Knowing when and how to file for long term disability insurance benefits under a Lincoln Financial policy can be a challenge, and this process can be fraught with potential pitfalls that may not be apparent to many claimants. Learn more about what to expect when filing a disability insurance claim with Lincoln Financial and how the attorneys at Dell & Schafer can help you navigate this stage of your disability insurance claim.
Understand Your Disability Policy Language and What it Requires
When it comes to disability insurance, there are two prevailing schools of thought—(1) disability insurance benefits claims should be paid if the claimant can no longer do their job; and (2) disability insurance benefits claims should be paid only if the claimant can no longer do any job. Knowing which of these categories your own Lincoln Financial policy falls into will tell you what you need to prove to win your disability claim.
The Best Time to File a Lincoln Disability Benefit Claim
Claimants should be aware that Lincoln has a mandatory two-step appeal process claimants must navigate before they can file a lawsuit over a claim denial, and it’s therefore important that claim documents are complete, error-free, and accurately reflect the onset of your disability. Because the appeal process often takes at least six months, making a mistake or omitting information on your initial application can mean you won’t get another chance to secure your long term disability benefits for another six months to a year or more.
Adding to this timing issue is the required “elimination period.” This period is the amount of time that must elapse between the onset of your disability and the payment of your disability insurance benefits. Many policies have a 90 to 180-day elimination period, which means that even if your disability insurance application is approved quickly, you could be waiting another three to six months before your benefits begin. Combining the two-tier disability appeal process with the elimination period means that time (and precision) is of the essence in a Lincoln Financial disability benefit claim.
Your Lincoln Disability Claim Will Be Decided on a Paper Record
Even if a claimant’s disability insurance claim proceeds through the appeal process and the claimant sues to secure their disability benefits, they won’t receive their “day in court.” The disability claim will be decided on a paper record that includes legal briefs, medical records, interview notes, and copies of the relevant policy documents. Without ever seeing you, a claim representative (or, in disability lawsuits, a judge) will decide whether the claimant has shown their entitlement to disability benefits.
Because of this, it’s usually a good idea to enlist an experienced disability insurance attorney to help you at this early stage of the process. By making sure your paper record is as complete as possible, you can improve your odds of early success and avoid the prolonged appeals process.
Using Addendums to the Generic Lincoln Disability Insurance Claim Forms
Most of Lincoln Financial’s disability insurance claim forms have just a few narrow lines for disability insurance claimants to input their data. Instead of trying to squeeze years’ worth of information into these small spaces, claimants are better off using written or typed addendums to more clearly set forth the relevant information (but not too much information).
We hope this has helped put some of your fears to rest when it comes to managing your Lincoln Financial disability claim. If you’re wondering about the next steps or need some advice on building up your medical record, reach out to Dell & Schaefer to schedule your FREE consultation with a member of our specialized team of disability attorneys.