Long-term disability benefits could be the answer you have been looking for if you suffer debilitating injuries or illnesses that will prevent you from working. Unfortunately, not everyone is eligible or will qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.
Understanding how South Carolina’s long-term disability works is essential if you hope to get the financial support you need and are entitled to. A dedicated long-term disability lawyer at Shelly Leeke Law Firm can analyze the details of your case to determine what benefits you should be receiving and how to handle a long-term disability claim denial.
What Is Long-Term Disability Insurance?
Long-term disability insurance is not like workers’ compensation. All employers with four or more employees in South Carolina are obligated to purchase workers’ comp protection coverage for their staff. The same is not true for LTD benefits. Although certain employee benefits packages may offer LTD, they are entirely optional.
You might decide to purchase long-term disability insurance in the event you are prevented from continuing to work for a longer period of time. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible to continue receiving LTD benefits for several months, years, or the foreseeable future. Generally, LTD benefits are paid out until you can return to work or reach retirement age and will start receiving Social Security.
What Is the Benefits Period?
The benefits period refers to the amount of time you will have to continue collecting long-term disability benefits. The exact amount of time you can receive LTD will be based on the terms of your policy.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be eligible to continue receiving benefits for a minimum of two years or until you are old enough to start receiving Social Security disability benefits. However, most people collecting LTD benefits will continue receiving benefits until they heal from their injuries.
What Is the Elimination Period?
The elimination period is also commonly referred to as a benefits waiting period. You will need to wait a certain amount of time after your disability begins before you can start collecting benefits.
The exact amount of time your elimination period will last depends on the specific details of your LTD policy. In some cases, elimination periods can last as few as 30 days or upwards of one year.
Common Types of Long-Term Disability Benefits
In certain circumstances, government employees may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. There are two primary types of LTD that may be available for government employees. These include supplemental and basic LTD benefits.
Supplemental LTD benefits are optional for eligible employees and provide additional coverage and protection options. For example, supplemental LTD benefits could include coverage for:
- Mental health conditions
- Any type of injury
- Cost of living adjustment
- Survivors benefits
Basic LTD benefits are available to county, state, or municipal employees at no additional cost. However, this is only true if they enroll in employer-provided health insurance coverage. The maximum amount you can receive each month will be set at $800. However, it is essential to note that there is a 90-day maximum benefit and elimination. In place for basic LTD benefits for government employees.
How to Apply for LTD Benefits
You can apply for LTD benefits if you have purchased an LTD policy and are unable to work due to a disabling medical condition. However, do not be surprised if the insurance company denies your application for long-term disability benefits, as it will cost them money. Your LTD attorney can handle the insurance company and renegotiate if your claim is denied so you can access the benefits you are entitled to.
What Do Long-Term Disability Benefits Consist Of?
Every long-term disability insurance policy is different. However, unlike workers’ compensation, which covers medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, and provides you with disability benefits, LTD benefits are different.
You will receive a weekly or monthly payout from the insurance company based on your policy terms. Then, you can use those funds however you see fit.
What to Do if Your Claim for Long-Term Disability Benefits Is Denied
South Carolina law allows for a maximum of 180 days to pursue an appeal if your LTD application is initially denied. Again, do not be surprised if you receive a denial, as this is a standard practice in insurance claims.
Generally, when you work with a long-term disability insurance attorney, you can fight back when your claim is denied. By providing the insurance company with additional medical records and other valuable supporting evidence, you can generally get denials overturned.
However, if your attorney believes the insurance company is handling your claim and bad faith, they will be prepared to take legal action if necessary to get you the protection benefits you purchased through your insurance premiums.
When to Call a Long-Term Disability Insurance Lawyer
As soon as you have reason to believe you will be out of work for an extended period of time, it is crucial to get a long-term disability insurance lawyer on your side. Your attorney can help you make sure your claim is filed accurately and completely. We can also assist you in figuring out why your application was denied and renegotiating the settlement terms with the insurance adjuster.
Before you take money out of your retirement account to make ends meet, make sure you consult an LTD attorney who can go over your legal options and help you figure out what your next steps should be. Often the threat of legal action is enough to get the insurance company to handle your claim correctly. However, if litigation is necessary, your long-term disability lawyer will be prepared to demand justice on your behalf.
Connect with a South Carolina Long-Term Disability Lawyer Today
Long-term disability benefits can help you cover your necessary expenses while you heal from your illness or injuries and start to move forward with your life.
However, if the insurance company is denying you the benefits you deserve, it is crucial to have an experienced South Carolina long-term disability attorney at Shelly Leeke Law Firm advocating for your rights. Connect with our team for a no-cost, risk-free consultation when you complete our secured contact form or call our office to get started on your claim as soon as today.