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Appeal Deadlines for LTD Claims Extended Due to COVID-19

Osterhout Berger Disability Law > Blog  > Appeal Deadlines for LTD Claims Extended Due to COVID-19

Appeal Deadlines for LTD Claims Extended Due to COVID-19

We have received very good news! People who need to appeal their LTD claims have had their appeal deadline extended because of COVID-19. This means that if you think you may have lost the opportunity to appeal because you were unable to do so during the lockdown, you may still have the rights to appeal!

President Trump issued the Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) and by a separate letter made a determination that a national emergency exists nationwide beginning March 1, 2020.

As a result of the National Emergency, participants and beneficiaries covered by group disability plans may encounter problems in filing or perfecting their benefit claims.  In order to address this issue the Employee Benefits Security Administration, Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service and Department of Treasury (the Agencies) have taken steps to minimize the possibility of individuals losing benefits because of a failure to comply with certain pre-established timeframes.

Typically, group disability plans must provide claimants at least 180 days following receipt of an adverse benefit determination to appeal.  Now, all group disability plans subject to ERISA must disregard the period from March 1, 2020 until sixty (60) days after the announced end of the National Emergency or such other date announced by the Agencies in a further notice.

An example of this rule in action is as follows:

Individual E received a notification of an adverse benefit determination from Individual E’s disability plan on January 28, 2020. The notification advised Individual E that there are 180 days within which to file an appeal. What is Individual E’s appeal deadline?

Answer. When determining the 180-day period within which Individual E’s appeal must be filed, the Outbreak Period is disregarded. Therefore, Individual E’s last day to submit an appeal is 148 days (180 – 32 days following January 28 to March 1) after June 29, 2020, which is November 24, 2020.

If you need assistance filing an LTD claim or appealing an LTD denial, contact us today!

Julie Phelps