If you’re considering filing for long term disability benefits under your Reliance Standard disability policy, you may be concerned about your claim being denied. Although Reliance Standard denies plenty of disability claims, like just about all long term disability insurance carriers, at Dell & Schaefer we’ve handled hundreds of these claims and know exactly what kind of evidence Reliance Standard is looking for when it makes a disability insurance claim decision. Read on for more of the tips we’ve learned in our dealings with Reliance Standard, as well as some information on how to get started.
#1: The Most Important Thing to Obtain a Reliance Standard Disability Approval is Medical Support
Your Reliance Standard disability claim is unlikely to ever see a courtroom, which means it will largely be decided on a paper record. Because the person deciding the claim won’t get to hear you or your doctor discuss how your condition affects you, it’s crucial to have enough medical documentation to support a claim approval.
Often, claimants who submit a claim the day they walk out of their office for the last time may find there’s insufficient medical evidence to support a claim approval. Appealing the denial of these benefits can be a lengthy process, and a claimant may need to provide more evidence to overcome a denial than they would have needed to present in the first place.
#2 Prepare Your Treating Doctors For A Phone Call With Reliance Standard
At Dell & Schaefer, one of the most important steps we take during the disability insurance claims process is to educate claimants – and, by extension, their treating doctors – as to exactly what should be included in the disability claim form. Often, this may require a separate typewritten statement instead of trying to provide nuanced information in just a few small lines on a single-page form.
Disability insurance claimants should also educate their doctors on the definition of “disability” under their Reliance Standard policy. Your doctor may feel as though he or she is being helpful by volunteering you to perform sedentary work instead of your normal highly-physical job, but if the nature of your disability is such that even 8 hours of sedentary work is no longer possible, your claim may be unfairly denied.
Once your doctors are aware of what Reliance Standard is seeking in an application for long term disability benefits, they should be able to change the way they document your medical condition to make sure it comports with what the claims representative will be looking for.
#3 Occupational Experts can Be Very Helpful in Establishing your Occupational Duties
Many disability claimants may be surprised to learn that their disability benefits don’t kick in immediately upon approval. Most long term disability policies have what’s called an “elimination period” of anywhere from 30 to 180 days or more before these disability benefits can be paid. For example, if someone’s disability begins on January 1 and their policy has a 180 day elimination period, even if their long term disability claim is approved on March 1, their first day of disability benefits won’t be until July 1. This is one more issue a claimant’s doctors need to be aware of, as the length of the elimination period can inform the official onset date of the disability.
Navigating a long term disability claim against Reliance Standard can be a challenge. Let the disability insurance attorneys at Dell & Schaefer help. Our team of attorneys has handled hundreds of Reliance Standard cases and can work with you to create a complete disability insurance claim package. Give us a call or visit our website to set up your FREE consultation with one of our attorneys.
#4: Be Aware of the Level of Review Your Claim File Will Receive
In some cases, Reliance Standard will put the claim file through a fairly cursory internal review with a staff nurse or doctor who will recommend approving or denying the claim. Because the reviewer is directly employed by Reliance Standard, they have a vested interest in denying the claim – after all, the fewer long term disability claims Reliance Standard pays, the more profit it earns.
In other situations, Reliance Standard may send a file out for an “independent physician review,” where a physician employed by a different agency performs a review of your file. Because your file is only as good as it looks on paper at this point, it’s important to provide as much relevant information as possible.
#5: The “Date of Disability” is Important
Establishing your official date of disability can be a challenge. This is even more true if your disability begins to cause problems during the “look-back” period of your long term disability policy. Most policies have a look-back period of anywhere from nine months to a year, which can mean that claims for any pre-existing conditions (or those that began to manifest before or during the look-back period) can be barred. To receive long term disability benefits from Reliance Standard, you’ll need to show that the onset of your disability occurred after the look-back period ended.