by untangling errors made in the first appeal if it was not prepared by an ERISA experienced attorney.)
You can speak with our team of experts about your disability claim by calling our office at (703)584-7277.
What is Short-Term Disability Insurance?
Short-term disability insurance is an employer-sponsored policy that provides income in the event you are disabled from working. It is meant to provide income replacement for a short period. Short-term disability insurance policies normally provide coverage from 3 to 6 months, depending on the terms of the policy. The income replacement level varies from 60% to 80% or more of your pre-disability salary depending on the terms of your policy.
Many employers offer both short-term and long-term disability insurance policies. If you are disabled for an extended period, short-term disability insurance benefits will pay until your long-term disability insurance policy takes effect.
Short-term disability insurance applies to most disabling conditions, with a few exceptions that will be listed in the policy (normally, self-inflicted injuries, or those caused by war, are among the conditions excluded from coverage). Common disabling conditions include cancer, chronic migraines, fibromyalgia, back injuries, heart disease, and other injuries and illnesses. In many policies, work-related injuries are often excluded from short-term disability coverage. Work related injuries are typically covered by Worker’s Compensation.
Many short-term disability denials occur when the disabling condition is either not covered by the policy or there is a dispute about the diagnosis. Disputed diagnoses frequently occur with conditions such as chronic migraines or fibromyalgia, and the insurance companies will even deny legitimate claims for a lack of “objective evidence.”
If your short-term disability claim has been denied, your long-term disability claim is in trouble. The insurance companies will use any disability insurance denial (including social security disability and short-term disability) as a reason to deny long-term disability. This is particularly troubling if you have a permanent disabling condition. Short-term disability insurance is meant to cover your income for a limited period, and a short-term disability denial will most likely lead to a denial of long-term disability insurance benefits which should pay you benefits until retirement age.
Your employer or short-term disability insurance company may tell you that because you were denied for short-term disability, you are not eligible to apply for long-term disability. In most cases, that’s not true. You CAN be approved for long-term disability benefits even as you appeal your short-term disability denial. It sounds crazy, but it has happened.
Some short-term disability policies are governed by ERISA or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. If your short-term disability insurance policy is governed by ERISA, you should hire an attorney with experience in this complex area of disability insurance claims. If you are not sure if your policy is governed by ERISA, call us and we will review your denial letter and/or short-term disability insurance policy for free.
BenGlassLaw has offices throughout Virginia, including in Fairfax, Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg to meet with you and help you with your claim.
More Information about Short-Term Disability Claims in Virginia
Your employer's group short-term disability policy may be the greatest rip-off in the history of the American employee! Unsuspecting employers have been conned into buying policies that some courts have said will only pay benefits if you are in a coma.
BenGlassLaw can help you if you are thinking about going out on disability, and need advice. Contact our office to discuss how the consultation process works.
Claims for non-payment of insurance benefits are exploding as insurance companies try to cut every bill that they can. What they save by denying you benefits for hundreds of dollars turns into millions of dollars when they do it to every claimant.
Disability insurance companies are finding that policies that they wrote years ago, promising to take care of you if you couldn't do your job, are becoming very expensive for them. We have handled, and are handling, many claims against Unum Provident, CNA, Hartford, Prudential, and many other insurance companies.
We represent claimants in disputes involving:
- Denial of benefits under private (non-ERISA) insurance polices.
- Denial of benefits under short-term disability policies, both ERISA and non-ERISA.
If you have already had a claim denied or your benefits have been terminated and you would like to speak with an attorney, call our team of experts at (703)584-7277
When Should You Get Legal Advice Regarding Your Disability Claim?
You should absolutely consult with an attorney experienced in ERISA short-term disability claims before you file a claim. Too often we are contacted by people who have filed claims and exhausted their administrative appeal rights. If you must later file suit, a court is only going to review what is in the insurance company's file. EVERY case we have in which the client has applied for benefits and done the appeal himself/herself, the record that the court reviews lack important information and documents that could have been provided with the original claim. Remember, the insurance company KNOWS that your review in court is limited.
Do you think that the insurance company is going to fill the record with information favorable to you? We have never seen that happen!
Your attorney should be experienced in litigating disability income insurance claims and, if your insurance is through your employer, that attorney should understand how ERISA impacts the case. Ask the right questions. Attorneys cannot simply “dabble” in ERISA!
If you have been denied short-term disability benefits, we will review that denial letter at no charge and suggest an appropriate course of action. After that first step, you may want to hire us to create the appeal for you depending on your particular circumstances.
We want you to know your rights and understand the insurance company tactics.