Social Security Claimants and Private Disability Insurance

People with disabling conditions are often overwhelmed by dealing with multiple insurance programs, including applications for Social Security disability. Anyone who has recent work experience may also be applying for long or short-term disability payments through employers.

In recent years, disability insurance companies have become more cost-conscious, and more adversarial in their dealings with people claiming benefits. Because it often takes years for Social Security benefits to be approved, prompt payment of a short or long-term disability insurance claim provides enormous financial and emotional relief for the disabled person.
More and more frequently, however, disability insurance carriers are dragging their feet and denying well-supported claims. It is not unusual for some carriers to deny claims even when the claimant has been approved for Social Security disability benefits.

If you have a client who is involved in a denial of private insurance benefits, call us for a consultation. These cases often have issues identical to those presented in a Social Security claim. Often both claims are pending, but claimants are unaware of the possibility of legal help with the insurance claim. Success in either claim helps the credibility of the other.

When private disability carriers approve a disability claim, they usually require the claimant to apply for Social Security disability benefits. If the claimant is found eligible for Social Security, the amount of the monthly Social Security benefit may be offset from the private insurance monthly benefit. Even though this saves the insurance company money, it is usually in the claimant’s interest to qualify for Social Security since it provides stable monthly income and health insurance to fall back on, in case the private insurer terminates benefits.

In addition, the claimant becomes eligible for Medicare two years after eligibility for Social Security disability benefits begins. This date may be in the past depending upon onset date. The federal Social Security standard for disability is higher than most long-term disability policies. Social Security finds that a claimant is incapable of any kind of work at all, not just unable to do former work. VA disability claimants may also be eligible for Social Security or SSI. There may be concurrent eligibility for workers’ compensation as well.

We can help untangle the web of insurance issues that disabled people face. Call us for a free consultation.