The mainstream press has suddenly taken an interest in Long Term Disability Insurance. The February 2010 issue of Smart Money Magazine (published by The Wall St. Journal) contains an article entitled "Too Sick to Work? They Disagree." The same week this article hit the stands, The New York Times weighed in with "The Odds of a Disability are Themselves Odd."
I've always wondered how cars from different manufacturers can look so similar in the same model year. By the same token, how is it that Long Term Disability (LTD) has crossed the radar of two of the most respected organs of the national press just at the same time?
Why the articles are coming out now is clear: unemployed workers are looking for anything that will generate income, and individuals with disabilities are often more likely to be let go. We began to see this in our own practice in 2008. Although we represent the whole spectrum of the economy, from doctors to factory workers, when the economy began its downturn we noticed an obvious increase in the number of professionals seeking representation for both Social Security Disability and LTD claims.
In the past six months we have been getting referrals from a whole new source, as financial planners are starting to refer their clients to us. As their carefully constructed plans are incapable of execution once their client's income stream is cut off or constricted, they too have come to realize that some of their clients may be eligible for benefits.
We find these referrals to be among our favorites, as the financial planners take the same comprehensive view of their clients' finances that we take of their entitlement to benefits.
The Smart Money article points out that some insurance carriers hire their own "disability advocates" to help disabled workers file claims with Social Security. Although the mainstream press only hints at the potential conflict there, we have had many clients who realized it intuitively and came to us as soon as their insurance carrier tried to "assign" them an advocate.
The articles point out that fighting for both LTD and Social Security is a confusing and lengthy process. Anything a claimant can do to clarify his or her rights and shorten the time he or she has to wait for benefits is going to be a huge benefit. Getting a competent, concerned representative is the best way to start.