As you prepare to file a disability insurance claim, you might hear a lot of conflicting opinions about whether you need a lawyer. While you may be tempted to postpone hiring an attorney, it’s typically in your best interest to consult with one before you file a disability claim — rather than at the end of the process.
Below, Bryant Legal Group explains why hiring a disability lawyer early on in the process can strengthen and streamline your claim.
Your Administrative Record Can Make or Break Your Disability Claim
If you’re filing for employer-sponsored disability benefits, your claim is controlled by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Under ERISA, you have a limited window of time to submit evidence that supports your claim.
While your claim is pending with the insurance company, you should submit as much supporting evidence as possible. This could include medical records, vocational information, work restriction or disability slips, and other data.
Once the insurance company issues a final decision in your claim, however, the courts will only consider the information contained in your “administrative record,” which consists of plan documents, your previously submitted evidence, and other information that was available to the insurance company. The court will not, under most circumstances, look at new evidence, no matter how important or relevant it might be.
RELATED ARTICLE: Building a Comprehensive Application for Disability Benefits
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for us to meet with disabled individuals after their decisions are final. Many times, their administrative records are missing important evidence that would improve their claims—but it’s just too late to submit it.
When you work with an experienced disability lawyer at Bryant Legal Group from Day One, we’ll carefully review your administrative record and supplement it with information that advances your disability claims. This “stacking of the record” should put you in the best possible position for a successful claim.
RELATED ARTICLE: ERISA Appeal Best Practices
ERISA Plans Include Complex Terms and Conditions
Before you file a disability insurance claim, it’s always best to review the Plan Document. This document includes terms, conditions, exclusions, waiting periods, and filing deadlines that will impact your claim for benefits. Many of these requirements are written in highly technical language that is difficult to read and interpret.
Unless you have a strong grasp of your disability insurance plan’s requirements and procedures, it’s virtually impossible to file a successful claim. However, an experienced Chicago disability lawyer can help you identify:
- The plan’s waiting, qualification, or elimination periods
- How long you have to file your claim
- Whether it uses an “own occupation” or “all occupation” definition of disability
- The conditions and situations that are excluded by the policy
- The benefits you may be eligible to receive
- How long you will remain eligible for benefits
This information will be the foundation for your disability insurance claim strategy.
RELATED ARTICLE: Disability Claimants Must Seek Timely and Adequate Care to Secure Full Benefits
Knowledge Is Power
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your ERISA claim, or are afraid of insurance company surveillance, a disability insurance lawyer can help alleviate those feelings. At Bryant Legal Group, we take a practical, hands-on approach to our client relationships. We provide the kind of emotional support, case-specific information, and results-driven strategies that come from decades of disability law experience.
Rather than worrying about the accuracy of the information they give the insurance company, hunting down important medical records, or proofreading their application for benefits, our clients rest assured that Bryant Legal Group’s lawyers are overseeing the details of their disability claim. Our work leaves our clients with the time to focus on what’s really important — their health and the people they care about.
Bryant Legal Group: Practical Advice from Respected Disability Lawyers
Bryant Legal Group’s team of Chicago disability lawyers has built a strong reputation for our advocacy and sophisticated strategies. Just as importantly, we believe every disability claimant deserves client-focused representation and the best possible results. To request a free consultation, please call us at 312-561-3010 or complete this brief online form.