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Our Ohio Social Security Disability Attorney Details Mistakes to Avoid During the ERISA Disability Benefits Application Process

Posted on February 1, 2016

If you are rendered disabled and unable to work, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits via an employer-sponsored ERISA, or Employee Retirement Income Security Act, plan, and you should hire an Ohio Social Security disability attorney to assist you.

The application process is of the utmost importance and can make or break your chances of receiving long-term disability benefits. The process is complicated and can be difficult to handle alone. A single seemingly minor mistake can render you ineligible for disability benefits, so it is crucial to get things right the first time. Disabled workers’ ERISA applications are routinely denied due to easily avoidable mistakes. Keep these six common mistakes in mind to ensure that you get through the process as smoothly and easily as possible:

  1. Relying Only on Advice from the HR Department – Although they are typically trying to be helpful and have your best interests at heart, human resources personnel don’t have the knowledge or training that are needed to properly interpret insurance policies. They also have no authority over the insurance company, so their input isn’t useful under these circumstances. In fact, their advice could easily lead you astray and diminish your odds of being approved for ERISA benefits.
  2. Documenting Your Claim Using Only the Forms Provided – Your insurance company will provide forms for you to use when applying for ERISA disability benefits. Some of these forms have questions that must be answered by your doctor. However, these forms don’t include enough space for doctors to elaborate on their comments. If insufficient information is provided, your application could be denied. Therefore, meet with your doctor to explain the terms of your policy to them. Additionally, ask your doctor to complete a report that explains how your condition or illness keeps you from being able to work. Ask them to be as detailed as possible. Even if you have to pay for such a report, it’s a worthwhile investment.
  3. Assuming That You Have Enough Evidence as Long as Your Employer Says You’re Too Sick to Work – Unfortunately, your employer’s opinion regarding your ability to work has no bearing on whether or not your application will be approved. After all, they won’t be paying for your long-term benefits–the insurance company will be. The insurance company will base its decision on the terms of your policy, so your employer’s opinion in the matter isn’t really relevant.
  4. Having the Insurance Company’s Attorneys Assist You in Filing for Social Security Benefits – When applying for ERISA benefits, you usually have to file for Social Security benefits too. Be careful if the insurance company’s lawyers or other third-party lawyers offer to assist. It’s all too easy for them to steer you toward choosing certain disabilities for your claim. Later, this information could backfire and make it more difficult for you to prove your long-term disability ERISA claim. Although it may seem like a nice offer, there could very well be ulterior motives involved. Even if the lawyers are well-intentioned, they could inadvertently cause major damage to your claim later.
  5. Participating in Activities Against the Advice of Your Doctor – Your doctor will almost certainly advise you not to participate in certain activities. If the insurance company discovers that you have been engaging in certain activities, it may appear that you are trying to cheat them by applying for long-term disability benefits. Follow your doctor’s advice to the letter because you can be sure that the insurance company is watching. In fact, they may even provide you with an activity log to maintain, leaving little doubt of their surveillance.
  6. Hiring a Lawyer Who Has No ERISA Experience – ERISA is a complex law. Many rules apply to the disability application process, so it is critical to work with an attorney who is well-versed in such matters. There are strict deadlines that must be adhered to, and only certain types of evidence are allowed. Failing to adhere to any of these rules could doom your application to failure, but a skilled attorney who is experienced with ERISA will ensure that all of your bases are covered.

Retain a Cleveland Social Security Disability Attorney Today

If you have become disabled and are going to apply for ERISA long-term disability benefits, don’t leave the matter to chance. Speak to an Ohio Social Security disability attorney at the John Paul Oreh Law Office. Call (216) 896-0935 today.

Social Security Disability Library