Long-Term Disability Cases

If you have long-term disability (LTD) insurance and can no longer work due to an injury or illness, you may be entitled to wage-replacement benefits. Applying for these benefits, however, can be a daunting task. The skilled LTD lawyers at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you navigate this complex process so that you get the benefits you deserve in a timely manner.

Does My Disability Qualify?

Every LTD policy has its own definition of disability. Some policies define disability as an illness or injury that prevents you from performing the tasks required of any job. Others may be specific to the duties of your current job. Still others change their qualifications for disability after a period of time; for example, after 24 months the definition may change from “own occupation” to “any occupation,” and your benefits may be terminated if you no longer qualify. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we can help you understand your policy and how its definition of disability may affect you.

Is there a Waiting Period?

Yes. Most LTD policies have an “elimination period” of between 90 and 180 days. You are not eligible to receive any benefits until this period has passed. If you have a short-term disability (STD) policy, it may cover you during the elimination period. In most cases, you must use any available sick time and STD benefits before filling for LTD.

Are LTD Benefits Taxable?

Generally speaking, yes. Most employer-sponsored LTD policies are purchased using pre-tax dollars. As such, benefits are taxable to the beneficiary. You should expect to have federal, state, and local taxes withheld from your monthly benefit payments. If, however, you have individual LTD insurance, your benefits may be tax-free.

Smile, You’re on Candid Camera

Remember, it is common for insurance companies to hire investigators who conduct surveillance of LTD claimants. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we understand that even people with real disabilities can overexert themselves in certain situations. Let’s say you want to help your son move into his new apartment. Even though it’s killing your back, you help him carry a love seat from the truck into his new place. You may have been trying to do the right thing, but this kind of evidence could be devastating to a claim for LTD. Follow your physician’s orders, and avoid doing anything you wouldn’t want the insurance company to see.

Upon Approval

Your LTD benefits will be a portion of your former salary, generally about 60 percent. Short-term disability may pay a higher percentage, up to 80 percent or more. Some plans will provide benefits until you reach retirement age, while others pay up to a specified period of time, such as five or 10 years. If your disability is based on mental or nervous conditions, such as depression or PTSD, your benefits may only be available for a limited time, such as up to 24 months. Once approved, you may be required to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). This program is income-based, and will offset your LTD benefits if approved.

What if I’m Denied?

Denials are actually a frequent occurrence, even with claims that are later approved. A denial does not mean that your case is over. You can file an internal appeal, or a federal appeal if your policy’s appeals process has expired. An experienced MA disability attorney can help you navigate the appeals process if your initial claim has been denied.

Altman & Altman, LLP - Disability Attorneys Serving All of Massachusetts

If you are unable to work due to an injury or illness, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve so that you can move on with your life. When it comes to LTD, STD and SSDI, even a minor error in the application process can result in delayed or reduced benefits. Don’t let a little mistake cost you thousands. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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