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Appealing a Denial of Disability Benefits from Colonial Life

Osterhout Berger Disability Law > Long Term Disability > Companies > Appealing a Denial of Disability Benefits from Colonial Life

Many employees in the U.S. opt for disability insurance from Colonial Life to supplement their employer-provided disability insurance policies. Others may simply rely on the protection that they are offered by their employer-provided disability insurance from this insurance company through payroll deductions. Disability insurance is meant to help you to pay your bills if you are disabled and unable to return to work. Unfortunately, Colonial Life denies many disability claims when it first receives them. The experienced disability team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law assists many clients who have had their disability claims denied by Colonial Life.

Background on Colonial Life

Founded in 1939, Colonial Life became a subsidiary of Unum in 1993 but operates independently. It sells a variety of products to employers and individuals across the U.S., including disability, cancer, life, hospital confinement, accident and critical illness insurance policies. The company services nearly 65,000 companies across the U.S. and has more than 3 million policies in place. Colonial Life is headquartered in Columbia, South Carolina.

Understanding disability insurance from Colonial Life

Colonial Life sells group disability insurance plans, which are covered by ERISA, and individual disability insurance policies to supplement employer-provided policies. Employers are able to select the terms for their employees’ plans, and a majority of the policies that are offered are short-term disability plans. Individual policies are also available from this insurance company and are portable, meaning that policyholders do not lose coverage simply because they change jobs.

Colonial Life’s short-term disability insurance

Short-term disability insurance offers income protection to those who are unable to work for a short amount of time due to a disability. It’s important to understand what Colonial Life defines as a disability so that you know what you’re entitled to under this policy. If you happen to have a condition that this insurance company considers to be a disability, you’re entitled to receiving benefits that will cover a percentage of your income. Typically with short-term disability insurance, you’ll receive these benefits on a weekly basis. Colonial Life doesn’t currently offer long-term disability insurance, but the insurance company offers options when it comes to your benefit period.

You may have to go through an elimination period before you can start receiving your benefits. This means that there will be a period between the time that your attending physician determines that you are unable to work due to a disability and the date that you can start receiving benefits. With this particular insurance company, the longer the elimination period, the less your premium will cost you. Keep in mind, however, this will also mean that it’ll take longer for you to receive your benefits.

What you need to know about Colonial Life claims

Going through a claims process can be stressful. The forms that you’ll have to fill out are detailed and involve multiple parties. Once you submit the claim, there’s a waiting period from the time you submit the claim to the time you receive any correspondence from the insurance company. If you get delayed or receive a denial letter, things get even more stressful. The insurance companies, like Colonial Life, don’t take this into consideration when you have to go through the claims process. This is why it’s important that you go through this process calmly and thoroughly. Our experienced lawyers at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can walk you through the process of submitting a claim and we can also help you appeal a denial in the event you receive one. This typically helps take the stress off of the situation.

Submitting a disability claim to Colonial Life

With Colonial Life, you can submit your claim online, fax the completed paperwork, or mail in the completed form. The form has three sections: a claimant statement, your employer’s statement, and your attending physician’s statement. There may be additional sections that will either require your consent via some sort of mark or your actual signature. Don’t miss these sections just because they aren’t part of the main sections. Any incomplete sections can give the insurance company grounds for a delay in your claim or outright denial. You don’t want to give the company any reason to delay or deny your benefits.

What to do if Colonial Life delays your claim

If your claim is delayed, reach out to the insurance company to check the status. If you don’t get a straight answer, it may be time to seek legal help. Experienced disability lawyers can identify tactics insurance companies use to delay claims. This is more common than you might think. Your lawyer can help move the process along so that you don’t have to continue waiting to receive the benefits you so desperately need.

What to do if Colonial Life denies your claim

When you receive your notice of denial, contact the company and request a copy of your file. It will include all of the information on which this insurance company relied to deny your claim. Bring both your letter and your claim file with you to your appointment with one of the experienced disability attorneys at Osterhout Berger Disability Law. Upon reviewing it, your knowledgeable lawyer will advise you on the best approach to take. He or she may ask you to submit additional medical exams or tests in order to bolster your claim and to increase the chances that your appeal will be granted internally. By building the positive information in your file that supports your claim, your disability lawyer will also be building a record that supports you if you later need to file a lawsuit against Colonial Life in court. If you do end up having to sue the company, you will only be able to use the information that is contained in your file.

Appealing a denial from Colonial Life

Colonial Life’s group disability plans that are offered through employers are governed by ERISA, which means that you will be required to appeal the denial before you can file a lawsuit against the company. The insurance company will notify you of its denial decision by sending you a notice in the mail. This notice will list the reasons why the company denied your disability claim as well as how you can appeal it. The company has its own appeals process that you must exhaust before filing a lawsuit, and your letter will give you a deadline for filing your appeal. It is important that you do not miss this deadline, or you will be prevented from later seeking to recover benefits for your disability from the company.

Our team of experienced attorneys.

When you work with your experienced disability lawyer, it is important that you listen to him or her and follow the guidance that you are given. We are focused on helping you to win your appeal, and the advice that we give is geared to help you. Contact Osterhout Berger Disability Law today to schedule your consultation with one of our experienced disability lawyers today.

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    Learn More

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