I Just Started My New Job. Do I Qualify for Group Disability Benefits?
Life doesn’t always go the way we plan. You may feel excited to finally start a new job, one with better disability insurance benefits, but that’s when a serious illness or injury may strike. While some of American employers offer short- and long-term group disability insurance benefits, you must typically get through a waiting period and any pre-existing condition clauses before you qualify for employer or group-sponsored disability benefits.
But what happens in the event of an unexpected accident or injury? What if you fall and break your leg or find a lump in your breast a week into your new position?
If you suffered a disabling illness or injury shortly after starting a new job, you may have questions. The top-rated long-term disability attorneys and ERISA lawyers at DarrasLaw have answers. We can review the terms of your employer’s disability insurance policy, your waiting period, and the preexisting condition clause to ensure they comply with federal law. We can even review your severance package and former employer’s disability insurance plan to see if you’re still eligible to claim those group disability benefits.
If you have questions, call our award-winning long-term disability lawyers and ERISA attorneys today at (800) 458-4577 or contact us online to schedule your free insurance disability policy analysis and free claim consultation.
Disability Waiting Periods
When discussing disability insurance waiting periods, it’s important to distinguish between those who do and do not have individual or employer-sponsored disability insurance.
As mentioned above, after you start a new job, your employer will typically set a waiting period before you can actually enroll in its disability plan. In some states, such as New York, employers are required to provide disability insurance, so this waiting period is set by statute.
In states that do not require employers to provide disability insurance coverage, your employer will set the period or even waive it. In some cases, employers may set a minimal waiting period. If you’ve moved to a new state or started with a completely new company, some employers may ask you to wait 30 days to six months before making you eligible to join their disability insurance programs. If you transfer to a new division of a corporation or go to work for the government, your disability insurance may follow you without a waiting period.
This is the waiting period to actually enroll in the disability plan, not the waiting period for receiving group disability insurance benefits.
If long-term disability insurance covers you, however, you’re likely subject to a pre-existing condition clause as well. Do not confuse this with your eligibility period. Once you file a disability claim, you’ll have to satisfy the “pre-existing conditions” clause, which looks at care, treatment, and consultations along with medications taken before the policy goes into effect to determine benefit eligibility.
The Most Common Disabling Illnesses and Injuries
Most employees want to make a good impression when they start a new job, so they’ll try not to file a disability claim early on. However, if a disabling illness or injury prevents you from performing the material duties of your occupation, you may have no choice.
Some of the most common injuries and illness for which claimants need individual or group disability insurance benefits can come suddenly. They include:
- Car accident injuries, including whiplash
- Slips and falls resulting in broken bones and spinal cord injuries
- Sprains, strains, and fractures
- Heart attacks, strokes, coronary artery disease
- Traumatic brain injuries
The problem with claiming group disability insurance benefits shortly after starting a new job is that it raises eligibility concerns. For example, what if you were diagnosed with cancer before starting a new job but didn’t reveal this during your disability insurance enrollment? Your group disability insurer could rescind your coverage if you misrepresented your health if any application was required for underwriting. If you disclosed your accurate medical history, the policy may preclude benefits because the sickness pre-existed the policy inception date.
If, however, you received a diagnosis of a serious illness shortly after starting a new job and enrolling in a disability insurance plan, it’s essential to seek help from the experienced long-term disability attorneys and ERISA lawyers at DarrasLaw.
Individual Disability Insurance Plans
If you have a medical concern and you’re not eligible to enroll in your employer-sponsored plan, you do have another option. You may purchase an individual disability insurance plan from an agent or broker. This individual disability plan may even supplement your employer-sponsored ERISA disability benefits when and if they kick in.
You pay for your individual disability insurance policy out-of-pocket, and it follows you, not your job. Furthermore, individual disability insurance policies are not generally subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), so you enjoy better consumer protections and litigation rights under these plans than your employer-sponsored ERISA-governed plan. If you have questions about applying for individual or group disability insurance benefits, call our experienced individual disability lawyers and group ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw today.
Don’t Delay. Call our Individual and Group Long-Term Disability Lawyers Today for a Free Consultation
Individual and group disability insurance law is an incredibly complicated and constantly changing field. Few attorneys understand or have the skill and experience necessary to successfully litigate disability insurance claims—particularly the extremely complex ERISA cases. DarrasLaw is America’s top disability firm because we exclusively focus on helping claimants win their valid individual and group disability insurance claims.
If you’re suffering from a disabling illness or injury and you can’t work, consult our experienced individual long-term disability lawyers and ERISA attorneys. We can review your employer’s eligibility period, the pre-existing condition provision, your previous disability insurance plan, your state’s disability insurance requirements, and ERISA statutes and case law to see if you qualify for disability benefits.
Furthermore, we can help you and your treating doctors prepare the evidence needed to head off unfounded insurance company delays and protect you from a wrongful denial or termination of individual or group disability benefits. To schedule your completely free disability policy analysis or free claim consultation, call us today at (800) 458-4577 or contact us online.