What to Expect During the Disability Insurance Claim  Process

Since 1 out of every 4 Americans will suffer some sort of disability before reaching retirement age, many people are beginning to see disability insurance is an absolute necessity. Should you become ill or injured and unable to work, a good disability policy will protect you and your family from further tragedy by providing you with a financial safety net. But, having a policy and actually receiving benefits are two different things, and filing a disability insurance claim can sometimes be a long and complicated process. The terms of your policy, the nature of your injury or illness, and whether your policy is a group or individual plan can all effect how long and complex your claims process will be. So although the process varies on a case by case basis, here’s what you can generally expect when filing a disability insurance claim:

Filing a Claim

If you become disabled due to an illness or an injury that prevents you from working, the very first step is to file a claim with your insurance provider. This is pretty straightforward and generally involves filling out a form describing your job responsibilities and the injuries that will prevent you from performing them. You’ll also need to get a statement from your doctor verifying your injury and inability to work, and outlining a treatment plan.

Denial of a Claim

There are a few possible reasons why your insurance company might decide to deny your claim. If your particular injury or illness is expressly excluded from your policy or if the insurance company has any reason to doubt your doctor’s prognosis, there’s a chance your provider will withhold your disability benefits. What happens next depends on the type policy you have, but if your claim does happen to be denied, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t receive your disability benefits. In most cases you can appeal a denied claim, which will take some time, but if you can prove that your claim is legitimate, you shouldn’t have a problem winning your appeal and getting your benefits within a few months.

Elimination Period

Most disability insurance plans also stipulate a waiting period known as the “elimination period” between the time of your injury and the dispersal of benefits. The length of the elimination period depends on your plan. They can range anywhere from 30 days to one year, and the shorter the waiting period is, the more expensive your plan will be.

Exactly how long a disability claim takes depends on the particular policy and the individual circumstances surrounding the claim. It could be right away, it could be months. So, no matter what sort of plan you have, make sure you know the details of your agreement. Talk to an insurance provider and read up on your policy’s terms so you can be certain that your coverage will be there if and when you need it.