Long-Term Disability Insurance, also commonly known LTD Insurance, refers to a type of coverage that will pay benefits to compensate for a portion of your income in the event that you become unable to work due to a medical condition. You may have access to this type of coverage under a group plan through your work, or pursuant to an individual policy. Generally speaking, you may qualify for LTD Insurance if you suffer from any medical condition, if that condition renders you unable to work. This applies to any physical disability, or mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. Given the negative effect that COVID-19 has had on many people’s mental health, it is important to understand your rights to different types of assistance.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause many people to be isolated from friends and family, worry about their finances, and feel afraid for their health or the health of loved ones, it is not surprising that many people have struggle with their mental health throughout the pandemic. As more people struggle with issues like depression and anxiety, it becomes increasingly important to understand your rights if you are thinking of applying for Long-Term Disability (LTD) Benefits, if you believe you may be unable to work because of these or other mental health concerns.
When you apply for LTD benefits because you are suffering from a mental health condition, the application process is the same as if you were subject to a physical disability. Your insurance carrier will rely on the information provided by your doctor and other medical professionals treating you. If your treating doctor or psychologist is of the opinion that you are unable to work due to a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, then you would qualify for benefits under most LTD policies.
You should apply for LTD benefits as soon as you become aware that you will not be able to work for an extended period of time, even though most LTD policies have a waiting period, between the time you first become unable to work and the time benefits will start. This waiting period is typically between 3 to 6 months. However, the application process can be complicated and long, therefore the sooner you can get the process started, the more helpful it can be during an already vulnerable time.
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for insurers to deny clearly meritorious claims for LTD benefits. This can be especially true with regards to mental health conditions, as it is generally more difficult to prove that you are unable to work because of such conditions. If you are denied benefits, it is important to seek the advice of an LTD lawyer, even if your insurer has given you the option to file an internal appeal. Most often, internal appeals for LTD benefits are denied unless you are able to provide substantive new medical information, and your ability to challenge your insurers denial through other avenues can be time sensitive.