Filling in the Blanks: 5 Steps to Take When Applying for Long-Term Disability Benefits

If you have become unable to do your job because of medical problems, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. You may have coverage under your employer’s benefits plan or through a private insurer. Long-term disabilities benefits ensure you still receive a monthly income although you can’t work. You need to apply if your short-term benefits are about to end and you are still unable to work. Long-term disability benefits usually do not kick in automatically. Unfortunately, applying for a disability claim can be confusing and onerous. It helps if you know all the steps beforehand.

Request an application form from your employer

Your employer or someone in the human resources department of the company should be able to give you a form. They should also provide you with instructions on how to fill it out. If for some reason you can’t get the form from your workplace, the insurance company or claims administrator can assist you. The form may be available online.

Submit your Employee’s Statement

This is the part of the long-term disability form you must complete. It typically asks for things like:

  • Your name and date of birth
  • Your social security number
  • Your address and contact information
  • Your occupation and your employer
  • Details of your injury or illness
  • The name and contact information of your doctor
  • Any forms of income you still have

Fill out as much information as possible. You will also have to sign a form giving the insurance company permission to ask for your medical records.

Get your Employer’s Statement

Your employer has to fill out a section of your long-term disability benefits application form.

It will typically include:

  • The date you were hired
  • The last day you worked
  • The date your insurance coverage became effective
  • Your occupation and the physical and mental demands associated with it
  • Any benefits or income you can receive

Request a statement from your doctor(s) 

This is also required by the insurance company or claims administrator. It should include:

  • Your diagnosis and prognosis
  • Your symptoms and signs of illness or injury
  • The treatment you have received
  • The impairments associated with your condition
  • An estimate of when you will return to work.

Submit your application along with any other supporting documents

Your insurance company may not gather all the evidence you will need to support your claim. You may have test results, reports from other medical professionals or other documents which prove that you are still unable to work. This can make it easier for the insurance company to recognize your claim is valid. It can also help you to get the claim approved in a shorter time.

If your benefit application is denied or you have some other problem during the process, you need to contact a long-term disability lawyer. When you are struggling to recover from illness or injury, the last thing you want is to be wrangling with insurance companies. Let your lawyer handle this side of things while you focus on getting better.