Philadelphia Area Short & Long Term Disability Lawyers
Private Disability Policies
If you can’t work, you are entitled to file for Social Security Disability benefits. However, you may have other options available as well. One of these options is available through a private disability policy. Short and long-term disability benefits can often be obtained at the same time you’re collecting Social Security Disability benefits.
Long-term disability policies are generally divided into two types of potential coverage:
- General Disability
- Residual Disability
General Disability refers to the inability to perform the duties and responsibilities of any type of occupation. An occupational policy refers to the inability to perform the material duties of your own occupation or specialty (i.e., if you worked as an orthopedic surgeon, then an occupational policy would consider whether you can continue in that capacity).
Most current policies carry language indicating that you must be unable to perform the significant duties of your own occupation for a period of two years. Following two years, you must then be unable to perform any type of job.
Residual Disability refers to a policy where you must have an injury or impairment that does not allow you to perform some of the material duties of your job or not be able to work for the same number of hours resulting in an income loss. If this occurs, you may be able to obtain benefits to compensate your loss of income.
Most policies have an age limit as to how long you can collect on your policy. Typically, policies either completely cut off benefits at age sixty-five or sharply reduce them at that time. In the case of mental impairments, almost all policies limit you to twenty-four months of benefits. While courts have repeatedly upheld this practice, insurance carriers at times try to say that disability is due to a mental impairment, when, in fact, this may not be the case.
Another factor to consider is whether you have a group or individual policy. Group policies often only pay a percentage of relevant earnings. Therefore, it might be advisable to carry your own individual policy in addition to what your employer may provide.
One type of suit involving long-term disability policies occurs under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) law. ERISA applies when there is an employee benefit plan. This coverage has been found to apply when an employer has purchased the insurance policy that covers his or her employees.
Each long-term disability policy is different and, sometimes, these differences can be critically important and difficult to make sense of. Therefore, it is advisable to seek an attorney to help analyze your particular policy to help you determine the best course of action moving forward.
At Silver and Silver, our disability attorneys have assisted the disabled with Social Security Disability benefits in addition to short and long term disability policies for more than 40 years. Contact us today for a free consultation.