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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!

Before You Get Furloughed, Consider Your Company Disability Policy!

Many employees continue to work even though they experience limitations from physical or mental limitations.  With the onset of COVID-19, employers are experiencing significant financial burdens and terminating or furloughing workers.  If you are still employed but may be subject to being let go, you need to be aware that if you are let go you most likely will no longer be covered under your Short Term and/or Long Term disability policies.

Most employer-provided policies require an employee to be “actively at work” when their disability begins.  While the term “actively at work” is defined differently depending on the policy, basically it means that an employee must be performing the material duties of his job in the place and manner in which the job is normally performed.  Most importantly, numerous policies exclude eligibility for an employee who has stopped working due to furlough or layoffs.

In these difficult times, employees who are working with limitations need to be aware of their employment status and the possibility that they may be at the top of the list when it comes to furloughs or layoffs.  If you are one of these employees you should consider all of your options and consider whether it is in your best interest to file a claim for disability benefits before it is too late.  Do not hesitate to contact Osterhout Berger Disability Law for a free consultation to discuss any questions you may have.

COVID-19: Applying For Short Term or Long Term Disability

As most are aware, COVID-19 is a serious issue disrupting lives and businesses all across the United States.  Employees who become ill as a result of COVID-19 and are unable to work may be eligible for disability benefits pursuant to their Short Term and/or Long Term disability policies.  If you have been forced to stop working due to COVID-19 and need assistance with your claim for disability benefits do not hesitate to call Osterhout Berger Disability Law for a free consultation. 1-866-438-8773 x 604

Short Term and Long Term Insurance companies are actively adjusting their procedures to deal with the issues caused by COVID-19.  Here are some helpful links if you have a Short Term or Long Term disability policy from your employer:

Lincoln Financial Group

The Hartford

Unum

Mutual of Omaha

MetLife

Guardian

MassMutual

Prudential

If you have any questions or need assistance in filing for Short Term and/or Long Term disability benefits, please call Osterhout Berger Disability Law at 1-866-438-8773 x 604 for a free consultation.