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Getting your long-term disability claim accepted

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If you need to file a long-term disability claim, there are some very important things that you need to know to help ensure that you provide a claim that is free of errors and credible. This will help you get the benefits that you need and deserve for as long as you're entitled to them.

Remember that even if you have long-term disability insurance through an employer-sponsored plan or through an individual policy, you may also qualify for Social Security Disability insurance. You may also qualify for Medicare after a couple of years on SSDI.

It's essential to read and understand the terms of your policy. For example, are you paid benefits if you can't perform your own occupation or any occupation for which you would qualify based on your experience and education? It's important to look at how the insurance company defines that and at what point it changes. For example, some companies will pay you if you can't perform your previous job for two years and then will only pay you if you can't perform other occupations for which you are qualified.

It's also important to be honest about your disability and the symptoms from which you suffer. If your claim says that you can't engage in an activity required for your work, you shouldn't be doing it in your spare time, either.

Insurance companies can engage in surveillance to ensure that they aren't paying out money to people who are not as disabled as they say they are. They may also require you to visit a physician of their choosing to confirm your diagnosis and send a field investigator to visit you. If you cooperate with these people, it can help you get your claim accepted and prevent it from being terminated early.

It may be worthwhile to talk with a disability claims consultant before submitting a claim. There is a lot of money on the line, and you want to improve your chances of getting and staying covered. If your claim is denied or terminated before you're able to resume work, you may want to seek help from a disability attorney experienced in dealing with these claims.

Source: Dentristry IQ, "Preparing for a long-term disability claim," Arthur L. Fries, RHU, Aug. 12, 2015

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