Are you waiting for your disability insurance carrier to APPROVE your claim? Attorneys Gregory Dell and Stephen Jessup discuss what you can expect while waiting for your disability insurance claim decision. Learn the factors that effect a disability insurance claim decision, what an “Elimination Period” is, and stalling tactics the carriers take advantage of.

GREG DELL: Hi, I’m Greg Dell with attorneys Dell & Schaefer. And today’s disability insurance question of the day is, “How long does disability insurance claim take to process?” And Stephen, that’s a very common question that has a lot of variables that go into that, even when I say how long does it take to process is basically how long until my claim is going to be approved? And what are the factors when someone calls you with that question that would answer that question?

Factors That Effect A Disability Insurance Claim Decision

STEPHEN JESSUP: It’s going to be, in a lot of ways your policy, the language of the policy. Say, you’re were able to extended the elimination period if the insurance company has all the information. If they’ve requested information from you, and you haven’t provided it, that cuts into the amount of time that they have under the law, especially under an employer-provided policy to make a decision.

So there is a lot of factors that can really go into it. Everyone thinks the insurance company’s dragging their feet, drag their feet. And they do. There’s quite a bit of that. But there’s also a responsibility of the insurer to make sure they’re providing all the information needed so the review can be done.

What Is An “Elimination Period”?

GREG DELL: OK. So let’s talk, let’s focus this on long-term disability applications. First of all, there’s a thing called elimination period. What is that? And how long is the common duration of an elimination period?

STEPHEN JESSUP: An elimination period is the amount of time that you have to be disabled before long term kicks in and the insurance company will not pay you benefits. Now, if your employer has short-term disability, and the short-term disability period and the elimination period are the same. But it does happen that some don’t.

And say, you have a 90-day, which is common– usually 90 days to 180 days or 26 weeks. So say it’s a 90-day, and you don’t have short term, you’d have to be disabled without pay really coming in for 90 days before your long-term disability policy would kick in and pay you any benefits.

GREG DELL: OK. And let’s go with this scenario that it’s a 90-day elimination period. Does that mean on day 91, the person should be getting paid benefits?

STEPHEN JESSUP: Hypothetically, yes, they should be. It doesn’t mean that they will because, like I said, again, it has to do with providing information. Some people wait like 30 days or so to make the application even. So that can slow everything down.

That’s why sometimes having an attorney can be very helpful because we know what the insurance company’s going to want to see you gather all that together for presentation to make sure that review can be done as quickly as possible. But it’s not uncommon if you had a 90-day elimination period, you could be a month, maybe two months after the end of that before a decision’s made. Now, if your insurance company approves, they do have to pay you any the back benefit back to that 91st day, but you’re still there without money. So it becomes very problematic for a lot of people.

GREG DELL: Right. Well, the question I gave you was kind of a loaded question because number one, the 90 days is really not 90 because they always pay in arrears, which means they’re going to pay 30 days after the fact. So no one would ever see a check until day 120, give or take, because they pay ahead.

What To Expect While Waiting To Get A Long Term Disability Insurance Claim Decision

Just like when you work, you get paid after you do the work. So the disability carriers pay the same way. The other thing is is that you’re supposed to be out of work for 90 days. So how do you go ahead and apply at day 30 when you don’t necessarily know that you’re going to be out for another 60 days?

And that’s a tricky thing also in terms of how does long the process takes? So what I like to tell people in general, that assuming you satisfy the elimination period, that you should expect on a long-term disability claim at least 60 days until your claim is going to be approved from once you submit everything that needs to be submitted. Now, whether or not if you handled your claim on your own, and you know how to submit everything that you think needs to be there, because I can guarantee you– and Steve, you know this– that they don’t ask you for everything in that initial application. They purposely play this game to say, send us the forms. Send us the doctor statement, and that should be OK for now. But that’s never enough.

STEPHEN JESSUP: The follow up letter has a lot more information to be requested.

GREG DELL: So if you are prepared– and we do offer a service where we help people apply for benefits. And you can watch our videos on how to apply for disability benefits, which you’ll hopefully find very helpful. But if everything is done perfect, you can anticipate that the decision should be made in 60 days.

But if you’re someone who’s watching this video now because you’re already at 60, 90, 120, six months, which is not unheard of, then you’re in the typical delay strategy of getting approved because of the fact that the disability company is always asking for additional information. So this is something that we can help you with. The easiest thing to do right away is to fill out the free consultation form on our website. Give the phone number a call at the bottom of your screen.

We’re going to ask you for a copy of your long-term disability policy, which we will immediately review for you and provide you with a free consultation. You’re certainly welcome to continue watching our other videos that are available on our YouTube channel. We would love for you to subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you can not only watch videos like this, but watch other videos that you may find helpful as you go through this journey of your disability claim. Our clients are located all over the country. And we would love the opportunity to discuss your claim with you.