Applying for disability insurance benefits can be challenging and stressful, especially when dealing with an injury or illness. You may be worried about how you will pay for medical bills and living expenses while you are unable to work.
Understanding your rights when applying for disability insurance benefits will help you secure the support you need. Here are some of your rights as an applicant for short or long-term disability insurance benefits.
The Right to a Fair Evaluation
You have the right to a fair, unbiased review of your application. In other words, the insurance company must evaluate your claim based on objective medical evidence and other relevant information rather than making arbitrary or subjective decisions.
Insurance companies often have their own doctors or experts evaluate the claim, and these individuals may not always be impartial. Therefore, gathering as much evidence as possible to support the claim is essential. Document everything about the injury, collect witness accounts, and photographs, and consider contacting a third-party medical provider for an examination.
The Right to an Appeal
If a claim is denied, individuals have the right to appeal the decision and provide additional information or medical evidence to support their claim.
The appeal process can be complex and is typically designed to deter the applicant from following through. An experienced disability attorney from The Maddox Firm can help you navigate the claims process and ensure a fair and objective evaluation.
Most policies have a time limit on appeals, usually no more than six months. As such, acting fast and submitting your well-planned appeal as soon as possible is essential.
The Right to Confidentiality
All information related to the disability claim is confidential and should not be shared with anyone other than those involved in the claims process.
The information involved in a disability claim can include medical records, financial information, and other sensitive details. Insurance companies, employers, medical providers, and other parties are legally obligated to protect your information from unauthorized access.
If you have reason to believe your private information has been shared, contact the insurance company immediately to report the breach and request an investigation. In some cases, a breach of confidentiality may entitle the individual to compensation or other remedies. Working with an attorney will help you navigate this process.
The Right to Timely Decisions and Payments
You have a right to receive a timely decision and prompt payments when you apply for short or long-term disability. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Insurance companies or employers may cite red tape and processes as the source of a delay. Still, this approach can create undue emotional and financial hardship for applicants who need that money to survive.
Know the timelines and advocate for yourself, regularly following up on your application. Take names, record the dates and times of your conversations, and work with an attorney if the process is taking too long.
Knowing your rights will improve your chances of securing a successful claim and clarify when it’s time to talk to an attorney for support.