Long-Term Disability and the Coronavirus
Thousands of Americans are out of work because they contracted the coronavirus. They are facing financial hardship because they are not earning money while they are out of work. If you are out of work because you became ill from COVID-19, you may be searching for ways to pay bills.
Short-term disability and long-term disability may be options, depending on your circumstances. If you have questions about applying for long term disability or appealing a denial of benefits, our long-term disability lawyer in Kansas City can review your policy, explain your rights, and help you receive the disability benefits you deserve.
If your disability policy is provided through your employer, it is likely governed by ERISA, a federal law that largely benefits insurance companies. ERISA disability claims are different due to the complexities of this law. If you were denied disability under your employer's policy, you should consult with an ERISA-trained disability attorney who can guide you through the appeal process. Call us and our ERISA disability attorney will review your denial letter for free: 816-203-0143.
Short-Term vs. Long-Term Disability Insurance
Before you apply for disability insurance, it can help to review what each type of disability insurance covers.
Short-term disability insurance provides income benefits when you are out of work for a medical reason on a short-term basis. The length of time you may draw short-term disability insurance benefits depends on your policy. You should carefully review the policy to determine who long you may receive short-term disability, exclusion periods, and benefit amounts.
Long-term disability benefits apply in cases involving longer absences from work because of a medical condition. As with short-term disability policies, you need to review your long-term disability insurance policy carefully to determine how long you must wait before filing a claim and how much the policy pays for loss of income.
Most policies have an elimination period, which requires the person to be out of work for a certain amount of time before he or she can qualify for long-term benefits. Depending on your policy, the elimination period may be as short as 90 days or as long as six months to a year.
Does Long-Term Disability Insurance Cover Coronavirus?
For short-term or long-term disability insurance to compensate you for loss of income, you must be unable to work for a medical reason. Therefore, if you contract COVID-19 and your doctor states that you cannot work, short-term disability should apply. A medical quarantine because of COVID-19 would also be covered by short-term disability if it prevents you from performing your job duties.
However, if your doctor states that you can continue to perform your job duties from home, you may not qualify for short-term disability benefits. It could be a bit tricky for patients who suffer mild symptoms and can telecommute to work.
Long-term disability would only apply in cases involving individuals who develop complications from COVID-19 that keep them out of work for an extended period. If you have a long elimination period, you may not qualify for long-term disability for coronavirus unless you develop a chronic illness that prevents you from working for three or more months. Again, you must be unable to perform your job duties because of a medical reason.
Medical Verification Required for Long-term Disability Insurance
Before you can receive either short-term or long-term disability benefits for COVID-19, you must have medical verification that the virus prevents you from working. This verification could be difficult for some individuals living in areas where coronavirus testing is restricted or limited.
You may want to contact your personal medical provider by telephone or request a video conference to discuss whether your doctor can provide medical verification of your illness and the inability to work because of the illness. Without that medical verification, you cannot qualify for long-term disability benefits for coronavirus.
Remember, social isolation is not medical isolation. Being advised by the CDC or local and state government to socially isolate if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 is not the same as having a doctor’s statement that you are unable to work because of an illness, such as coronavirus. You must have a doctor’s verification that you must isolate because you contracted COVID-19 to claim disability for medical isolation.
Should I Apply for Long-Term Disability Benefits If I Tested Positive for COVID-19?
If you are diagnosed with the coronavirus and have STD or LTD benefits, apply for your benefits as soon as you have medical verification of your inability to work. The sooner you apply for your benefits, the sooner you can begin receiving income again.
Contact a Kansas City disability lawyer if your insurance provider refuses to pay your claim. An attorney reviews your case and advises you of your rights and options. Your attorney can file an appeal to seek benefits if you have the evidence proving you are unable to work because of coronavirus.
Contact Our Long-Term Disability Lawyer in Kansas City
The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus is here working for you during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you have questions about short-term or long-term disability claims (including how to file an appeal after a denial), call our office at 816-203-0143 for a free consultation with our disability insurance attorney in Kansas City.
You may also want to download a copy of our free disability guidebook, Danger: Proceed at Your Own Risk. This guide is packed with helpful information about disability claims, denials and appeals, including the exact steps you should take to get back on claim.