Getting Disability Benefits From An Injury or Illness in D.C.

If ever you find yourself out of work for a period of months or years because of an injury or illness, especially if you were working in Washington, D.C. or Difference between Long Term Disability and Social Security the suburbs, you may have a few different disability insurance options to make sure you can still pay your bills and provide for your family.

The two most basic categories of disability insurance you should know about are Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and long-term disability insurance (LTD).

Depending on the nature of your injury, your job and your level of income, either one of these options could be right for you. You could even potentially get both at the same time. So, it pays to know a little bit about both kinds of disability insurance.

Long Term Disability in DC is Private Insurance Usually Provided by Your Employer.

Long term disability is not provided by the government.  It is  a form of disability insurance that is usually provided by your employer as an employee benefit (you can also purchase your own personal disability policy and is usually governed by a federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA).

Long term disability benefits are provided by insurance companies, like The Hartford, Mutual of Omaha, Guardian and others. 

if you are sick or can't work because of an injury or illness, you have to apply for long term disability benefits (your job will have the basic info on how to apply). If you’re awarded benefits, these will replace the majority of your income while you are out of work.

The monthly long term disability benefit is usually about 60% of your income, up to the limit of the insurance policy you have.  And remember, before you apply for long term disability in D.C., you need to carefully analyze the policy terms, conditions and definitions - and review those with your physicians so they understand the policy definition of disability that applies.

How To Apply for Long Term Disability Benefits in D.C.

The good news is that many companies in the District of Columbia and the DMV region - law firms, defense contractors, associations, private companies - provide long term disability benefit insurance policies for their employees.

If you have an injury or medical condition that prevents you from working, check with your HR department to get:

  • The Application for Long Term Disability
  • A copy of the Long Term Disability Insurance Policy
  • Your company's job description of your specific job

These will help you get started - pay particular attention to the terms, conditions and definitions of the policy so you can educate your physicians on exactly how the insurance policy defines disability.

Our long term disability lawyers can help review and analyze these documents and forms with you.

Social Security Disability is Different than Long Term Disability

Social security is a government-funded program for disabled workers, and it doesn’t cost anything to be eligible to receive it, but you do need to have a certain amount of time spent working in order to be eligible. SSDI is what we call an “entitlement” program, which means you pay into it as a tax while you are working and it’s there if you need to use it. You also receive it for as long as you’re disabled, but it will be converted at retirement age to Social Security retirement.

Usually, you don't need a lawyer to apply for social security and can do the initial application online.  If your claim is denied, that's typically when you need to get a lawyer.

Many long term disability insurance policies require you to apply for social security, and they take a credit or offset for your social security benefits. So it's really important to analyze your long term disability insurance policy to make sure you don't make a mistake that costs you the benefits you should be getting.

Unfortunately, both types of disability benefits can be hard to get, even though you have a legitimate illness or injury and can’t work.  Both insurance companies and the Social Security Administration deny legitimate cases every day, because they know that some people won’t go through the hassle of filing an appeal, even if they could win it.

A Long Term Disability Attorney Can Help.

It’s hard to find good lawyers willing to fight insurance companies these days – that’s why we started helping people with long term disability claims  – people who had worked hard and done the right thing were getting screwed through no fault of their own. 

They didn't know the federal law that governs most long term disability claims, the appeals process after a legitimate claim was denied, or how the provisions of the long term disability policy affected their claim.

For long-term disability insurance, if your claim gets denied, or you want more info on how best to apply for long term disability, just call us. We’ll review your denial letter for free, and we’ll help you make a plan for the next steps.

Don't wait - call us today at (202) 393 - 3320 to get started.

Frank R. Kearney, Attorney-at-Law
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Experienced DC Workers' Comp, Long Term Disability & Accident Lawyer