Frequently Asked Questions

Can I receive private disability benefits if I am receiving money through other sources of income (or benefits)?

Yes. You can receive private disability benefits, even if you are receiving funds through supplemental income sources, or other wage replacement benefits, such as Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or workers’ compensation — there may be an offset for certain benefits, however.

  • When it comes to supplemental income sources, such as passive income, inheritance, personal gifts, etc., your private disability benefits are generally entirely unaffected.
  • Private disability benefits are a form of wage replacement, they are not income-variable.
  • Whether you are rich or poor, you are entitled to the full disability benefit that was bargained for through the insurance contract.

Now, when it comes to SSDI benefits, most ERISA long-term disability plans have an offset that requires you to apply for SSDI benefits. However, private disability policies usually do not have the same application and offset requirement. This is policy specific though and our experienced disability insurance attorneys are available for consultation in order to help you understand your policy.

Should I apply for benefits if my disability was caused by a pre-existing condition?

Perhaps — but it depends on the details of your insurance plan.

Many plans exclude all disabilities caused by pre-existing conditions if the claim is filed within a specific period of time running from when coverage became effective (i.e., a pre-existing condition exclusion may apply to claims filed due to a pre-existing condition within the first two years following coverage).

If you are beyond that time period and are filing due to a pre-existing condition, it is important to consult with our Chicago disability claim attorneys because the insurer may still try to conduct a pre-existing condition review and deny your claim.

My insurer has denied my disability claim on the basis of an exclusion, but the exclusion seems ambiguous. Can I challenge their denial?

You can — and likely should — challenge the insurer’s denial of your disability claim, so long as the claim is otherwise legitimate.

In Illinois (and in other jurisdictions), whenever there is genuine ambiguity in the language of an insurance exclusion clause, the courts are required to strictly construe that ambiguity in favor of the policyholder. Given the fact that courts strictly construe ambiguity in favor of the policyholder and against the interests of the insurer, your insurer is likely to argue that there is no ambiguity.

That being the case, it’s important to work with one of our Chicago disability claim lawyers who has experience handling such disputes — he or she will have to gather and introduce outside evidence that can be used to support your “ambiguity” argument.

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