The FAA requires that all pilots must pass a medical certification to be allowed to fly; if a disability or any other factor deters them from meeting those requirements, then the pilot may be suspended from flying. During this time, they may miss out on the chance to earn a steady income and make ends meet, which is where the need for pilot disability insurance comes in. Although their work may have stopped, bills, taxes, rent, and mortgages aren’t going to stop.
If you’re a pilot who was temporarily disabled from flying, then you could be eligible to receive monthly disability benefits for up to 60 months or five years. Ideally, these monthly benefits will be equivalent to at least 60% of your pre-tax income or what would have been your take-home pay. This type of coverage is available for professionals who work as commercial, cargo, agricultural, and even test pilots, among other industries. You don’t necessarily need to be a U.S. citizen to be eligible for such plans, though you may need to wait through an elimination period before starting the benefit period.
Unfortunately, pilot disability insurance is sometimes also called “loss of license insurance” for a reason. If the illness or injury you suffered was severe enough, you might no longer be able to continue flying. Instead of monthly benefits, you would receive a six-figure lump sum, ideally, enough to sustain yourself for a few years.
Usually, this lump sum payment, sometimes called a “career-ending benefit,” can compensate you for up to 10 times your annual income. The idea is that it should leave you comfortable for the next few years.
Ferrin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 336 F. Supp. 3d 910 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2018) (holding insurance policy’s grant of discretionary authority is void under Texas law due to certificate being issued after effective date of regulation, and policy renewing after effective date, and holding Plaintiff was disabled from Any Reasonable Occupation where treating doctors certify she can sit at the occasional level, and insurer’s consultants opine Plaintiff can sit frequently, as weighing all evidence together would make capacity likely at low end of frequent range at best).
Sadowski v. Tuckpointers Local 52 Health & Welfare Trust, 281 F. Supp. 3d 710 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 20, 2017) (holding plan was arbitrary and capricious in denying medical benefits for removal of spinal cord stimulator following a fall down the stairs and infection where plan argued the expenses were caused by the same injury as the car accident necessitating implantation of the stimulator years earlier)
Tassone v. United of Omaha Life Ins. Co., 264 F. Supp. 3d 867 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 30, 2017) (awarding client long term disability benefits denied by United of Omaha despite insurer’s doctor opining there was no objective evidence of functional impairment)
Suson v. PNC Fin. Servs. Grp., Inc., No. 15-CV-10817, 2017 WL 3234809 (N.D. Ill. July 31, 2017) (holding Liberty Mutual’s denial of client’s long term disability benefits was arbitrary and capricious where Liberty Mutual disregarded client’s carpal tunnel syndrome and relied on a vocational opinion to which client never had an opportunity to address before litigation)
If you or a loved one was a Chicago pilot that’s unfortunately been placed out of work, we can help. You deserve better than being disregarded at one of the most vulnerable points in your life. Any workplace that offers benefits is required to comply with ERISA, or the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. If they fail to completely meet your needs adequately, then it will be in your best interest to fight that neglect on the legal front. We’ve handled many ERISA and non-ERISA cases, and we’ll be ready to handle yours.