The short answer is yes, you can still file for long term disability insurance claims even if you don’t have your original policy. However, you want to locate that policy as soon as possible. If your disability insurance policy is part of your employee benefits package, speak with the HR department and emphasize that you need to see the current insurance policy held by your employer – to which you are a beneficiary. There may have been changes since the employer’s policy was first issued, so you need to be very clear as to what are the claim requirements, and other important issues relating to the claim and the potential benefits.
If your policy is through your employer, you should know that it is likely an ERISA policy – that is, one that is governed by the federal law ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act). There are strict limitations about ERISA policies that you need to be aware of. For instance, if you apply on your own for a disability insurance claim and your
claim is denied, the window of time for you to appeal the claim is short and there are typically no extensions. Worse, if you fail to meet deadlines throughout the disability claims process, there are a number of points along the way where you could permanently lose the ability to fight for your claim.
If you have an ERISA policy through CIGNA, Frankel & Newfield recommends that you contact our firm early in the claims process. Our firm has represented many CIGNA policy owners over the years, and we are familiar with how their processes work. We work with CIGNA policy owners on short term disability insurance claims as well as long term disability insurance claims. Call our office before logging into the portal that requires you to fill out a Disclosure Authorization. The broad nature of the authorization could permit CIGNA (or any insurer) to obtain information that is likely not relevant to your claim, but could be damaging nonetheless.
If your policy is one that you purchased as an individual, known as a private disability policy, there are several differences that you should know about. First, contact the person who you purchased the policy from to obtain a duplicate copy of the exact policy that you were sold (if you do not have the original). This is a legally binding contract between you and the disability insurance company. Just like the ERISA policy, these policies change over time, especially the private policies. In most cases, the older the policy is, the better the coverage and more protections to you, the claimant.
Frankel & Newfield represents clients at all stages of the disability insurance claims process. In the best case scenario, we recommend claimants speak with us before filing a claim for benefits, regardless of whether the coverage is an ERISA or private policy claim. There are many fine points along the way and mistakes can be financially devastating.
Call our office at 877-LTD-CLAIM (877-583-2524) and find out how we can help you. The call is free, and the conversation may save you countless hours of worry.