Ask a Lawyer
by Bob Bryan
Nov 19, 2013 | 676 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I applied for Long Term Disability insurance benefits through a policy purchased at work. A company “recommended” by the LTD insurance carrier contacted me about also pursuing a social security disability claim. The LTD carrier suggests I hire this other company to help me get social security benefits for me while I also pursue benefits under the LTD policy. Are they up to something? Derrick from Cordova



Most, if not all LTD insurance policies require that you apply for Social Security Disability as well. The LTD carrier gets a set off from what it owes you from any SSD benefits you are awarded. However, it is never in your best interest to use the representative suggested by your Long Term Disability insurance company. The insurance company’s interests are not the same as yours. We strongly recommend against signing up with a representative handpicked by the insurance company handling your LTD claim for the following reasons:

1. THERE IS NO CONFIDENTIALITY BETWEEN YOU AND THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S HANDPICKED REPRESENTATIVE.



Any information (written or oral) that you give to the LTD insurance company’s representative, or information that you authorize that representative to obtain, will be handed over to the LTD Company by this representative. At a minimum, this could include medical information that you may not want to share with the LTD carrier. It could also include conversations you have with their representative.

2. LTD INSURANCE CARRIERS WANT TO EITHER DENY YOUR CLAIM, LIMIT WHAT THEY SPEND ON YOUR CLAIM, OR TERMINATE ANY BENEFITS AWARDED UPON RECEIVING CERTAIN INFORMATION.

Nothing will stop the LTD insurance company from using information obtained to deny or limit the LTD claim. For example, most LTD insurance contracts limit benefits to only 24 months if you have a mental impairment including depression or anxiety. The “handpicked” representative who is “helping” you with your SSD claim will turn over any information to the carrier that is obtained concerning a mental impairment. In response, the insurance company may use this information to award LTD benefits for only 24 months, or even terminate benefits.

3. THE INSURANCE COMPANY’S BEST INTERESTS MAY BE THE OPPOSITE OF YOUR BEST INTERESTS

The handpicked representative may not care if you obtain health insurance benefits from Medicare. If you have a Social Security Disability claim pending at the same time as your Long Term Disability claim, getting Medicare Health Insurance is very important to you. You are not eligible for Medicare until you have received 24 months of payments from Social Security, or 24 months of retroactive benefits that you would receive upon winning your Social Security case.

But your Long Term Disability carrier, trying to save money or cut your LTD benefits, may want you to amend your first date of disability. Agreeing to the LTD representative’s advice to amend your first date of disability may be used against you on the Social Security Disability claim. Your LTD representative who represents you on the Social Security claim may not aggressively argue before the Social Security Judge that your first date of disability was 24 months earlier, so that you are eligible for Medicare.

Also, your LTD insurance carrier may want you to agree to a “closed period” of disability limiting the amount of benefits to a specific period or a certain number of months, instead of through age 65. This is done in order to terminate your benefits or rather terminate the insurance company’s payment obligations. Your LTD insurance company’s representative may not aggressively argue before the Judge that your disability is on-going, rather than a limited, closed period.

There are many several more important reasons we will cover in Part Two of our answer in next week’s Daily Mountain Eagle.

Nelson, Bryan and Jones represents clients in the following areas: Social Security Disability, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Wrongful Death Cases, Personal Injury Actions, Defective Products, Insurance Disputes and Bad Faith, Fire Loss cases, Trucking Accidents, Worker’s Compensation, Drug Recalls, Employment Law and Property Damage Claims.

Please send the questions to:

Ask the Attorney

P. O. Box 2309, Jasper, AL 35502

205-387-7777

or email to Bob@NelsonBryanJones.com

No representation is made that the quality of legal services to be performed is greater than the quality legal services performed by other lawyers.