Have you suffered a disabling injury on the job? You may have many avenues for recovering benefits to maintain your quality of life and cover your living expenses whether your disability is partial or total.
Goidel & Siegel Injury Lawyers has represented injured workers for more than three decades. We are well-versed at handling all types of disability claims including workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and group and individual long-term disability plans, and disability pension benefits.
Many employers offer short-term and long-term disability plans as part of a benefit package. New York is one of just a few states that requires employers offer disability benefits to employees for off-the-job illnesses and injuries. What qualifies as a short-term versus long-term disability can be confusing, however.
A short-term disability (STD) plan is designed to replace lost wages when you are temporarily disabled and expected to return to work. These plans pay 50% of your average wages up to $176 per week. Benefits are paid for up to 26 weeks out of every 52-week period. These insurance plans have a short waiting period of seven days. Your short-term disability benefits begin to pay on your eighth consecutive day of missed work.
Long-term disability (LTD) benefits are not required by law. These benefits are designed to cover disability that lasts longer than six months after STD benefits expire. In most cases, long-term disability can provide benefits until you reach normal retirement age. LTD insurance may be offered by an employer or purchased privately. Group LTD may only cover off-the-job injuries and illnesses while private supplemental disability insurance covers both work-related and non-work-related disability.
Long-term disability insurance is not standardized, which means how a disability is defined, what is covered, and benefits can vary by insurance company and whether the policy is a group plan or private supplemental insurance. As a general rule, LTD plans pay 50-70% of your pre-disability earnings. You can receive benefits for total disability or partial disability, in which case benefits cover the difference between current earnings and pre-disability earnings.
LTD plans usually have two tiers that define disability:
Certain disabilities like “self-reported” illnesses such as fibromyalgia and mental impairments are usually only payable for up to 24 months. These limitations are not usually present with individual or private policies, only group LTD plans.
Group LTD policies are subject to the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). These plans have complex rules and limitations. Disputes and appeals for denied claims cannot be litigated in court before a jury, and testimony from your doctor or a vocational expert will not be heard.
If you receive group LTD benefits for a work-related injury, your benefits will be offset by workers’ compensation benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits you receive. This may not be the case with a private LTD plan.
When you suffer a long-term disability, you depend on your benefits to maintain your standard of living and support yourself. You may have many avenues for benefits for a long-term disability including workers’ compensation, group or individual long-term disability insurance, and Social Security. However, it can be an uphill battle recovering the benefits you are entitled to and navigating complex rules.
Goidel & Siegel has decades of experience helping injured workers navigate their options and prove a disability claim. We can help you understand the waiting periods, disability definitions, rights, and limitations of your policy and file the strongest LTD claim possible. We can also assist you with filing for workers’ compensation benefits, Social Security disability, and appealing a denied claim to seek the full benefits you deserve.
Contact our law office for a free consultation with a New York disability lawyer so we can help you. Our multilingual trial attorneys can meet you at our office, or anywhere you are comfortable to discuss your case.
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