Helping Arizonans Get the Disability Benefits to Which They Are Legally Entitled
Arizona boasts some of the nation’s most spectacular and diverse scenery—which mirrors the diversity of our state’s population. From the Grand Canyon to the Sonora Desert to the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona has something to attract people from all walks of life.
Unfortunately, statistics indicate that more than 10 percent of all Arizona citizens live with a disability. Nearly half of Arizona’s disabled population reports an “ambulatory disability,” which means they have trouble walking or climbing stairs. Furthermore, only about one-third of disabled people in Arizona are working. This means that nearly two-thirds of all disabled Arizona citizens may lack a stable source of income. It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you suffer from a disabling illness or injury in Arizona, your group employer-sponsored or individual disability insurance plan may entitle you to disability benefits. Obtaining those disability benefits, however, may involve a complicated, difficult fight. To learn more about how to file a successful claim application or to properly administrative appeal your group disability insurance denial, call DarrasLaw today to schedule a free policy analysis or claim consultation. Our seasoned individual disability lawyers and ERISA insurance attorneys evaluate cases and group ERISA appeals from all over the country, including Arizona.
What Is a Disability?
In the United States, only a small percentage of the population has enough savings to cover living expenses after a disabling illness or injury. As an employment incentive, many employers will offer short- and long-term disability benefits as a part of your employment package. Your employer may cover all or part of your premiums, and the insurance is designed to cover a percentage of your earnings if a disability prevents you from working. To claim your individual or group disability benefits, you must prove you have a qualifying disability under the terms and limitations of your specific plan.
Applying for Disability Insurance Benefits in Arizona
Generally, an individual or group insurance plan will define a disability as a medically provable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from performing the important duties of your current occupation. For example, a back injury may preclude a construction worker from lifting objects, walking, climbing stairs, and other essential duties of that occupation.
Applying and qualifying for individual or group disability insurance benefits is not as cut and dry as insurers would have you believe. How you present your illness or injury to your individual or group ERISA disability insurance carrier can make all the difference.
Many confusing, vague terms and limitations contained in your disability insurance plan are actually designed to help your disability carrier get away with wrongfully denying your disability benefits “under the terms of your plan.”
Medical records you present from your treating doctor that simply state “injured back” may not offer enough objective or subjective evidence to obtain individual or group disability benefits. Disability insurance companies wrongfully delay and deny benefits to disabled people in Arizona because their medical records did not spell out what the specific definition of a “disability” under their plans required. This could happen even if you can’t work without significant pain or limitations.
One of the disability insurance industry’s favorite tactics is to claim you don’t have a “qualifying” disability at all. Then it doesn’t have to pay you a dime.
Don’t let your individual or group disability insurance company wrongfully deny you benefits simply because you did not have an experienced disability insurance attorney or ERISA lawyer from DarrasLaw on your side before you file your initial claim for disability.
Exceptions and Exclusions to Disability Benefits
Even if your illness or injury does meet the definition of a disability under your individual or group disability insurance plan, you may still face exclusions and exceptions to coverage, including:
- If you were injured during the commission of a “criminal act.”
- If you were injured while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- If you were injured as the result of a “civil commotion.” This is a vague term, but your individual or group disability insurance company may try to deny you benefits if you were simply exercising your right to protest.
- If you were injured as a result of an “act of war.” This could mean during military service or even as the result of a terrorist attack.
Although these exceptions are likely listed in your disability policy documents, not every clause will hold up in court under every situation. If you have experienced a bad-faith delay or a wrongful denial of individual or group ERISA disability insurance benefits under a policy exception in Arizona, don’t give up. Call our nationally renowned disability insurance attorneys and ERISA lawyers at DarrasLaw. Our disability litigation firm has successfully won settlements and judgments against every major disability company in the nation. Founder Frank N. Darras and his firms have recovered nearly $1 billion for insurance clients—more than any other individual or group disability insurance lawyer or firm in the country.
If your individual or group disability insurance company wrongfully delayed or denied your individual or group disability after your valid claim application, but you know you can’t work, contact the nation’s top disability insurance attorneys and ERISA lawyers at DarrasLaw. We know how to counter the tricks your insurance company will try to play to wrongfully deny your individual or group disability.
Our disability lawyers and ERISA insurance attorneys can provide you with a free policy analysis and case consultation. With more than 100 years of combined experience fighting individual and group disability insurers—and winning—we can help answer any misleading questions on your claim form, or your treating doctor’s questions on the attending physician statement.
Short-Term Disability vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance
Many disabled individuals don’t know the major difference between these two different disability insurance policies. Different insurance companies may even hold these policies where you work.
Short-term disability is designed to cover disabling illnesses or injuries that take you out of work for a few days or a few months. Under federal law, pregnancy is an example of a short-term disability because it is not a permanent condition, but it could keep a person out of work for a few months.
Long-term disability insurance takes effect if you are still suffering from the disability after your short-term disability policy expires. In these cases, DarrasLaw’s top-rated disability attorneys and ERISA insurance lawyers may help with the short-term disability stepping stone and apply directly for group long-term disability benefits.
Your particular long-term disability insurance plan and the nature and extent of your injury or illness may dictate your benefit timeframe. For example, many individual or group long-term disability insurance policies will only cover cognitive and mental disabilities for 24 months. Physical disabilities, however, such as a traumatic brain injury, amputation, or paralysis, may qualify you for extended benefits. The catch, however, is that your long-term group disability insurance carrier may have the right to offset any additional benefits you are eligible to receive or receive from Social Security Disability Insurance, workers’ compensation, or other lawsuits.
Just because you may receive some income or benefit does not always give your individual or group disability carrier the right to offset your disability insurance benefits. If you receive long-term disability benefits and your group disability insurer tries to reduce it, consult our award-winning disability insurance attorneys and ERISA lawyers at DarrasLaw today.
Fighting to Win and Reinstate Your Disability Insurance Benefits in Arizona
The type of disability policy you have makes all the difference in the world. If you have an employer-sponsored or group ERISA disability policy, it is more difficult to defeat a wrongful delay or denial of benefits. This is because of the complex set of federal laws that applies to such cases. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), you cannot take your case straight to federal court. Instead, you must go through a timely and comprehensive administrative appeal with your group ERISA insurance company.
The problem is that ERISA limits any future federal litigation you file regarding your group disability claim to the records you submitted during the claim and the administrative appeal.
This means you must make a complete, exhaustive, legally compelling case during your group ERISA appeal by submitting all of the medical, occupational, and vocational evidence you have. If you lose your administrative appeal, you can’t submit additional doctor reports or medical records to the federal court to prove your case. You can’t call or cross-examine witnesses or even have a trial by jury.
This is not the case if you have an individual disability policy. There, you will face a more traditional litigation process that may not require an appeal.
Even if ERISA applies, the top-rated disability insurance lawyers and ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw know how to recover wrongfully delayed or denied insurance benefits. We know what goes into a timely, comprehensive group administrative appeal and can help you with yours. Contact us now and you may avoid the strict and unforgiving deadlines that apply in these ERISA cases.
Recover Your Disability Insurance Benefits Now. Call DarrasLaw Today.
Led by America’s top disability attorney, Frank N. Darras, his disability litigation firms have recovered millions of dollars in bad-faith delays and denials of individual and group disability insurance benefits. We know the traps your insurance company will try to set for you. We evaluate disability claims and appeals throughout the nation, including in Arizona. Whether you are preparing to apply for individual and group benefits, were wrongfully delayed or denied after filing a valid claim, need to file your timely administrative appeal, or had your benefits cut off, call us.
Our claim consultation is free. Our policy analysis is free. Don’t let individual and group disability insurance companies get away with wrongfully denying you the disability benefits you paid dearly for. Email us or call (800) 458-4577 today to schedule your free meeting with one of our experienced individual disability attorneys or ERISA insurance lawyers.