The global coronavirus pandemic has far reaching implications. The fallout from the virus has affected virtually every aspect of our lives and raises many questions for professionals who are already receiving Individual Disability and/or Long-Term Disability benefits or are currently in the middle of filing a claim.
The Philadelphia private disability attorney at Seltzer & Associates can help you evaluate the status of your disability claim, file a new claim, or answer questions regarding how the coronavirus may, or will, impact disability benefits you are already receiving.
Can I still expect payments for my established disability claim?
Yes, most disability insurance carriers have made announcements regarding disability benefit payments and are continuing to fulfill established claims.
Major insurance companies have considerable funds in reserve and carry additional insurance that provides supplementary coverage in case of unforeseen or inordinate circumstances, which should prevent interruption in the payment of long-term disability benefits on established claims. Remote work stations are operational and disability benefit checks continue to be issued with limited delays.
See the recent FAQs, announcements and resources some major disability insurance providers have published for their insureds:
- AIG (American International Group, Inc.)
- American Fidelity Assurance Company
- CIGNA / LINA (Life Insurance Company of North America)
- Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company
- Dearborn National
- Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
- Liberty Mutual Insurance
- Lincoln Financial Group
- Massachusetts Mutual Financial Group (MassMutual)
- New York Life
- Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
- Prudential Financial, Inc.
- Sun Life Financial
If you are unsure how to address benefit payment issues, a Philadelphia private disability attorney on our team can help. We offer disability insurance claim handling and maintenance services and can assist with providing your insurance company continued proof of loss, completing your claimant’s statement form, and meeting all other necessary requirements.
What if I can’t complete my claim update forms in time because of the coronavirus outbreak?
Part of the process of retaining your disability benefits is having updated claim forms completed and submitted to your insurance carrier. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is likely that when you attempt to schedule your doctor’s visit to have your physician complete the paperwork required by your insurer you will find that your doctor has suspended seeing patients for anything that is not considered an emergency. You can request that your doctor conduct a virtual exam but whether they are capable and/or willing to do this is up to your physician. Our attorneys are addressing these challenges head on and have been successful in working with insurance companies to ensure these delays do not impact our clients’ benefit payments.
What You Need to Do Immediately
If issues or other circumstances prevent you from being able to submit your claim or update forms by their due date, you need to contact your disability claim insurer and request that they extend your deadline to submit your paperwork. We advise you to request an extension of a minimum of 90 days to prevent having to continually call should the pandemic last longer than expected.
As most insurance claim forms are sent out automatically by insurers, it is likely that your insurer scheduled to have any updated claim forms sent to you before they had any knowledge of the coronavirus. Check for online resources before calling as your insurance company. This information may already be posted in a formal statement answers your questions.
As with any agreement you may reach with your disability insurance carrier, make sure you have the agreement terms documented in writing to prevent any future problems or confusion as to the terms of the extension. If you are able, have the insurance representative provide you with this documentation on the insurer’s letterhead. If you do not receive this, send your representative correspondence that incorporates the extension terms via a method wherein delivery can be confirmed like email, fax, or registered mail.
How is my claim impacted if it was being investigated before COVID-19?
If you were in the process of having a claim investigated by your disability insurance carrier when the global pandemic was declared and “social distancing” was mandated, you may be concerned about the impact the coronavirus pandemic will have on that investigation.
There are many steps in the investigative process that require proactive efforts by you or your physician. Some examples may include the insurance company requesting an In-Person Interview, Independent Medical Examination, a Neuropsychological Evaluation, or a Functional Capacity Evaluation. These are appointments that you may not be able to attend prior to the deadline given due to the evaluating parties limitations. We have been working with our clients and their insurance providers to ensure these issues do not delay the claims process.
Other issues might arise in documenting ongoing care and obtaining necessary information for your treatment providers. Even if your physician is willing and able to see you, you may not be able to attend the evaluation since you are at an increased risk of experiencing complications if you are exposed to the coronavirus. You may also receive notification from your disability insurance company during this time that your physician has failed to respond to a request made for needed documents, records, forms, or to provide a response to a previous evaluation. Our attorneys have established strategies for dealing with these issues to ensure the claims process is not delayed.
But what if the disability insurance company wants a field representative to make a home visit? This may be inadvisable as you or another person living in your home is highly susceptible to experiencing severe complications if exposed to the coronavirus. In situations like these, our attorneys have established virtual and telephonic interviews to navigate these obstacles.
Contact a Philadelphia Private Disability Attorney
The coronavirus has disrupted our lives in ways previously unheard of and is raising questions and concerns across the disability insurance industry as to how established practices may be modified during this time.
Contact Seltzer & Associates for an initial consultation regarding a new COVID-19 exposure disability claim, or for assistance handling and maintaining an existing claim. Our Philadelphia private disability attorney can work with your carrier to answer your disability benefit questions arising from coronavirus business disruption.