Continuing Disability Statements and Your Rights to Long Term Disability Benefits: The Introduction
You may have received a phone call or letter from your long term disability carrier advising that they want to take “a continuing disability statement”, they may even come to your house to attempt to take the statement which I strongly discourage. The introductory part of the continuing disability statement will include:
1. The agreement that the interview site is an agreeable location
2. Identify who is present and their relationship, if any, to you
3. The day’s date and time
4. Your acknowledgement that the interview is going to be recorded and your agreement to the same
5. Questions as to whether you are under the influence of any alcohol or drugs
6. Question about your prescription medication that would impair your ability to provide a statement
7. Any diagnoses of any mental or physical condition that would prevent you from understand or answering questions
8. Your agreement that you can provide a clear and coherent interview
9. Identification by you of the medical conditions that currently prevent you from working.
There are number of traps in this introduction but first and foremost is your agreement to give a statement at your home. The disability representative will be taking notes about what your yard looks like, what the interior of your house looks like, your ability to move in or around our house, greeting the representative, how you sit or move or about throughout the interview and what assistive devices you may be using.
Another trap involves your failure to record the interview. Interviews are a two way street and many times you keeping your own recording is way to keep the long term disability carrier “honest”.
If you are taking prescription medication, be prepared to identify any side effects that you are having as a side effect of those medications that will interfere with your ability to give a statement. For example, some medications can make you tired, dizzy, or cause slowed cognition, or slurred speech and your certainly don’t want to be giving a statement if you are under the influence of those medications.
Describing your medical condition can be a trap in that there might be multiple medical condition each of which individually cause you to be disabled, or when combined, cause you to be disabled. Many long term disability recipients simply don’t understand the combined impact of multiple medical conditions or multiple medications on their ability to work.
You should be thoroughly prepared, even for the introduction of a disability statement.
You can learn more by ordering long term disability ERISA attorney Nancy Cavey’s book The Smart Long Term Disability Consumer Guide for Preparing for Your Statement and Field Visit.