When you are suffering from a long term disability and are unable to work as such, receiving benefits under your employer-sponsored long term disability insurance plan may be critical to your wellbeing. While long term disability (LTD) insurance is meant to protect you in the event that you suffer a disability, in many cases, claims are denied. However, because of the nature of employer-sponsored group LTD insurance plans, these benefits are covered under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which means that under federal law, you have the right to appeal a denied claim for long term disability benefits. Here’s what you need to know about the deadlines for doing so:
If your claim is denied, it can be very hard to win your benefits on appeal. One thing that will work in your favor though is ensuring that you file the appeal within the necessary deadlines. Once you receive notice of your denied application for long term disability benefits, you have 180 days (approximately six months) to file your appeal. If you wait longer than 180 days to file your appeal, your appeal will be denied.
After a first appeal, you may be able to file a second level of appeal if your initial appeal is unsuccessful. However, the specific amount of time will depend upon your LTD policy; in many cases, it is shorter than the initial 180 days.
Once you file your appeal within the 180 day time limit, the insurer has a maximum of 90 days (approximately three months) to consider the appeal. This means if both parties use all of the time possible, just appealing your claim (and assuming you do not have to appeal it a second time!) can take up to 270 days.
Once your appeals are exhausted, you have the right to file a lawsuit under federal law. If you file an ERISA long term disability lawsuit, you must do this too within a required time frame. Each policy may have a different time limit, and the Supreme Court has ruled that an ERISA plan may impose a “reasonable” time limit on filing a lawsuit. Usually this time limit is between one year and three years. In some cases, it may be shorter.
By working with an ERISA long term disability lawyer, you have a knowledgeable resource on your side who can review your long term disability insurance policy in full and provide you with all of the details you need to know regarding deadlines for filing your claim initially, and filing an appeal and even a lawsuit.
To schedule a free case consultation where you can learn more about deadlines and statutes of limitation related to ERISA long term disability claims, contact Bartolic Law today. We are available to talk by phone, or you can email us using our online form.