Missing even a single paycheck can put a major dent in many families’ finances, and combining this with medical bills can be a double whammy. If you’ve suffered a disabling injury and are wondering when to file for long term disability insurance benefits, you’re not alone. Many disability insurance claimants may worry about either filing too soon or waiting too long and complicating the process. The truth is, the “right” time to file can vary from person to person based on each disability insurance claimant’s unique situation. Learn more about just a few of the factors that can go into a disability insurance claimant’s decision on when to file and what to expect while waiting for a decision.
When Should Claimants Notify Their Insurance Company?
The right answer to when to put the disability insurance company on notice you’re likely to apply for long term disability insurance benefits often depends on the circumstances of your case, including the type of injury, how long you expect to be out of work, whether you have a short term disability insurance policy, and what your employer requires when it comes to using sick days. If you’re required to exhaust your sick leave before any other benefits can kick in, you may want to give your disability insurance carrier a heads-up relatively early to ensure there’s a minimal lapse in pay after you use all your benefit time. If you don’t expect to be out of work for more than a month and your disability insurance policy prescribes a 180-day elimination period, reaching out early can be a waste of time if you don’t end up qualifying for disability insurance benefits.
Deciding When to Apply for Benefits: Factors to Consider
Just like deciding when to notify your LTD insurance company, deciding when to actually fill out an application for disability insurance benefits can be very situation-dependent. But because the disability approval process usually takes at least two months (as discussed below), it’s generally better to err on the side of applying early rather than applying late. As with any guideline, there are a number of exceptions, and a disability attorney can help create an LTD filing plan that’s tailored to your unique situation.
If your long term disability insurance policy prescribes a certain notice period before filing a disability claim and you don’t provide notice within this period, don’t despair – at Dell & Schaefer, we’ve never seen an LTD claim denied for failure to notify the insurance carrier within the policy’s time limits. The disability insurance carrier may make an issue of this failure to notify, but there’s no support for a claim that it will compromise your ability to recover disability benefits.
Expect at Least a 60-Day Wait
Even if an application for disability benefits is as complete as can be, claimants are likely to have at least a 60-day wait before learning whether their claim for long term disability benefits has been approved or denied. This is one reason starting the process early tends to yield quicker results, as applying for benefits on Day 89 under an LTD policy with a 90-day elimination period means that the claimant isn’t likely to see their first benefit check until day 150 or later.
However, there’s one major caveat to this. Filing a disability claim can kick off an investigative process some claimants find intrusive. As a result, many opt to wait until the last minute – often, the time they realize their injury or illness is not going to permit a return to work in the near future – before submitting to this process and its tendency to feel invasive.
Having a disability insurance attorney on your side can reduce some of the pressure of this process. Contact the team of disability insurance attorneys at Dell & Schaefer to set up a FREE consultation to discuss your LTD insurance claim.