Understanding Long-Term Disabilities

At one time or another, we’ve all been guilty of signing contracts without fully grasping all the language inside the contract. Think of the last time a “terms and conditions” page popped up on a website you visit or an app you use. Most people don’t take the time to print out the terms and read them carefully. Instead, we just click the checkbox and move on with our lives. But that carelessness can come back to haunt us. If you develop a serious health issue that can lead to a long-term disability, then understanding your disability insurance will be critical. Here’s how to approach that process.

Defining Disability

The word “disability” is one of those words that we hear a ton without truly understanding. Some people think that a disability automatically confines someone to a wheelchair, but that’s not the case at all. Disabled people don’t all look the same, and assuming otherwise is offensive. The disagreement over how to define a disability extends even to the insurance companies who issue long-term and short-term disability coverage.

According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, “The definition can even vary between different insurance plans from the same company.” Insurance companies may be known for a lot of things, but crystal-clear wording isn’t one of them. To ensure you’re getting the best policy, the consumer agency recommends finding out a few things before you commit. You’ll want to know the plan’s specific definition of a disability well ahead of time. That will keep you from getting hurt and then finding out that your injury isn’t covered. You’ll also want to ask about exclusions and pre-existing conditions. Pre-existing conditions are a way for insurance companies to weasel their way out of covering certain ailments. In 2006, a woman in the United States was rejected by a health insurance company because she had previously been a victim of domestic violence.

Calling In Reinforcements

Long-term disability claims are commonly filed due to ailments such as cancer, chronic pain, and even serious mental health issues. Someone who is sick enough to file a disability claim is already in a uniquely vulnerable position, and sometimes insurance companies will take further advantage of that position by denying the claim for reasons that aren’t immediately clear. If that happens to you, then it’s time to look for a long term disability lawyer.

Insurance companies are expert at stacking the deck in their favor, and a disability lawyer can do a lot to help their client get back on something that resembles equal footing. There are times when a sick person will undermine their own case without even realizing it, which is why talking to a lawyer is even more essential. For instance, the insurance company may want you to see a doctor that it chooses. You don’t want to be rude, so you go see the doctor, only to later find out that the doctor has a history of giving the insurance companies just enough ammunition to deny patient claims.

Insurance companies also have a way of dragging things out and making it harder for patients to see qualified medical care doctors or mental health doctors. But a lawyer changes the equation significantly. For most regular people, listening to an insurance company representative talk about policy details can feel like listening to someone speak a foreign language. But lawyers know the language of insurance just as well as the people inside the company. They can use that knowledge to help clients get the treatment they need without as many frustrating delays. Many long-term disability lawyers also offer consultations that are either free or low-cost, so you won’t risk losing more money simply by going in and talking to someone about your case.