Timeline for Getting Long-term Disability

Being unable to work because of an injury or illness can be frustrating. It can also be frightening because you are unable to earning money to pay your living expenses. How will you survive and care for your family without an income?

Disability benefits can help. Long-term disability benefits provide monthly income for disabled workers. However, the time that it takes to get approved for long-term disability benefits can be frustrating. When you need money quickly after becoming disabled, it is urgent that you receive your disability benefits as soon as possible.

If you have been waiting for an approval of long-term disability and suspect you might be denied soon, please contact our office at 816-203-0143.  We can offer you guidance on the process and next steps to consider.

When Will I Be Approved for Long-Term Disability Benefits?

The insurance company must review and approve your long-term disability claim before you can begin receiving your monthly disability payments. Unfortunately, the process is not always efficient and timely.

Long-Term Disability Attorney in MO & KSOn average, it takes between at least 45 days to receive an initial decision about your long-term disability claim. However, it could take up to three or four months in some cases to receive an initial response to your claim for long-term disability benefits.

Three factors that impact the timeline for approval of long-term disability claims include:

Elimination Periods

An elimination period is the time between when you become disabled and when you can begin receiving long-term disability payments. Most insurance policies contain an elimination period. During this time, you must not be able to work to be entitled to benefits at the end of the elimination period.

The elimination period varies depending on the insurance company and the type of long-term disability insurance policy.


The timeline for processing disability claims depends on the type of long-term insurance policy. Different types of insurance policies have different deadlines for processing claims.

For example, ERISA disability plans provided through your employer are governed by federal law. Therefore, the insurer must follow the timeline set by the government. For example, ERISA disability claims must have an initial decision within 45 days. However, there is a provision for two 30-day extensions. Therefore, if you file an ERISA disability claim, you should have a decision within 105 days.

However, individual disability insurance (IDI) policies are not governed by ERISA. Therefore, they can set different timelines and deadlines. Generally, the insurer for an IDI policy must make a decision on a disability claim based on a “reasonable” timeline. Because “reasonable” is a relative term, it could take longer to receive a decision for a disability claim based on an IDI policy.

Appealing Denials of Long-Term Disability Benefits

If you are denied long-term disability benefits, you have the right to appeal the insurance company’s decision. However, appeals lengthen the timeline for receiving your long-term disability benefits.

Again, the type of long-term disability policy you have impacts the timeline for appeals. ERISA disability plans have short deadlines for appeals. You are required to file an appeal within 180 days after the denial of your claim.

The disability insurance provider has just 45 days to issue a decision regarding your appeal. However, the insurance company does have the right to take an additional 45 days if it needs more time to decide.

Most individual policies do not have the same strict appeals process that ERISA policies must follow. Instead, you can file an appeal with the insurance provider, or you may file a lawsuit in court. It could take much longer than 90 days to receive a decision regarding an appeal for an individual policy in either case.

What Should You Do If You Are Denied Disability Benefits?

If you are appealing an ERISA disability denial, your appeal is the last time you have to present evidence to support your long-term disability claim. After that, if the company were to deny your claim, you could petition for a judicial review. However, the court is only permitted to review the information submitted in support of the claim.

Therefore, the steps you take if your disability benefits are denied are crucial. You need to ensure that your disability appeal is handled correctly to give yourself the best chance of winning an appeal for long-term disability.

Having an experienced ERISA long-term disability attorney handle your appeal can give you a greater chance of success. As experienced ERISA disability lawyers, we understand the complex ERISA rules and laws.

Our Kansas City ERISA disability attorney will review your denial letter FREE of charge. Call our office today to get the help you need 816-203-0143. Our attorney reviews the denial and provides a free strategy for how you can get your long-term disability benefits. However, you must act quickly because you have a very short deadline for filing your long-term disability appeal.

Contact Our Long-Term Disability Attorney in Kansas City, Missouri

Handling your long-term disability appeal without an attorney could hurt your chances of winning. You need a legal team on your side who understands ERISA laws. You need a lawyer who has an extensive background in handling long-term disability claims and appeals.


The legal team at The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus fills all of these needs. Download Danger: Proceed at Your Own Risk – our free guide to long-term disability appeals. Learn more about long-term disability appeals and why you need to hire our long-term disability lawyer in Kansas City to handle your appeal.

Contact our office by calling 816-203-0143 or completing our online contact form to discuss your long-term disability appeal with an long-term disability attorney in Kansas City.


Kevin J. McManus
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Kevin McManus is an accident injury and disability lawyer in Kansas City, MO, and Overland Park, KS