Many private employers provide benefits to their full-time employees, including retirement benefits and health insurance. One benefit that you might have and not know about is disability insurance. As the name implies, this insurance protects you in the event you are unable to work and earn a paycheck for an extended period of time.
If your employer offers disability insurance to you, that plan may be governed by ERISA. If this federal law applies to your employer’s disability insurance plan, you have certain rights in the event you submit a disability claim but that claim is denied.
An Introduction to ERISA
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 was passed with the aim of protecting employees in both the public and private sector who receive benefits from their employers, including short-term and long-term disability. As it pertains to disability insurance, ERISA regulates the timeline according to which a disability claim must be processed and the rights an employee has if that claim is denied.
Employee Rights under ERISA
Under ERISA, employers must provide their employees with:
- Information on their eligibility to receive benefits
- Instructions for how and when to file a claim for benefits
- Notification if your eligibility for benefits or conditions that are covered changes
- Information about your rights to appeal a denial of your claim
When you submit a disability claim to your employer’s insurance carrier, the carrier must make a decision on your claim within a specified period of time. If your claim is denied, the carrier is required to provide you with notice in writing of the denial and the reason therefore. If you appeal the denial and that appeal is denied, you must also be given the reason for this rejection in writing.
Bringing an ERISA Disability Claim
If your disability claim and appeal are denied, the next course of action is to bring an ERISA disability claim. These lawsuits allege that the insurance carrier unlawfully or unfairly denied your claim even though you were otherwise eligible to receive benefits. Because ERISA is a federal law with peculiar substantive and procedural requirements, it is best to enlist the help of an experienced ERISA disability claims lawyer to help you with your case.
A judge would consider the documentation of your disability along with documents discussing the insurance policy. If it appears to the court that you correctly submitted a claim for a qualifying condition but that claim was denied, you will receive the benefits the insurer withheld from you.
Contact Unruh Law Immediately for Help with Your Claim
If you applied for disability benefits through your public or private employer’s disability insurer but had your claim denied, there is no time to lose. Contact Unruh Law online or at (833) 753-5168 to discuss your options with our California ERISA disability claim lawyer. We are committed to protecting you and helping you receive the benefits your employer promised to you.
Unruh Law assists individuals in San Francisco and across California who are denied access to the insurance benefits they need and deserve.