Every few months, an individual with a long term disability (LTD) policy through an employer or private insurance carrier asks me questions about Social Security disability. This may result from the fact that he or she has filed for disability benefits through the long term disability policy and the policy’s carrier has directed that an application for Social Security Disability must also be filed.

Individuals often purchase, usually through an employer, long term disability insurance to protect themselves and their families in case they become disabled for an extended, lengthy period of time. Most workers purchase both short term and long term disability insurance, the latter usually takes effect at the expiration of the short term policy.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a government-funded disability program paid into by workers in the form of Social Security taxes. A worker that meets the SSA’s disability requirements may begin receiving SSDI benefits after a five-month waiting period.  This is not private insurance.

LTD policies and Social Security disability typically overlap, which further complicates matters. This is a complex area of disability law which requires consulting with an experienced and knowledgeable disability attorney. The Sullivan Law Office has provided such assistance for two generations.

Most LTD policies require that an individual must apply for Social Security disability in order to receive benefits under an LTD policy. Most of these policies contain provisions that allow Social Security benefits to offset monthly LTD benefits. Thus, as a simplified example, if a monthly LTD benefit is $3,500 but social security awards a monthly benefit of $1,200, the LTD benefit will be reduced to $2,300.

Often, LTD carriers recommend a law firm to assist a policyholder with an application for Social Security disability benefits; however, these types of arrangements often involve a potential conflict of interest and hidden fees.  From my own experience, what happens in the SSA case can adversely affect the outcome of any LTD claim.  It is advisable to get an attorney who is VERY EXPERIENCED in SSA cases.  The last thing I want as your LTD attorney is to have the SSA case botched by an inexperienced advocate. The result in that SSA can be used to completely undermine all the hard work in a LTD claim.   So get an attorney who is experienced.

If you have a LTD policy and are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, you must be aware of the effects of these benefits on your policy for long-term disability. Many times we appeal and litigate these LTD cases.  In every case LTD that I have in formal litigation, the SSA case and monetary offsets are discussed. Offsets are usually applied in whole or part, and we try to resolve the LTD case to get the client some or all of their remaining  LTD money.  The life cycle of LTD or ERISA litigation is very complex and very unique.  I usually schedule a 30 minute appointment just to explain the litigation so that my clients are advised as to the realities of LTD litigation.

Whether you are 40, 50, or 60, the assistance of an experienced disability attorney can help you navigate the often lengthy and complicated process of applying for disability benefits. Contact the Sullivan Law Office to get the help you need in the Louisville metro area. Call 888-587-0228 or visit us online.