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When Should I Apply for Short or Long Term Disability Benefits? > When Should I Apply for Short or Long Term Disability Benefits?

If you have purchased a disability policy and are no longer able to work or your physician has told you to stop working, it is time to apply for your benefits. But picking the wrong date to stop working can destroy your claim.

Pre-existing Medical Condition Clauses

Many disability policies include a clause that says when your coverage started and excludes from coverage any medical conditions you were treated for before your coverage started. For example, if your policy was effective Jan. 1, 2015, and you were treated for fibromyalgia from June 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2014, any disability you have after Jan. 1 could be excluded under the policy.

It is crucial that you understand the terms of any pre-existing clause in your policy so you can time your treatment in a way that doesn’t activate the pre-existing clause.

Working While Disabled

Though your doctor may have told you to stop working, you were stubborn and stayed on the job. Your employer might not even know you have been working when disabled. The carrier will turn your attempts to keep working into a reason to deny your benefits.

Another trap comes if you stop working without documenting your problems in your medical records. The disability carrier will say that your condition was not disabling, but you just decided to stop working.

It takes careful planning and documentation in your medical records to pick the right day to become disabled.

When Is the Right Time To Apply?

You worked hard all your life and don’t want to take a handout. But you had the foresight to buy a disability policy to provide you with income if you became disabled and could no longer work. That’s not a handout!

You should apply if:

  1. You can’t work any longer,
  2. Your employer has told you that you just can’t do the job, or
  3. Your doctor has told you that you can’t keep working.

But before you apply, read your disability policy cover to cover. Find the date coverage starts. Look for a pre-existing clause that would exclude your medical condition from coverage.

Read your medical records from cover to cover. What do those records say about your symptoms, the problems you have doing your job or the side effects of medication.

Ask your doctor off the record if he or she will support your claim for disability.

How We Can Help                         

The claims process is complicated, time consuming and laden with traps for the unwary. Don’t make a mistake by picking the wrong day to become disabled or not reading your records before you stop working.

It is time to call ERISA/ID Disability attorney Nancy L. Cavey for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your claim and get your questions answered.  Make the call, the SOONER the better!