What NOT to Tell Your Individual or Group Long-Term Disability Insurance Adjustor
You buy individual or group long-term disability insurance to protect your financial well-being when an injury or illness interferes with your ability to reliably perform the important duties of your occupation. Unfortunately, the process for making a valid disability claim is anything but easy, and you may encounter multiple delays along the way.
One of the most common mistakes disabled people make is telling their adjuster the wrong thing. You may have to participate in multiple interviews with your insurance company and even undergo an “independent medical exam” by a doctor of their choosing—someone who may be without the proper training or specialization to evaluate you. As a result, your individual or group long-term disability insurance company may use seemingly innocuous statements against you to deny your valid disability claim. Think of it as if you were arrested and subjected to a criminal investigation, and anything you say can and will be used against you.
The first thing you should do when you need to file a valid claim is to contact one of the award-winning disability lawyers or top-rated group ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw. We can help you understand and navigate the individual or group long-term disability insurance claim process. Until you consult with DarrasLaw, here are things you probably shouldn’t say when talking to your insurance company about your valid claim.
Don’t Talk About Issues You Have With Your Employer
When you explain why your disability damages your ability to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, it’s easy to drift into other related problems you’re having with your employer. In general, you don’t want to give the impression that you just want to quit your job, and going on disability would make it possible for you to do so. Don’t tell them about the long-simmering dispute you have with your boss or that you received unfair treatment. Don’t explain that your boss transferred you to another department and you don’t like your job anymore. Don’t share issues that you have with your co-workers or any frustrations that you have with your working conditions.
When workplace issues are the primary cause of your problems, your disability carrier will say it is a “job versus occupation” issue. You aren’t disabled from your occupation, you just work in a hostile environment or for a jerk of a boss.
This may seem obvious, but it gets more complicated if your condition has led to poor performance reviews or other negative consequences. Focus your comments on why your disability makes it difficult or impossible to reliably perform the important duties of your occupation with reasonable continuity and in the usual and customary way. Are you so damaged, hurt or sick that you couldn’t work anywhere with your restrictions and limitations?
Don’t Share Your Vacation Plans
Individual and group long-term disability insurance adjusters believe that disabled people should never take vacations. Adjusters immediately raise their eyebrows when they hear about travel plans. For one, you may create suspicion that you’re funding the vacation with your anticipated individual or group disability benefits. Unsurprisingly, adjusters won’t bother to ask whether you booked and paid for the non-refundable cost of your vacation long before your disability.
Vacations also create the impression that you will participate in activities that your claimed disability would prevent. The adjuster immediately begins to wonder if you will ski, go on long hikes, or swim with dolphins—and if you’re really disabled.
Don’t Share Any Travel Plans, for That Matter
If you work at a desk, long car rides or plane trips can create problems claiming individual or group long-term disability insurance benefits. The adjuster may assume that if you can sit in a car for six or eight hours, you should have no trouble sitting at your desk.
Don’t Talk About Sick Family Members
Avoid giving any impression that you are providing day-to-day care to someone in your family who is dealing with a serious, long-term illness. For example, do not mention that your husband is undergoing chemotherapy, or that your elderly father just moved into your home because he can’t take care of himself. This kind of information gives the adjuster the impression that you are claiming disability to stop working and provide care for your loved ones. If you are able to provide this care, you may give the impression that your injury or illness has not truly disabled you. Caring for your loved ones is certainly noble, but adjusters will use it against you. Again, focus your comments on your disability and why you can’t continue to reliably and consistently perform the important duties of your occupation with your individual physical and mental restrictions.
Don’t Discuss or Ask About Other Benefits You Might Receive
Your individual or group long-term disability insurance adjuster will quickly jump to the conclusion that you’re just looking for another check. Keep the discussion focused solely on your individual or group long-term disability benefits. Consult an experienced individual long-term disability attorney or top-rated group ERISA lawyer from DarrasLaw instead of the adjuster, your employer, or your co-workers.
Don’t Tell Them That You’ve Suffered for a Long Time
Most people don’t want to go on disability. They get sick or get injured and try to struggle for months and even years until they are forced to admit that they can’t go on. While this is totally understandable and certainly admirable, sharing this information with your adjuster can jeopardize your valid claim. The adjuster will start to wonder why, after such a long period of time, you now can no longer perform the important duties of your occupation—and whether your illness or injury is actually a preexisting condition.
Don’t Give Them Details About Your Day-to-Day Activities Unless They are Accurate
Focus on your disability and how it damages your ability to perform the important duties of your occupation. Even mentioning something like going for a walk can create doubt regarding the validity of your claim. Adjusters will become suspicious when they hear about how you helped someone move, or how exhausted you are from taking care of your kids. Focus on why you are impaired physically and mentally, not on your “good days.”
One Final Note
Remain mindful of where you are when you talk to your adjusters. It’s easy to pull out your mobile phone and return their calls while you’re at the playground with your grandkids. Make no mistake, the adjuster will hear the background noise and make assumptions that will not favor your valid claim.
Contact a Top-Rated Long Term Individual Disability Attorney or Experienced Group ERISA Lawyer at DarrasLaw for Help
The award-winning individual long-term disability attorneys and stellar group ERISA lawyers at DarrasLaw know how to handle insurance adjusters and how to navigate the disability claim process. Our seasoned disability lawyers and ERISA attorneys know what adjusters are looking for and can suggest protections and claim precautions for you. Furthermore, our long-term disability attorneys understand disabling conditions and can help you and your treating doctors present the proper medical, financial and occupational evidence to your disability carrier.
You don’t have to go through the claim application process alone. To schedule a completely free policy analysis and free claim consultation with one of DarrasLaw’s nationally renowned disability insurance attorneys, call us at (800) 458-4577 or contact us online.