Helping Disabled Arkansas Citizens Get the Benefits to Which They Are Legally Entitled
Did you know that Arkansas has the third highest rate of disabled beneficiaries in the United States?
Almost 10 percent of all disabled individuals in Arkansas have an ambulatory disabilities, which means they have extreme difficulty walking or climbing stairs. An ambulatory disability can also result in an inability to stand, sit, or lay down for extended periods of time, especially after a back injury.
Arkansas also has an unusually high rate of cognitive and independent living disabilities. A cognitive disability interferes with concentrating, remembering, making decisions, and problem-solving. Independent living disabilities present difficulties doing daily tasks such as shopping, going to the doctor, or leaving the house without assistance.
If a mental, emotional, or medical illness or injury affects your daily ability to live and work, you likely have a legal disability. You don’t need to suffer from a total disability to claim private individual or group disability insurance benefits. If you suffer from a condition that leaves you unable to work in your current occupation, your individual or group disability insurance may entitle you to individual or long-term benefits.
The top-rated individual and group long-term disability attorneys and ERISA insurance lawyers at DarrasLaw have more than 100 years of experience fighting for your individual or group disability benefits. Whether you’re unsure if you have a disability, are applying for individual or group disability benefits, or had your valid claims delayed or denied in bad faith, contact the award-winning disability lawyers or group ERISA attorneys at DarrasLaw. Under the guidance of our founding partner, Frank N. Darras, we are passionate about protecting you from disability insurance companies. Our disability insurance policy analysis and claim consultations are always free. If you have questions or concerns about your Arkansas disability claim form or your group administrative appeal, call us today at (800) 458-4577 or contact us online.
Overview of Disability Insurance in Arkansas
For starters, your private disability insurance policy is not the same as Social Security Disability Insurance. Although you likely pay into Social Security, which is a prerequisite to qualifying for federal benefits, your short- and long-term disability plans are either private or group.
If you have disability insurance coverage, it is likely:
- An employer-sponsored disability plan – This coverage comes from your employer. It is generally offered as part of an employee benefits package, and your employer likely pays all or part of your premiums. An employer-sponsored disability plan usually does not stay with you if you leave your job.
- A group disability plan – This policy is typically offered through a union or professional association, and not directly through your employer. Accordingly, if you leave your job but remain active in the union, you might maintain your disability benefits.
- An individual disability plan – You purchase these plans yourself, from an agent or broker and they travel with you from job to job, and if you paid the premiums yourself, the benefits are usually tax-free.
If you suffer from a disabling illness or injury that leaves you unable to work, your individual or group disability insurance should cover a percentage of your pre-disability income. Claiming individual or group disability benefits, however, is far harder than it sounds.
To claim individual or group disability benefits, you need a qualifying disability as your individual or group disability insurance defines it. The disability must not fall under one of your policy’s exceptions. Generally, you must use all of your sick time before your group disability benefits take effect. You must also continue to seek accepted, appropriate medical treatments for the disabling condition and submit periodic disability reports to your insurer.
Remember, what your individual or group disability insurance company will pay out in benefits will likely exceed what you paid into your plan, most insurers are not keen to approve individual or long-term disability claims. If you apply for individual or group long-term disability benefits, don’t be surprised if you’re wrongfully denied benefits. Even if you do receive benefits, look for hidden, deceptive cut-off dates, benefit limitations, and exclusions. Also, prepare for a bad-faith delay or denial after an “independent medical examination” or “functional capacity evaluation” by an insurance-company hired doctor without the proper training or specialization to evaluate your condition.
Illnesses and Injuries Covered by Most Disability Plans
Unlike Social Security, most individual or group disability plans do not contain a list of injuries or illness that automatically qualify you for benefits. Instead, your plan will contain a definition of a disability, such as an illness or injury that substantially prevents you from engaging in your current occupation or any occupation you are educated or trained to do.
Other common causes of disabling illnesses and injuries seen in Arkansas include:
- Sciatica/back pain: The nerves, bones, discs, fluids, and fibers in your spine are some of the most complex and delicate parts of your body. If you damage the sciatic nerve or slip a disc as the result of a car accident or fall, the pain will radiate down your lower back, thighs, legs, and feet. This can make sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, sitting, or climbing stairs extremely difficult. Sciatica commonly leads to ambulatory disabilities, but watch out for insurance limitations. Remember, back pain is so common in the United States; some disability insurers limit or restrict how long you can claim benefits for back pain and related back issues.
- Car accidents: This is one of the most common reasons why Arkansas citizens need individual or long-term disability benefits, because car accidents often result in serious injuries and people cause accidents without insurance. Be careful, however, when claiming benefits from multiple insurers as the result of a car accident. Because your group disability carrier wants to save money, you may have to exhaust your other resources first. If you receive lost wage benefits from your car insurer, these may “offset” your monthly group disability benefits. Even if you claim disability benefits as a result of a car accident, certain monies you recover from your car accident litigation may go to pay back your group disability insurer. Call an experienced disability insurance lawyer or ERISA attorney from DarrasLaw about your options after a car accident and what it can mean for your group disability insurance case.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse, whether of illegal or legal substances, can lead to serious injuries. Most disability policies, however, will not cover self-inflicted injuries. Consult an award-winning disability insurance lawyer or ERISA attorney at DarrasLaw for help with avoiding the traps on your disability claim forms that deal with substance abuse.
- Surgical Recovery: Whether it’s a mastectomy or an emergency bypass, everyone recovers at a different pace after surgery. Furthermore, all surgeries present post-surgical risks such as infections and pain. Even if your mind is sharp, surgical recovery can have a tremendous impact on your ability to perform everyday tasks. It can take you extra time to shower, dress, cook, clean, and even get out of the house. Simply putting your shoes on can hurt. Do not feel afraid to take advantage of your individual or group long-term disability benefits if you need time to recover from surgery. The less stress you are under and the more time you have to recover, the less likely you are to develop serious complications.
The following conditions are also common reasons for applying for your individual or group disability benefits in Arkansas:
- Carpel tunnel syndrome and wrist or elbow issues
- Depression, anxiety, and PTSD
- Heart attacks, blood pressure issues, and strokes
- Asthma and lung conditions
- Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lyme and tick disease
- Shoulder dislocations, fractures and sprains
- Knee problems
- Herniated discs, back, thoracic, and neck issues
- Pregnancy complications
When a mental, physical, or emotional illness or injury leaves you unable to perform your essential occupational duties, speak with a top-rated individual or group long-term disability lawyer or ERISA insurance attorney at DarrasLaw about applying for individual or group disability benefits.
Speak With a Disability Insurance Lawyer or ERISA Attorney Early in Your Case
If you purchased an individual disability insurance policy, many times you don’t need to appeal before you go to court to try to reverse your wrongful delay or denial of benefits.
The rules differ for group and employer-sponsored plans. These policies generally fall under the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Also, ERISA is an ever-changing and incredibly complicated federal law, so few claimants receive group disability benefits if they go through the claim process alone.
Under ERISA, before you may bring your case to court, you must first go through an administrative appeal with your group disability insurance company. The catch is that law limits your entire ERISA federal lawsuit to the underlying record and your administrative appeal.
Because an appeal after a wrongful denial of group disability benefits seems simple enough, many beneficiaries don’t realize the fatal mistakes they are making with their group disability appeal. They fail to consult a top-rated, experienced ERISA lawyer, making mistakes and effectively ending their ERISA federal lawsuit before it starts.
When it comes to group disability insurance issues, involve a top-rated ERISA attorney or disability insurance lawyer from DarrasLaw right away. We can analyze your disability policy and help minimize the chance of a wrongful delay or denial. Don’t wait to call us.
Call the Award-Winning Disability Insurance Lawyers or ERISA Attorneys at DarrasLaw Now
Don’t file an individual or group disability insurance claim or administrative appeal of your wrongful delay or denial without the help of an ERISA lawyer or disability attorney at DarrasLaw. You don’t pay us unless we help you recover your individual or group disability benefits—our policy analysis and disability claim consultation is completely free.
Our nationally renowned disability litigation firm, led by America’s top disability lawyer, Frank N. Darras, will review your case for free. They can help you make the best decision for you and your family without any obligation on your part. The Darras firms have recovered nearly $1 billion in wrongfully delayed and denied insurance benefits, so whether you live in Little Rock, Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Springdale, or Jonesboro, call us today at (800) 458-4577 or contact us online.