Letters from the disability insurance company are unnerving even in the best of circumstances. We know that our clients aren’t the only ones who see the return address and think, “What fresh hell is this now?”
Whether you’ve filed a claim or have been receiving benefits for a while, you know that feeling. Here’s our top ten to be aware of:
10 – You receive a letter from the insurance company saying they are working on your claim but “need more information” to “clarify” functionality. It’s unclear if they expect you to provide that information, or if they have launched a full-scale investigation.
9 – Your doctor’s office calls, asking if they really have to send a response to another form. Your treating physician’s ability to properly present your medical records is critical to the success of your claim. The medical records must represent your inability to perform material duties of your occupation. Just a diagnosis? Your claim could be sunk.
8 – Your doctor is asked for clearance for a Functional Capacity Evaluation. This is also referred to as an FCE. Unless your policy specifically requires you to go for an FCE, we advise caution. These tests are not completely without risk to your physical safety and to your claim. They require you to put forth maximum effort to complete a task, which could pose a threat to your well-being. If you don’t put forth maximum effort, you may be accused of malingering. It’s a no-win situation.
7 – You’re asked to disclose tax returns for more than the last five years. They are looking for other sources of income, which could have an impact on what kind of benefits you are eligible for. This is never a good sign.
6 – You’re asked to provide personal banking information for the business that you’ve owned for a few years. Again, they are looking for additional income sources.
5 – You are required to appear for an Independent Medical Exam (IME). This is required by most disability insurance policies. We often recommend that you either go with a trusted family member or friend. The insurance company may balk, saying that the presence of another person may have an impact on the ability of the examining physician to conduct the exam. We say talk to your disability lawyer first.
4 – Colleagues send you texts reporting that they have been contacted by someone from an insurance company asking about you. That may mean an investigation has started. Ask them not to speak with the insurance company.
3 – There’s a car lurking around the corner that hasn’t moved in a few days and doesn’t belong to your neighbors. You might want to call the local police precinct. It may or may not be an investigator conducting surveillance. Today surveillance can take place from above with drone or blocks away with sophisticated recording devices.
2 – Your disability checks start taking longer and longer to “process.” When you call, you get a lot of corporate doublespeak that doesn’t really make sense. It’s more of a delay tactic.
1 – You get a letter saying they are going to be terminating your benefits. When this happens, call us at 877-LTD-CLAIM 877-583-2524 or visit our website at www.frankelnewfield.com.
Don’t delay, as there are strict time limits on appealing denials of long term disability insurance claims.