If you have become disabled and are no longer able to fulfill your work duties, you may be eligible for benefits under your company's Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) plan. However, if you are unfamiliar with the process, it is easy to make mistakes that could delay the process or cause you to not get any benefits at all. Here are some things to know when you file your disability claim.
There Might Be a Waiting Period
You may want to file for ERISA benefits as soon as possible, but be aware that there are different waiting periods you may have to go through. Every company is different, but you may be required to wait a certain period before filing your claim. You also might have to use up sick days and other time before being allowed to file. Be sure to check with your company's insurance carrier about wait times and deadlines you must adhere to.
Avoid Relying on Your Boss and HR Department for Information
Your first instinct may be to ask your immediate manager or your company's human resources department for information about the ERISA disability claim. While they can be helpful and point you in the right direction, it is important to realize that the company's insurance carrier will approve or deny your claim. Therefore, if your manager tells you that your disability qualifies you for a claim, that may not be the case. Be sure that you get a copy of your company's plan in writing from their insurance company.
Enlist the Help of Your Doctor
Your company's insurance carrier may provide you with documents that you must fill out, and you may think those are sufficient. However, a better idea is to talk to your doctor about your company's plan and have them provide you with additional documentation about your particular disability and what tasks you can and cannot do. This extra support for your claim may be beneficial as the insurance company decides whether to approve your claim.
Be Aware of Investigators
The insurance company in charge of approving your claim may hire investigators to find out more about you. While you think that things like this only happen in movies, you may very well start being followed and people may lurk around your house hoping to get pictures or video that disproves your claim. Therefore, it is important to make sure that you are following your doctor's orders and take care to avoid any signs that you may not be as sick as you say you are.
Be sure to keep the above tips in mind so that you can do everything necessary to get ERISA disability benefits. To be more confident about your chances, work with an attorney who specializes in ERISA disability claims, such as Iler and Iler, who can help you with every step.