Nearly one in every four U.S. adults will live with a disability at some point in their lives. For many of these people, long term disability insurance is the financial bridge they need to help them transition out of the workforce and seek training in another profession or pursue Social Security disability benefits. But when it comes to securing and maintaining your long term disability benefits through Standard Insurance Company, the process can be anything but standard.
At Dell & Schaefer, our experienced attorneys have helped thousands of people obtain and maintain their long term disability benefits through Standard. Below, you’ll find some of our time-tested tips and tricks that can make your claim process go more smoothly.
Your Medical Records are Paramount
No matter how much your disability impacts your life or your ability to work, your claim is only ever as good as it appears on paper. This means that if you don’t have many recent medical records or your medical records don’t specify your restrictions and limitations, your claim is more likely to be denied by Standard due to lack of evidence. Appealing this denial of benefits is unlikely to do much good unless you’ve generated some additional medical records in the meantime. Long term disability claimants need to gather – and create – medical records to strengthen the claim for benefits. Ideally, you’ll do this before filing your benefits claim; but if you’ve already submitted an application or received a denial notification, it’s not too late to beef up your medical file.
Keep a Pain or Symptom Journal and Share it With Your Doctors
Your medical records should include specific information on your abilities and restrictions, whether you’re unable to walk for long periods of time or you need to take frequent breaks to change position or lie down. Whenever possible, the restrictions your doctor cites in your medical records should be directly related to your current job duties. You may want to supplement your medical records with a pain or symptom journal that can provide a day-to-day glimpse into your experiences.
Be Honest About Your Symptoms and Limitations and Don’t Exaggerate
Disability claimants who have heard cautionary tales about the difficulty of having a claim approved may be tempted to embellish their claim form a bit to improve their odds of approval. But any embellishments can seriously backfire, as Standard (and other long term disability companies) will often quietly monitor claimants’ daily activities. Stating that you “always” have pain when engaging in a certain activity or can “never” perform other activities or work duties can make it much easier for Standard to seize on any discrepancies uncovered during their investigation process.
Standard May Monitor Your Social Media Accounts
Standard, like all disability insurance companies, has a vested interest in denying claims whenever possible. One of the tools Standard uses to deny claims includes video and social media surveillance. If a claimant is observed performing an activity they said they couldn’t do, even if they’re just doing it for a minute or two, this can provide enough evidence for Standard to deny the claim.
Social media surveillance has ramped up in the COVID era, since many people aren’t leaving their homes as frequently as they once were. Claimants should be very cognizant about what they’re posting or being tagged in, making a particular effort to avoid being tagged or featured in posts showing them performing physical activities or engaging in other exercises or behaviors that could weaken a long term disability claim.
When you’re navigating the long term disability process, it’s essential to have a partner. The experienced disability insurance attorneys at Dell & Schaefer has extensive experience in this role – our knowledgeable attorneys have helped thousands of disability insurance claimants secure their benefits, and we can help you too. Just give us a call to discuss your options or set up a FREE consultation with a member of our legal team.