What is ERISA?
If your disability claim will be made under your employer’s group disability insurance policy, it is likely governed by ERISA, which stands for the Employment Retirement Income Security Act. This is a Federal Law enacted in 1973. Under ERISA, you have the right to file a suit in federal court if your claim for disability benefits is denied by your insurance company. Unfortunately, unlike almost any other legal situation, under ERISA the disability insurance company will walk into court with an advantage. The ERISA disability insurance system and your disability policy, shaped by insurance company lobbyists in Washington D.C., is biased and rigged against disabled men and women like you. Some disability policies simply are not worth the cost of the paper on which they are printed.
The vast majority of these bad policies were sold by disability insurance companies who took advantage of your employer. Incredibly, we have seen that employers and their own human resource personnel often have no idea how bad their own disability plans really are.
Remember, the law does not require that an employer provide disability coverage, nor does it require that disability plans include any specific terms. Furthermore, there is no federal or state oversight of disability insurance policies. While the State of Florida does regulate the terms of individual, or so called “private”, policies , there is no corresponding state regulation of employer-sponsored policies.
Read your disability policy right now. If you don’t have a copy, order one through your employer or your broker! If you see any of what follows in your policy, (which I will discuss in greater detail later) you should be worried.